Burning wood to "enhance" its appearance

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Forum topic by Brandon posted 02-02-2013 04:43 AM 2228 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4151 posts in 2416 days

02-02-2013 04:43 AM

So, I’ve seen people take a torch to wood in order to make it look aged or distressed. They really like doing this on TV, but I remember one project in jr high shop class where we did the same. I really see people doing this a lot, but not once have I thought it looks good. I really just don’t get it. Am I alone here? Are there any LJers who burn wood? Are there any projects that look good after being burned?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

19 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6473 posts in 2063 days

#1 posted 02-02-2013 05:14 AM

When they do it on TV to give an “aged” look to pine doors, it always makes me snicker. Just looks blotchier than pine normally looks. Although I have seen some turnings on this site where it looks like it has added a nice effect.

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4151 posts in 2416 days

#2 posted 02-02-2013 05:19 AM

I’m skeptical, Shane. Can you link an example?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View pintodeluxe's profile


4858 posts in 2278 days

#3 posted 02-02-2013 07:33 AM

I see it done on HGTV. I don’t like it either.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View DouginVa's profile


490 posts in 1738 days

#4 posted 02-02-2013 10:30 AM

Like the others above, I saw the HGTV “quick tip” door they “blotched”. I’d say they botched it. Looks like crap.

-- Just a man with his chisel.........

View Don W's profile

Don W

17966 posts in 2032 days

#5 posted 02-02-2013 12:49 PM

It’s a little tough to get just right, but you can sand it back. If it’s blotchy you need do a better job feathering.

it’s not for every project, but it can work well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

808 posts in 1699 days

#6 posted 02-02-2013 04:13 PM

To me it looks tacky.

-- Jerry

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13734 posts in 2083 days

#7 posted 02-02-2013 04:19 PM

I think it was Patrick Leach that burned some transitionals. They didn’t look so hot afterwards…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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Don W

17966 posts in 2032 days

#8 posted 02-02-2013 04:52 PM

@Smitty, LMAO

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View helluvawreck's profile


23175 posts in 2331 days

#9 posted 02-02-2013 05:20 PM

The only kind of wood burning that I like is pyrography. When someone knows what the are doing with pirography the end result can be a beautiful piece of art.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 1462 days

#10 posted 02-02-2013 05:33 PM

I have made a couple of rifle stocks from silver maple. The variety of silver maple that I had does not take stain well and looks like crap if left natural but I had pretty good luck coloring it by lightly burning or scorching it with a propane torch. I have one of the guns in my safe if you are interested I will take a picture later today or in the morning and post it or email it to you. I would advise a little practice on some scrap first it is really easy to over do it.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

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Don W

17966 posts in 2032 days

#11 posted 02-02-2013 05:52 PM

Sprucegum jogged my memory. I did a beech .22 stock the same way.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Brandon's profile


4151 posts in 2416 days

#12 posted 02-02-2013 06:16 PM

Sure, sprucegun. I’d like to see a photo. Helluvawreck, I think pyrography is a different thing—I’ve seen some of that which is good.

Smitty, I’ve burned a handle of transitional for firewood and even stuck an old union plane in the fire pit for fun. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View ShaneA's profile


6473 posts in 2063 days

#13 posted 02-02-2013 06:21 PM

View lumberjoe's profile


2893 posts in 1713 days

#14 posted 02-02-2013 06:28 PM

I’ve been tempted to try this on purpleheart pens. I don’t want to scorch it, but after turning and sanding, a lot of the times purpleheart is just brown. Supposedly a VERY hot flame introduces oxidation and the purple comes back


View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2156 days

#15 posted 02-02-2013 06:29 PM

I’ve seen some of that HGTV burning wood to age it nonsense. I think they are playing into the instant gratification mentality. No one wants to spend the time to do it right, let’s just burn it and it will look cool.

Looks like crap IMO.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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