I wanted to create a few projects using a craft burner. I’ve had several followers ask if I would do more videos using these tools, so I decided to do a Walnut Hollow Versa Tool Review. Walnut Hollow is a premiere brand in pyrography and this seems to be their most popular tool. I see it used more than any other craft burner and I felt like it would be good for our readers to get an idea of what it’s all about.
I picked up my Walnut Hollow Versa Tool at Hobby Lobby for $23. Walnut Hollow has a few burner options to choose from, but the Versa Tool is their mid range option. There is another option without a heat dial and another burner that is more expensive and is more like a professional burner setup.
Materials I used:
- Pine Wood Canvas
- Walnut Hollow Versa Tool
- Weathered Gray Stain
- Watco Satin Lacquer
- Hangers for the back
What’s inside the Pack
This particular pack has a variety of tips with 11 from which to choose. It also has a soldering tip with soldering wire in the pack. For this blog review, I put together a simple piece of artwork on a repurposed canvas. I’m going to be using several of the tips throughout the burn to show you what it can do.
Each tip has threaded base that you screw into the burner wand. The instructions suggest using pliers to remove tips and put in tips.
The tip chart on the back also tells you what the tips are best used for depending on what you are trying to burn. For example, if you want to add details with shading, the shader tip is a good option.
What You Need to Know Before Burning
First, it takes about 4 – 5 minutes to heat up. The tool has four heat settings on the heat setting dial. You can burn a range of items like paper, leather, foam and wood. The lower heat settings are for things like paper and leather, while your higher settings are for wood. There’s a handy little chart on the back of the box art that illustrates which heat is best for the medium you’re using.
And before we go any further, I want to mention how important it is to let your tips cool before you switch them. It takes another 4 – 5 minutes to cool down. This is an important step. If you try to switch the tips while they are still hot, you can easily damage the metal threads causing them to strip or damage the inside of the wand. This may potentially prevent you from putting any more tips into your wand, so please let the tips cool properly.
Burning the Artwork
Straight Edge Tip – Universal Point
My burner came with a straight edge tip already loaded, so I’m going keep that in place and get started. I’m going to start on the letters by outlining the edges. I like to use a straight edge tip to give the outlines a nice crisp edge. These pine canvases can cause a bumpy edge with your round tips because of the differences in the grain patterns.
Rounded Tip – Mini Flow Point
Once I’ve burned my outlines, I’m going to switch tips to a rounded option using my pliers.I like to use these tips to fill in the inside of my lettering with a line pattern. It gives the letters and nice texture instead of just a plain flat burn.
The round tip is very versatile. I also use it to create dot patterns, which are one of my favorite textures to use. It gives the finished piece a great look and the burn has more appeal. It’s also really easy to do. Just dab the wood over and over until you’ve filled in your artwork.
Flat Shader Tip – Shading Point
Now I’ve moved onto my flat shader tip. This is another very versatile tip. It has a pointed tip on the end, but it’s also bent to an angle so you can use the flat bottom surface to shade or fill in large dark burnt areas. I’m going to use it to outline my letters and fill them in. This saves me time so I don’t have to wait on the cooling and heating process to switch tips.
This is also the tip you would use for fine details like in portraits or when your burning image like artwork.
Round Tip Two – Flow Point
Another tip I use often is the big rounded tip. It’s rounded like a dome on the end, so it glides over the wood easily. I use it to outline and shade. Outlining and shading the inside of these milk bottles is a breeze.
I slowly burn the outer edge to make a deep burn, then I use a fast paced circular motion to shade the inside area. Using a circular motion with this rounded tip makes it easy to achieve the shade you want without leaving any hot spots on the wood.
Solder Tip – Soldering Point
I like to use the solder tip to burn wood. It has a nice slanted point on the end, making it easy to burn finer details like these letters. I can burn the outlines, and the smaller shadow pieces, and still use it to fill in the letters once my outline is complete. It doesn’t leave those crisp lines like the straight edge tip. However, it makes it easy to outline and fill in artwork without having to change tips.
Pros and Cons
- Variety of Tips
- Easy to find
- Easy to use
- Great for beginners
This is a very versatile tool and it’s perfect for people that want to start wood burning, but don’t want to invest a lot up front. It’s easy to find and use.
- Not as hot as pro burners
- Screw in tips
People ask me a ton of questions about which burners to use and I use my professional burn 90% of the time. I tell people to start with this burner. There isn’t anything you can’t burn with it and I know several pro pyro artists that still use the Walnut Hollow Versa Tool. If you burn as an occasional hobby or just want to try it out, Walnut Hollow is a great place to start.
If you want to upgrade there are some benefits that this tool can’t do. A professional style wood burner gets much much hotter, which can help you increase your efficiency as an artist.
Pro burners also have prong tips that heat and cool quickly, so you don’t have to wait to change out the screw in tips. The threaded tips force you to wait for cooling and heating, which can get frustrating over time.
I used a weathered gray stain to give the finished piece a vintage look. Then I varnished it with the Watco Satin Lacquer.
I hope you enjoyed this walnut hollow versa tool review!
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