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Heat Transfer Technique (Read 4,587 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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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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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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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #15 - Feb 13th, 2008 at 5:55pm
 
Chuck Beland wrote on 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



Just to keep this going looks are only in the eye of the
beholder
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #16 - Feb 13th, 2008 at 7:11pm
 
Tom,
I did say I'm half blind. Grin I don't have to look at me the world does. Grin
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #17 - Jun 21st, 2008 at 8:12pm
 
I learned a new technique today.

Instead of using heat there is a pen that you can use.

One such pen is made by Prismacolor and is called a colorless blending pen.  (It's filled with Xylene)

This only works with a laser print or a print from a copier.

Place the paper with the image side facing the paper and rub over the paper with the pen. That's it.
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #18 - Jun 22nd, 2008 at 12:11am
 
What would happen if you put some xylene on a rag and rubbed it across the back side of the paper?  Would that be the same effect?
CoolRev. Doug Miller
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #19 - Jun 22nd, 2008 at 6:12am
 
It should, that's why I named the ingredient.
I have some xylene at work and plan on trying. I also have some empty pens that I'm going to fill
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #20 - Jun 22nd, 2008 at 6:16am
 
Please post your results.  I'm curious to know also.
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #21 - Jun 23rd, 2008 at 7:32am
 
Binh Pho uses Xylene to transfer his laser images to his work, he did this in his rotation about airbrushing.
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #22 - Jun 23rd, 2008 at 7:49am
 
Bill Blasic wrote on Jun 23rd, 2008 at 7:32am:
Binh Pho uses Xylene to transfer his laser images to his work, he did this in his rotation about airbrushing.



Yup
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #23 - Jun 25th, 2008 at 9:50pm
 
This is a really slick trick. I've heard of it in the past but never tried until today. I don't have the transfer tool nor any xylene but I cobbled up a way using a little piece of aluminum plate holding my printed signature on to the blade of a maple letter opener I turned--and holding a soldering gun against it for a couple minutes.
After 3 tries I haven't gotten even coverage across the whole signature even though it's the smallest font I could print (9 pt) and only about 3/4" across. I'll post a small pic after it works better, in keeping with the "no pic it didn't happen"  rule  Tongue

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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #24 - Jun 26th, 2008 at 12:33pm
 
I just got a Prismacolor blender pen - It doesn't work.

Xylene works great, but if you dab some on a rag then apply it to the back of the paper you get a blurry image from to much chemical. I found that if I dipped the Prismacolor blender pen into Xylene then apply to the back of the paper you get a nice crisp image. I'm leaving the cap off the pen so it dries out and will be using it as a applicator.

I also found that trichloroethylene works really good as well. I think you can only get this commercially. We use it as a cleaner and I'm wondering if spot remover will work too.
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #25 - Jun 29th, 2008 at 7:56pm
 
I had some old furniture stripper in a can, not the paste but a thin fluid which has a bunch of ingredients listed--don't see xylene but the stuff works good.
I dab it on the backside of the printing with an old stiff paintbrush and hold it against the wood with my thumb for about a minute.

Rather than post another pic here or in the Gallery, I uploaded one to my Gallery album on the AAW Forums, you can see here:

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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #26 - Jun 29th, 2008 at 8:31pm
 
Try burnishing the paper with something like a credit card, it helps to transfer the image
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #27 - Jun 29th, 2008 at 8:35pm
 
This is excellent information.  The downfall of the heat pen is that you run the risk of burning the wood or popping the grain.  With the chemical application, that risk is removed. 

Has anyone experimented with color laser transfer yet?  The heat pen transfers colors fairly well.  You don't get the true color.  For example, red print on holly will appear pink.  Blue print on yellowheart will appear green.  In other words, it tends to follow the color mixing rules.

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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #28 - Jun 29th, 2008 at 9:18pm
 
Yes, So So results

More to come at a later time
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #29 - Jun 29th, 2008 at 9:23pm
 
Ron Sardo wrote on Jun 29th, 2008 at 8:31pm:
Try burnishing the paper with something like a credit card, it helps to transfer the image


Ron, is this done along with the chemical transfer? Or instead of?
If along with, is it before, or after dabbing on the fluid?

Leo, I only have a monotone printer but would like to know how well a light-colored ink would look on a dark wood. Yellow or green on Black Walnut, for example. A friend has a color laser printer, I want to put a bunch of designs and text on a sheet or two of paper and see how it works. Might take a week before I get that much done!
BTW Leo, thanks for posting this technique, it has opened up a whole new realm for surface decoration of turnings!
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #30 - Jun 29th, 2008 at 9:26pm
 
No problem Ken.  I'm a firm believer in learning something new everyday.

Ken Grunke wrote on Jun 29th, 2008 at 9:23pm:
BTW Leo, thanks for posting this technique, it has opened up a whole new realm for surface decoration of turnings!

I guess that means I'm not all BS after all.  Roll Eyes
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #31 - Jun 29th, 2008 at 9:52pm
 
Ken, after dabbing on the fluid.

Most color lasers and copiers run at a higher temperature than B&W lasers and copiers. That fixes the toner onto the paper better making it more difficult for the toner to be released form the paper. So far I only get bleached out images.  I have a couple of other chemicals I want to try out, one of them is stripper. 

I do want to add a word of caution, some of these chemical that can release toner from paper can be very dangerous, both health wise and as a fire hazard. They should not only be used in a well ventilated area and proper precautions, but also with common sense.

Be careful!
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #32 - Jun 30th, 2008 at 7:10am
 
Hey, this looks like a great tip, I'd love to give it a try, and I have two perfect projects for this.

First is my parents upcoming 50th wedding anniversary, I'd love to make them something nice, but be able to put nice text on it.

Second, I have a customer, the Shinto shrine that I get most of my free wood from, they asked me before if I could make them up a bunch of key fobs from some of the wood that I got, they would gladly pay for them. This technique could make that very possible, the head priest does really nice calligraphy, and could write the name of the shrine, I could photocopy it or scan it and print it on our laser printer, as well as resize it for the keyfobs!

Is there anything really "Special" about this tool, besides the flat round "Iron" on the end of it, is this just a "Soldering Iron"? I have an extra soldering iron, I could make up an "iron" fairly simply. I'd happily buy the tool, but shipping cost and time are against that idea, I'm going to Canada on July 13th..........

Please let me know what you think.

Cheers!
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #33 - Jun 30th, 2008 at 7:17am
 
Nothing special

I even used a clothing iron
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Stuart Ablett
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #34 - Jun 30th, 2008 at 7:32am
 
Thanks Ron!

The chances of me finding any of the chemicals you mention, and then being able to BUY it, well they are slim to none Undecided

Took me nearly two years to get hold of some real DNA! Tongue

Cheers!
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #35 - Jun 30th, 2008 at 8:46am
 
The only two tricks needed is to have the wood as smooth as possible and to have a heat source hot enough to melt the toner but not hot enough to scorch the wood.

Oh and one more: don't move the paper until you are done.

You know... if you built yourself a still... you can make your own "DNA". 
But then you probably already know that.
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #36 - Jun 30th, 2008 at 1:24pm
 
Well the heat thing was not working out, the soldering iron I have does NOT have a removable tip Angry

So I tried the nastiest stuff I have in the shop, Lacquer thinner and it worked fairly well, right off the bat!

See the attached pic  Smiley
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Ken Grunke
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Re: Heat Transfer Technique
Reply #37 - Jun 30th, 2008 at 5:22pm
 
Ron Sardo wrote on Jun 29th, 2008 at 9:52pm:
Ken, after dabbing on the fluid.

Thanks Ron, I'll try that.

Stu, if you have a piece of aluminum, brass, or copper 1/16" to 1/8" thick and just big enough to put over the paper, you can heat that up with your iron. That's how I first tried it. But the chemical transfer method is better in my opinion, and it looks like it worked great for you.
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« Last Edit: Jun 30th, 2008 at 5:24pm by Ken Grunke »  

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