When it comes to pyrography, your projects depend on two critical things: your creativity and your wood sources for wood burning!
There are many different types of wood, but not all woods are best suited for pyrography. The best-suited woods for your pyro-projects will depend on the project and your skill level as a woodburner.
When sourcing the best woods for wood burning, location matters. Different places will have different types of wood to offer. Seasonality may also play a factor.
In this article, we will break down the top wood sources for wood burning and offer tips to make sure you find the best wood for your next project!
Where Can I Find the Best Woods for Wood Burning?
1. Arts & Craft Stores
One of the first wood sources for wood burning is the local arts and crafts store. Not all products at the arts and crafts store are good for pyrography. MDF is an example of wood that you should not burn.
Here’s another article that highlights types of woods that are great for wood burning. Hobby Lobby and Michaels offer birch, pine, and basswood canvases. They come pre-routed and ready for wood burning.
Shopping online with sites such as Amazon can be a great wood source for wood burning. They have hundreds of options that differ in size, quantity, and style.
For more exotic wood options, stores such as KJP Select Hardwoods and Rustic Wood Supply have a good variety.
When searching online, look for one of the best wood burning woods: basswood. Basswood is extremely versatile, has a soft grain, and you can get it for a reasonable cost. It’s my personal favorite wood for burning.
2. Big Box Stores
If you are looking for a wide variety of woods to choose from, then you should check out your local big box store. The Home Depot and Lowe’s are just a few of the stores that offer a great selection of good wood choices.
Shopping at big box stores will give you a ton of wood to chose from but may require you to cut the material yourself. Some stores will cut the wood down for you. However, if this is not an option for you, you will want to invest in a quality router and sander to give your wood a finished look. We recommend using the DeWalt Random Orbit Sander and the Bosch 1617EVSPK Router to give your wood clean edges.
3. Pallet Wood
When it comes to wood sources for wood burning, pallet wood often considered. Although, is the wood safe enough to burn on? You can find pallet wood everywhere. I’ve found it on the side of the road or behind store buildings.
It’s safe to say the cons outweigh the benefits when it comes to pallet wood. Pallet woods may have a heavy amount of oil from their original processing, which can leave burn marks on your projects. Plus, the wood is often flimsy and worn, which is not ideal for wood burning projects.
The biggest con for pallet wood is not knowing what its origin. A lot of pallets are used to ship chemicals and burning those isn’t safe.
Pallet wood may not be the best first choice, but it can be used for framing or creating a backer for your wood-burned art.
4. Reclaimed Wood
One of the best woods for wood burning is reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood offers a rustic and unique look to your projects that you can’t get from any other type of wood. From old floors, barns, and railroad ties, this type of wood can be found in a variety of places. You also want to make sure that you don’t burn any reclaimed wood with varnish or paint on it, as this can release harmful toxins into the air. Keep in mind, reclaimed wood typically makes for better frames and accent pieces, but of course, it can still add to your wood-burned project.
Sourcing reclaimed wood can be tricky business. You will want to network with individuals or companies that have access to reclaimed wood, or search for it online through seller sites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
And as always, make sure to use safety precautions such as wearing a mask, using fans, and good ventilation.
5. Saw Mills and Lumber Yards
Another wood source for wood burning is saw mills and lumber yards.
These businesses have a wide range of wood options to choose from. You can even ask them to cut your wood down for you to whatever size best suits your project.
Buyer beware: when you shop at a saw mill, you will likely be buying in bulk while also prepping the wood you buy.
You will need to have a way to transport the wood from the yard to your home or studio. You will then need a safe place to store the wood until you are ready to use it, and the equipment necessary to cut large pieces into more manageable sizes.
If you have a saw mill near you, simply contact them to see what types of wood they carry. They may also be able to give you advice on how to source the wood they sell and what the best options are for your project.
Lumber yards may be an easier option than a saw mill, and they will often have the equipment onsite that you can use to cut your wood. They may also carry reclaimed wood that you can use in your projects.
Choosing Your Sourcing
When it comes to finding the best wood for wood burning, it really depends on your project and what you are looking to achieve. If you are a hobby burner who is simply looking for quality wood to practice on, buying online or shopping precut canvases will be your best bet.
However, if you want to create a tailored and specific experience for a client, you will want to check out your local saw mill or lumber yard. These businesses can help you select the best wood based on its purpose and design and offer advice on best practices when burning wood.
Remember that safety is key no matter what type of wood you choose. Ensure that you are working in a well-ventilated area and always wear protective gear when burning.
Sourcing your wood is only the first step in the pyrography process. Once you find the best woods for wood burning, the next step is to choose the right tools and practice your art! Click below to download a free pyrography template pack that will help you along the way.
FREE PYRO PACK
This FREE (and highly detailed) digital packet is overflowing with information for getting started in pyrography.
- 14 tools supply list – the best tools in pyrography
- 5 pyrography patterns to use in burning
- 2 step-by-step pyro projects with templates
I put together a digital download packet that highlights wood burning tools and projects perfect for pyro beginners.
“what burner should I use?”
“what’s the best wood to burn?”
“what are my safety options?”
“where can I get these tools?”
“where can I get pyrography patterns?”
“what should I burn?”
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