Lichtenburg Pattern Wood Burning

I made up some boards,then cut them up for projects.




Here is the write up of the wood burning technique known as The Lichtenburg pattern Wood Burning.
Before we get into this burning There is a big Warning I want to pass on to everyone.
This is not for everyone, and especially if you have young kids that think it is cool and try it while you are away. It is extremely dangerous.
There have been upwards of 625 persons who have died trying it. Mostly attributed to homemade Microwave transformers. I would not ever try this by making my own transformer. I bought mine from a company that makes them and sells them with all the instructions and warnings. Plus I used thick rubber gloves,they recommend linesman gloves,which are expensive. I stood on a rubber mat on a concrete floor and had a person with me in case something went wrong. Here is a link to an internet article about the caution. Also a foot operated switch is best, called a “deadmans” switch.

That said, I sold my unit to a well qualified person,an Electrical Engineer who has no young people to use it when he is gone.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. paint on a dilute solution of vinegar and water.
    2,Wait a minute for it to soak in.
  2. Place the probes apart several inches, I did it on top/bottom, side to side.
    4.Step on switch. The electricity will do its own thing. it will try to hook-up from probe to probe . The probes can be moved around somewhat to kind of control the pattern, but it will do what it wants. Step off the switch before you move the probe. Here are some pictures of the procedure.

This is the one I bought, and I see where they include a pair of rubber gloves now in the kit.



that is above and beyond the call of woodworking Herb…
but you get some interesting and beautiful results from your process…

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I forgot to mention, it stinks up the shop and your clothes terribly.

the danger zone and odor issue… the benefits/results just don’t want to outweigh the liabilities…

I wonder if you did a transfer of a lightning bolt(s) and ink in the patterns if you couldn’t mimic the burn ins…
It’d be a lot safer…


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That is a unique idea, Stick. Maybe even print them from an inkjet printer and iron them on to the wood, then take a standard wood burning tip and burn then into the wood.


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if you used Handy Dan’s favorite ink, the ink would bleed w/into the grain adding to the details/character…

Our local corner store has a Lichtenburg board displayed behind their counter. These are really interesting photos of the process, Herb! I like pyrography but haven’t tried this burning, mostly because scared off by the risk :sweat_smile: Thank you for sharing.

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Thank you Yuka, I was intrigued with them too,when I first saw them and researched the subject. There are lots of information on the internet. Some operators have made set-ups to do this remotely. They set it up and stand back quite some distance to activate the machine. Then observe from a distance the progress. In fact I found some set ups just for that purpose that were being sold.

Here is one: Lichtenberg Wood Burning Machine - Complete System-2 Sets Of Probes-Foot Switch - lichtenberg Wood Burning Machine and Safety



I looked into it Herb…
I think if there is some way something can go wrong I’d find it…
I think I’ll pass…

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Holy Smokes, that’s amazing! (pun intended).

Recognized the pattern as soon as I saw it, but had not realized there was such a process.

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I always love the look but several large woodworking groups have come out against it for good reason

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Thank you for the information. If I ever attempt it again I will go for the remote set-up. But I would discourage anyone wanting to do this if they have young children. The risk/temptation is too great for unsupervised operation. They didn’t have the remote set-up when I bought mine, It would not be too hard to adapt the one I had to remote.

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