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Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography (Read 781 times)
 
Steve Doerr
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Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Aug 4th, 2017 at 9:53am
 
I know AAW has come out and strongly encouraged turners not to use the Lichtenberg pyrography technique to embellish their turnings.  I read the article in this month’s American Woodturner and found it to be very informative and a GREAT reminder of the dangers this technique has.  That being said, I believe that I do take the necessary precautions to ensure that I follow the necessary safety precautions when I use this process.  With that being said, I have attached two pictures of two of my most recent turning using the Lichtenberg pyrography technique.  Both turning are from some Madrone that I pick up from Reed Gray (aka Robohippy) at the national symposium in KC this year.  Both were turned while the wood was still very green and thus have some wonderful movement in them.  The first turning is 11 ¼” W x 3”H.  The second turning is 11 ½”W x 10 ¼”D x 2 ¼”H.  C&C welcomed.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #1 - Aug 4th, 2017 at 10:12am
 
The pieces look good  Thumbs Up
The one critique that I have mentioned to others is this.
Get rid of the clear plastic stand.
It detracts form the piece and the overall photo.
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Dave Richards
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #2 - Aug 4th, 2017 at 1:24pm
 
I like them Steve. I may copy the position you put the burnings in the bowl if you don't mind.

I have stayed around the rim with my burnings but like where you put yours so I'll do some planning for the next project.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #3 - Aug 4th, 2017 at 3:40pm
 
BTW, Please post finished (completed) turnings in the Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register
Thanks
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Arlin Eastman
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #4 - Sep 5th, 2017 at 1:23pm
 
I like it a lot Steve.

I have had an idea for a while about how to maybe make it do what you want but I do not have one.

I am thinking if a pattern was put on the wood and some gentle shallow cuts made and then flooded with the water maybe the arc will follow the pattern?

I would like to see if anyone will try it.  Thumbs Up
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Vic Faulks
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #5 - Jul 27th, 2018 at 1:27am
 
Ive been experimenting with Lichtenberg figures for some time, I can understand the AAW position on the process, it can be lethally dangerous even for someone who is fully aware of the risks.

However, it is a fascinating process I've learned a fair bit about it, for example the very finest work with the greatest detail is achieved with the finest grain woods. So boxwood produces incredible detail if handled correctly, and being light in colour shows great contrast in the finished result. Practising on scraps of wood helps avoid you wrecking your finest bowls.

I still wouldn't recommend the process to anyone I didn't know well purely from the risk of dying, but here's another example on a scrap of boxwood.
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« Last Edit: Jul 27th, 2018 at 1:33am by Vic Faulks »  
 
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Vic Faulks
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #6 - Jul 27th, 2018 at 1:31am
 
second attempt to post photo, apologies.
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Wil Russell
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #7 - Jul 27th, 2018 at 8:20am
 
Nice work guys, I really like this effect. Smiley
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Grant Wilkinson
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #8 - Jul 27th, 2018 at 8:24am
 
Very nicely done, Steve.

Vic: I've had some luck keeping the burn where I want it by simply painting on the water/salt mix where the want the final burn to go. I haven't tried your idea of grooving the piece, though.
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #9 - Jul 27th, 2018 at 11:23am
 
Hey Steve, can you post a pic of your burner setup,  or send me a PM of it ?  I am starting to build one myself.

Thx
James
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Vic Faulks
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #10 - Jul 28th, 2018 at 2:02am
 
The common setup is to use the transformer from an old microwave oven, they provide a high voltage, high current output necessary to burn through the wood path. The problem with high current, high voltage supplies, is that one touch can easily kill you. So if you're not very familiar with working with high voltage electricity I strongly advise not to do this.

For those who do there are some important safety issues. Your household consumer unit may be fitted with an RCD (Residual Current Device or GFIs in the US I believe) circuit as a safety measure. These devices vary a little but essentially they look for a leakage current or an out of balance current, if they detect that less current is coming back than going out they assume you are on the end of a bare wire, and cut off the power to try to protect you. This won't help you if you're splashing around with a microwave transformer and salty liquids, it will either keep cutting out and prevent your activities or, if you are not leaking enough current to earth, they may not function at all and that means you are unprotected.

Another risk, unlikely for the safety conscious woodturner, is powering up the microwave with the covers off or door open, microwaves are very powerful and can damage you at a distance and very seriously.

The third risk is that inside a microwave oven is a cavity magnetron. This looks like a finned box with a pink/white ceramic spark plug in the end (sort of). The spark plug looking part is quite possibly made from Beryliium Oxide. If broken or damaged beryllium oxide powder is a carcinogen.

Also inside the oven is a large high voltage capacitor, even with the mains power switched off, this can be very dangerous to touch.One final small safety point. The process operates by connecting   the bare ends of wires to wood that has been previously painted with salt water and left to dry. Normal table salt will break down under high voltage/high temperature to give sodium and chlorine, the sodium will then react with water any moisture around to give caustic and hydrogen gas. The amounts are small but chlorine in particular is a noxious gas. Baking soda is an alternative.

Hope this helps give anyone considering the process the heads up.
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« Last Edit: Jul 28th, 2018 at 2:34am by Vic Faulks »  
 
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #11 - Jul 28th, 2018 at 8:37am
 
...but, other than THAT.... Smiley Smiley
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Grant Wilkinson
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #12 - Jul 28th, 2018 at 10:03am
 
Steve: I'll preface by apologizing for taking the thread away from your excellent work. If this turns into a discussion about the process or equipment, we should start another thread.

That said, anyone looking to do this would be well advised to stay away from microwave oven transformers. They are simply of too high an amperage to be even remotely safe.
The "safer" way to go - and it's all relative - is to pick up either a neon sign or an oil burner transformer. Their output voltage is much higher than a microwave transformer, but their amperage is much, much lower.
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« Last Edit: Jul 28th, 2018 at 10:05am by Grant Wilkinson »  

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Ed Weber
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #13 - Jul 28th, 2018 at 10:07am
 
There are "off the shelf" units available for those who don't have the skill or desire to build their own.
Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register
As always, be safe
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Vic Faulks
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Re: Madrone with Lichtenberg Pryography
Reply #14 - Jul 28th, 2018 at 11:51am
 
Yeah sorry for the monologue guys, didn't mean to press the safety thing too hard, but if you search Utube for Lichtenburg figure the vast majority of videos are using microwave oven transformers and I really think they are not paying enough attention to the lethal risks.

Ed's link is a great way to go and a lot safer.
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