Frequently Asked Questions
Before You Buy
At present, all my irons are externally heated (usually via propane torch). I’ve been on the hunt for an electric element that meets the following requirements:
1. Heats my thick brass heads quickly
2. Made in the US
3. High quality and safe
4. Affordable to hobby woodworkers
The most common electric branding irons take upwards of 30 to 45 minutes to heat a thin brass head. My irons are as much as triple that thickness and would take even longer. Contrast that with a propane torch bringing even my largest irons up to temperature within 2 minutes.
Another factor, which I believe is both a quality and a safety issue, is temperature control. The majority of the electric irons out there have nothing to stop them going too hot. For a very small iron, too hot can make the iron impossible to use because you’d have to be so quick with the press time.
My (obviously biased) view on the matter is that a heat time of over 30 minutes could be easily forgotten and with no temperature control I would worry about safety in that case. Using a torch, your focus is on that task the entire time and it’s for a very short time span.
I can see electric elements being advantageous in a production setting where hundreds of pressings are needed at a time. Those elements do exist. They mount in a drill press and work great but they cost over $300.
It’s a tall order, but when I do find an element that meets the above requirements, I will definitely ensure any iron I’ve ever sold will mount to it.
Once we have your order, we run it through our software and generate a proof that we’ll send to you for review. This way you’ll always know exactly what to expect and have final approval before we cut any brass.
We run a batch of irons each week. As long as we get your approval on the proof by Wednesday, your iron will be cut and shipped that same week. Worst case, your order will go into the following week’s queue.
In general, most clients get their irons within two weeks from placing their order.
Occasionaly, some designs may get scorched wood stuck in the fine details of the iron. This is easily removed using a soft bristle brush when cold. Clean as needed to produce a legible burn.
Wood scorches between 350-400F depending upon species. How you reach that temperature is flexible. We use a propane torch. When nearing the target temperature, a dark purple hue follows the flame. This means it’s very close to temperature and can start testing.
Every iron has a personality. Users develop a touch for their iron after a few uses. Intricate designs with fine details take more time. The time you leave it on the wood depends on how hot it is. Do a few test burns on scraps until you’re familiar with your iron.
It’s perfectly safe to quench a hot iron in water to cool it off. Occasionally, remove the handle and dry out the threaded hole in the back of the iron’s brass head.