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Has anyone tried to do woodburning on a large scale with a branding-iron stlye tool?

Looking to make about 100 coasters with same wood-burned image. Since I have foundry equipment, my thought was to cast the design in aluminum and attach to long rod, then heat and stamp each wooden coaster.

Before I embark on the time consuming task of designing, patterning, and casting this "branding iron", I am wondering if anyone else has done something similar and what issues I should beware of beforehand.

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  • I haven't done this myself but it is widely done. I'm not sure about the feasibility of using aluminium for the 'brand' though, the melting point may be a little low. BTW instead of casting quite a few people today use 3D printing to make this sort of thing which saves a few intermediary steps and usually means they work out cheaper.
    – Graphus
    Nov 4, 2016 at 0:36
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    If affordable, use a laser. You can easily just burn the image right into the wood. You can even go as far as light or dark burns to really make the image pop. And a laser can be used to cut out wood (usually 1/2 max.) witch is helpful for some. You can get SMALL ones on Ebay for $300. So there not cheap but very cool.
    – Ljk2000
    Nov 4, 2016 at 2:16
  • @Ljk2000: Second that. Lasers is what producers of cognac (at least one which I happen to know about) use to burn a logo into the thousands of little boxes.
    – Damon
    Nov 6, 2016 at 15:19
  • The idea is to do this without spending any money, it's for a school party that my daughter is helping to plan in the spring. It looks like the only real question is if there is enough thermal energy in an aluminum brand.
    – BrianB
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:55

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There are commercial versions of this branding iron available, either electrically heated or heat-with-torch. The easy-to-find versions are standard "from the workshop of" patterns, but custom is possible, as is homebrew.

I am not convinced that aluminum has the thermal mass needed to do a good job, but it could be an interesting experiment....

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  • Since I have the aluminum, the foundry, and everything else, the only thing I have to lose is free time by trying it. Other than questioning the thermal energy storage/transfer, no one has said it won't work. So maybe worth a try over the holiday break.
    – BrianB
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:57

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