Woodburning Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

  • Remember all pointed tips, particularly the "F" tip are fragile. When they are not in use, store your pens with the caps on in an upright position in a container. Do not store them in drawers or tool boxes. This can result in a burr forming on the cutting edge of your pen that will snag the wood when burning.
  • Clean the tips or your pen when carbon buildup occurs. This buildup will reduce the temperature of the tip and make it necessary to increase the temperature setting on your unit. You may clean your burning tip by gently rubbing it with Colwood's honing paper.
  • Do not turn the temperature setting all the way up to burn off the carbon, because repeated extremely high temperature will cause the tips to wear out quickly.
  • When changing tips and/or hand pieces, turn off the unit. This will prevent injury and increase the life of the unit.
  • Never leave the unit turned on for extended periods of time without a tip or hand piece plugged in. Keep the hand piece cool, by using no more heat than necessary and turning unit off when not in use.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice- Whenever you get time, practice using your pens. You will develop the muscles in your hands enabling you to have better control. Your hand will become steady and not shake when burning.
  • Keep some scrap wood handy. Before trying a different tip or a new technique, practice on scrap. Fine sand a similarly shaped scrap wood and experiment with different tips and techniques. By practicing on scraps you won't damage your final artwork.
  • Colwood's fish scale tips and ball burnishing tips require more heat and we recommend using the Super Pro II Unit.
  • The type of wood also the temperature setting you use. Set your unit at a higher number for harder wood and at a lower number for softer wood. Again, practice on scrap wood.
  • Use the proper wood for burning. Cedar and pine are unsatisfactory to burn because of their grain.
  • Style determines the setting. Some carvers draw their burning tips across the wood slowly while others burn quickly. If you're slow, set the unit lower; fast - set it higher.
  • Older tips will burn hotter than newer tips. Adjust dial on your unit accordingly.
  • The temperature setting on your unit is also slightly dependent on line voltage. Test it out on some scrap wood.

If you have a problem...

If your unit is in need of repair, don't do it yourself. That will void your warranty. Send it back to us and we'll fix it properly.(please include your phone #) Our reputation is at stake. By letting us repair your unit, we preserve our good name. There are, however, some instances where some simple tips may solve your problems.

Common Problems and Solutions...

Problem - No Power

Solution- Plug it in and turn it on. (Obvious, but it happens) Also, on Super Pro II Unit, make sure front panel switch is turned to the side you are using.

Problem - Tips aren't getting enough heat or too much heat.


  • Remember that longer tips require more heat than shorter ones. Adjust your dial accordingly.
  • Check the line voltage to your outlet.
  • Check the speed at which you burn. Faster carvers require more heat.
  • Carbon buildup - Clean tips with Colwood's Cleaning Cloth (sku# 0201)

Problem - Inconsistent heat.

Solution - Are you burning outdoors or near a fan? Move to a less windy environment.

Problem - Can't get my tip to insert into my handle (RT tips and RT handle)

Solution - Don't just push it in and don't use excessive force. Simply jiggle and push.

Problem - Burning lines aren't crisp

Solution - Burning too hot will cause your lines to be too wide. Reduce heat especially on softer woods.

Problem - I keep messing up my carving

Solution - Practice on scrap wood, not your final product

Problem - Inconsistent Burn

Solution - grainy wood can cause inconsistent burning. Be sure to prepare your wood properly by fine sanding it before burning.


Practicing on scrap wood will help you master many of these temperature, tip, unit and wood variables. 
And you'll become a better carver.