TRUArt Wood Burning Tool Review
Criteria for review:
- General Features
- Heat Retention
- Tip Selection
- Ease of Switching tips
- Quickness of heating and cooling
- Stand Out Perks
Before we get started with the TRUArt Wood Burning Tool Review, I want to make sure this is clear. I’m not being paid to say any of these things. These are 100% my thoughts and opinions.
The main thing our followers ask is “what equipment should I use?” For years, I stuck with one burner, so for the sake of giving my audience the best possible info, I need to branch out and test other options.
I reached out to several wood burning manufacturers and asked if we could test there burner and review it. I was honest with them and told them that I would give an 100% honest review.
It’s important to me that my audience to have the best knowledge possible and I want them to know what to expect. Most of the manufacturers responded excitedly and gladly sent me a burner to test and review. TRUart is one of those, so let’s dive into the criteria.
First, I want to explain the criteria in which I’ll be reviewing this tool and others similar to it. I’m going to be doing a series of reviews and I want to keep the criteria similar so they are comparable. General Features (which won’t be judged, just explained), Heat Retention, Tip Selection, Ease of switching tips, quickness of heating and cooling, cost, and stand out perks that this tool has.
The stand out perks category is a chance for me to explain a feature or two a tool has that the others don’t. It’s my experience that each one of these tools and companies offer something the others don’t and they need to be mentioned.
A lot of the wood burning tools I’ve used perform similarly and very well, so in most cases of deciding which one to purchase comes down to personal preference and expectations and these stand out perks have a lot to do with those personal choices.
Also, I’m only burning wood in this review. Yes, it does burn other things, but for our purposes we will only be reviewing how this burner operates on wood. I also tried different woods, poplar, basswood, pine and oak.
Let’s get into the TRUArt Wood Burning Tool Review!!
The Kit Includes:
- The Case (love it)
- Wand Stand (love it)
- 20 tips
- The burner box with 2 pens
- Cleaning Files
- Pliers and Tweezers for switching tips
- Cleaning Brush
- Cleaning Sponges
- Small Metal Container for holding tips
First thing is heat retention. Heat retention is all about how much heat the tip loses/retains when it touches the wood. The better burners don’t lose much heat.
And another thing worth mentioning is that every burner I’ve used loses heat when you touch the wood because the wood starts absorbing the heat which causes it to burn. But some tools are better about retaining the heat than others.
I’m going to be super honest, I didn’t notice a lot of change in heat that’s worth noting. This is a high quality burner, so there’s little lose of heat when I touch the wood. The only thing I will mention is the heat dial. This is more of a personal hang up because I’m used to a machine that has a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5….etc heat dial and this one has a voltage heat setting that goes from 0 – 111. So it was an adjustment for me to understand what heat works best, but I’m usually in the range of 30V to 80V. Anything lower than 30 is not hot enough and anything over 80 is way too hot.
There are some pros and cons here. I’ll start with the pros. These are high quality, thick wire tips at 20 Gauge. Good Quality tips. There’s a good variety that comes with the kit. Here’s a pic of the tip options. Since using this tool, I have mostly used the shaders and the pointed tip. I have experimented with a few others, just for fun.
I’ve burned signs, lettering, portraits, everything I normally burn and these tips have gotten good results for me. TRUArt also has an additional tip kit you can purchase for $32 and it comes with specialty tips.
They also have tips for sale individually so you can pick and choose. I haven’t tried these large tips they have on their site, but I WANT to. I love the idea of having a large surface area tip that would help me fill in large spaces faster. I’m definitely going to try that out.
A couple of cons.
First, I didn’t see a straight edge tip in the choices. That’s a tip I use almost every time I burn. I did use a couple of other tips in place of not having a straight edge. They worked okay and they did the job, but not as well as other straight edge tips I’ve used. They just didn’t cut through the wood and stay in place like I want them to.
I use straight edge tips for outlining lettering and designs so that I get a nice clean crisp edge especially when I’m going over differentiating grain patterns. The straight edges help avoid those bumpy edges and these weren’t the best at that.
The second con is a small thing that I was able to fix myself. The shader tips aren’t rounded off on the edges. For some tips that’s a good thing. Some tips should have a sharp edge depending on what you’re burning. But for the shader tips, a sharp metal edge means that the tips won’t glide across the surface of the wood without catching.
I use a circular motion a lot when I burn and these sharp metal edges kept catching on the wood. I took a very fine grit sand paper ( don’t any body freak out, I didn’t damage the tips) and I lightly and carefully rounded the edges of the bottoms of the shader tips and it made it much easier to slide the tip around on the wood.
Oh and another pro, or you may see this as a con. I guess it depends on whether you’re a glass half empty or half full type of person. The kit comes with 20 tips and there are duplicates, so there aren’t 20 different tips. They are nine actual different tips, that are duplicated. Now I saw this as a pro because really there’s only so many tips you need as a burner. I have four tips that i use regularly, so I honestly don’t see a need to have this massive collection of 100 different tip types.
So the reason this is a pro for me is because you have replacements for when the originals wear out. Over time your tips are going to need to be replaced from normal wear and tear. They just don’t last forever. So you have backups already in place when you order this kit. If there’s a few tips in here you get comfortable with and it breaks, you have a backup already. I really liked that touch as part of the kit.
Ease of Switching Tips
I added this as a criteria because this is a really important feature of a burner for me. It had to include it in the TRUArt Wood Burning Tool Review. I like to be able to switch my tips quickly and easily and if I have to wait for it to cool down first or if the tips are a pain to change, I get put out with it fast.
So when I saw these screw on things, I was a bit skeptical of how this part of using the burner was going to go. At first getting these tips into the wand is a little tricky. It’s not as seamless as some other burners I’ve used, but it really only takes a few second to get the tips in and screw them in.
I tested the heating a cooling factor for this reason alone. I wanted to know how quickly it takes the tip to heat and cool so I know how long to expect to be able to switch a tip without getting burned.
It takes around 10 – 15 seconds to heat and about three minutes to cool before I can safely switch the tip. Overall, not bad.
Now I’m using the dual pen which makes this even easier. Because I can load two different tips before I start burning and when I’m ready for the second tip, I don’t have to wait for it to cool. I just flip this switch and start using the second wand. The other wand will be cooling while I’m using this one. If I need to switch again, I simply switch the one that has cooled down.
As I’m posting this review, there’s only a $20 difference in the Single Pen vs Dual Pen kits that have all the same accessories in it, it’s worth spending that extra $20 to get the dual pens.
Overall, switching the tips is pretty easy. It’s not the easiest burner tip switch I’ve experienced, but it’s not a bad experience at all with the dual wands.
Heat – How hot is it and how long does it take?
Most people want to know the answer to this question first. Does it get hot? And the answer is YES! This burner gets hot at a level that I don’t even need it to get hot. Now there might be hard woods that these heat levels are geared toward, however, I’m usually burning softer woods that make wood burning portraits a little easier. So if you’re wondering if this machine gets hot enough, the answer is yes. You shouldn’t have any problems with the heat levels and if you do, then what the heck are you trying to burn?
It heats up within seconds. You’re not going to have to wait long to start burning here. I haven’t done an exact count on the heat up time, but i would estimate about 10 – 15 seconds and the tip has reached the temp setting on the dial.
This particular kit with all the accessories and everything that comes with it as I’m writing this is $199.00 on the TRUart website. Overtime that may change, but today it’s $199.
They have some dual pen kits that offer more accessories around the $240 range and the single pen kit is $175.00. In the overall wood burning kit market place this is a mid range price. There are some kit’s that range $300-$500, so this is good middle of the road price.
I think it’s priced very well in the market compared to other options. It has a large variety of tips, two pens, HOT heat settings, it’s everything you need for a good price.
Stand Out Perks
So this may seem a little trivial for stand out perk, but I really like it, so I’m calling attention to it. The stand that holds the pens is a great perk. The pens slide into this holder where it is completely guarded, yet still getting air to cool down. I love that the hot tip isn’t exposed anymore. So there’s no chance of accidentally touching it. Also, the holders are really secure, there’s no chance of the wands falling out.
I didn’t need to use finger guards!
This is a big deal. I’ve been burning with this tool for three weeks and one of my favorite things is how my fingers don’t get hot on the wand. I have not used my finger guards at all!
The only time I felt like I need the finger guards was when I was burning at the highest heat setting, which is way to hot to burn with. I only had the heat that high for testing purposes and I quickly realized I didn’t need to burn at that high temp. The wand has a protection guard of some type around it, but also has a thick rubber layer surround the entire wand.
The fact that I don’t need finger guards is a huge plus. It gives me more of a connection with the wand and a feeling of control over what I’m burning.
The case is pretty kick ass.
I took it out of the box and had a big moment of excitement when I saw the case. It’s a hard case that is wrapped in a cloth shell. The logo is printed on the top for a nice clean finishing touch. It’s a small detail, but a nice touch to the kit. The branding and the layout of accessories in the kit makes it feels very official.
Overall finished thoughts
Like I said, I have been using this burner for a few weeks now and I have very few cons or negative remarks about it. Is it perfect, no. Will it help you effectively wood burn designs into wood, yes. It gets really hot, it’s easy to use and it’s an affordable price. If someone asked me if it was a good buy, I would say yes.
I do wish it had a truer straight edge and pre-rounded tips, but those aren’t deal breakers for me. I also took a peak on Amazon and as of today it has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating with over 200 reviews. That tells me a lot of people are happy with the TRUArt wood burning tool.
Thanks for reading my TRUArt Wood Burning Tool Review!
If you have anything to add, leave me some comments!!
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