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Heat Transfer Technique (Read 4,654 times)
 
Leo Frilot
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Heat Transfer Technique
Jan 26th, 2008 at 10:29am
 
Just wanted to share some info about transferring images to wood to give the laser engraved effect.  In essence, this is simply an iron on transfer.  I have been using this technique to personalize pens for a few years now and it is real simple to achieve.  I currently have a Pecan pen that is going on 5 years and showing no signs on the transfer fading.  Items required are:
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  • Laser Printer (if using a computer)

  • Laser Copier (if using a computer with ink jet printer or using hand drawn images)

I use powerpoint but you can use other software as well.  Whatever you create on the computer can be transferred onto wood, but for it to be legible (text and certain images) you'll have to print it as a mirror image.  If you don't have that function for your particular printer, you can usually use the Flip Horizontal function to get the same results. I've used this mainly on text but i have ideas to use it for graphics as well.  
Works best when printed on regular 18# or 20# paper, but requires a laser print.  Ink jet print will not transfer.  If using an ink jet printer or using a hand drawn image you'll have to photocopy it on a laser copier (i.e. Xerox copier).  
Plug in the transfer tool and let it warm up for about 4 minutes.  Apply the print to the area of the sanded and unfinished wood you want to transfer it to, position and tape in place.  I have noticed best results when the wood is sanded to 220 or 320 grit. Using the flat disc on the tool, rub the  backside of the text in a tight circular motion making sure you rub the entire image.  Don't leave the tool in one spot too long or it will burn the wood or pop the grain, especially true with thin turnings like pens and woods high in oil content.  Lift one side of your print to check for 100% adhesion.  If you notice places that did not transfer, reposition the print and rub more in that area.  If the paper becomes stuck to the wood that's a good sign you have 100% adhesion.  You can remove any stuck on paper with a slightly dampened cloth and light pressure without fear of rubbing the image away.  Ensure all paper fibers have ben removed and then use your favorite finish as you would regularly do.  

I have used friction polish and renaissance wax with great success.  I have not tried other finishes (CA, poly, BLO) yet so please experiment on a scrap piece. It's a good idea to practice the transfer on a scrap piece just to see how the wood will react to heat.

I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #1 - Jan 26th, 2008 at 10:49am
 
Good technique.

Laser printers lay down toner onto a sheet then uses heat to fuse the toner onto the paper. So less heat that is used to fuse the toner the better transfer of toner you will get. A heavier sheet need more heat which most laser printer can't supply. I find heavier paper works better (24# or 30#).

I have an old laser printer that the fuser unit died. I can blow off the toner, but it works great, if I'm careful, for transferring the toner on to wood.
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Leo Frilot
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #2 - Jan 26th, 2008 at 11:34am
 
I've tried heavier paper and it'll work fairly well on flat surfaces.  The problem is on round surfaces, like pen barrels, it doesn't bend too easily to lay flat against the surface of the wood.  It tends to buckle.

I've also tried using color laser print and it works fairly well also.  However, the law of color mixing does apply.  For example, combining blue and yellow makes green.  I tried to transfer purple text onto osage orange (to get the pruple and gold effect) and the text came out green.  But when using white wood (Holly) the colors stayed the same but tended to appear lighter (combining red and white makes pink).  Of course, black transfers the best.
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #3 - Jan 26th, 2008 at 11:59am
 
That makes sense Leo.

Yes, color laser printers work also.

Not all color copiers are created equal. Some have a oil fuser others have a dry fuser. The ones with a oil fuser won't work because of the way the toner is melted into the paper.
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Leo Frilot
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #4 - Jan 26th, 2008 at 1:42pm
 
Works best on tight grained woods with low oil content.  Deep grained woods will have to be filled for the entire image to transfer.  If you don't use a grain filler, you will get gaps where the grain is deep.
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #5 - Feb 4th, 2008 at 11:41am
 
Thanks for the explanation and tips Leo. I've never heard of this but it sounds like a quick and easy way to do what I was after. No Laser here but I think the library has one. I'm going to try it out! Thanks again...Bill...
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« Last Edit: Feb 4th, 2008 at 11:42am by Bill Bolen »  

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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #6 - Feb 11th, 2008 at 8:00am
 
Just wanted to report that the heat transfer process worked beautifully for me on a Churchhill Pen kit I was making as a birthday present for my sister.  I used cherry and after experimenting found I could sand to 600 grit.  (That's as high as I tried)  I used the transfer Iron from Penn State that Leo recommended.  I don't have a laser printer, but I printed the name in reverse print on my ink jet and made copies at Home Depot on a zerox copier.  I made 4 practice transfers on scrap wood to perfect the technique.   First one I don't think the iron was hot enough.   Package recommends waiting 8 min.  After that time they were better.  Then as Leo and Ron have stated I found the trick was to keep the iron moving and when you can see the print start to appear through the back of the paper it usually has transferred.   I finished with Shellawax Friction Polish (2 coat light pressure; 2 coats with heat pressure).  I then rubbed on Resassance wax.

Leo -  Thanks for posting this tip.  By using it I was able to make my gift a little more special.  I must admit I was skeptical about trying to pull it off at first, but as Rev says you can't screw up to bad.  If you did, hI guess you could sand it off and start over.
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Leo Frilot
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #7 - Feb 11th, 2008 at 12:25pm
 
Glad it worked for you.  Would I steer you wrong?  Grin Don't answer that!! Roll Eyes

I think there's a whole lot more that can be done with that thing and am planning to experiment more with it.
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #8 - Feb 11th, 2008 at 6:22pm
 
Round,
you know the rules "no pic it didn't happen"  Grin well where's the pic?

Chuck
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #9 - Feb 11th, 2008 at 7:03pm
 
Chuck Beland wrote on Feb 11th, 2008 at 6:22pm:
Round,
you know the rules "no pic it didn't happen"  Grin well where's the pic?

Chuck



Chuck; Pic is in the Gallery.  Didn't you see it???    Lips Sealed
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #10 - Feb 11th, 2008 at 7:38pm
 
Ric Rountree wrote on Feb 11th, 2008 at 7:03pm:
Chuck; Pic is in the Gallery.  Didn't you see it???    Lips Sealed


Nope, I plead blind as a bat. That's my story & I'm sticking with it.

Chuck
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #11 - Feb 12th, 2008 at 2:44am
 
I guess I could cobble-up a tip for my RazorTip stylus that would work? Anyone tried this?

Tom
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #12 - Feb 12th, 2008 at 8:51pm
 
Chuck Beland wrote on Feb 11th, 2008 at 7:38pm:
Ric Rountree wrote on Feb 11th, 2008 at 7:03pm:
Chuck; Pic is in the Gallery.  Didn't you see it???    Lips Sealed


Nope, I plead blind as a bat. That's my story & I'm sticking with it.

Chuck


Blind deaf and a post man wow what a mess. Cry
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #13 - Feb 13th, 2008 at 1:08am
 
what size font did you use on the pen
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #14 - Feb 13th, 2008 at 4:20am
 
Tom Davis wrote on Feb 12th, 2008 at 8:51pm:
Chuck Beland wrote on Feb 11th, 2008 at 7:38pm:
Ric Rountree wrote on Feb 11th, 2008 at 7:03pm:
Chuck; Pic is in the Gallery.  Didn't you see it???    Lips Sealed


Nope, I plead blind as a bat. That's my story & I'm sticking with it.

Chuck


Blind deaf and a post man wow what a mess. Cry



Guilty, Roll Eyes But still good looking Smiley
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