Generally speaking, the best wood to work with has an even tone and grain, but I’ve found you can get results from pretty much anything. You just have to adjust your technique to suit the medium. Surfaces I’ve burnt include Basswood, Maple Plywood, Balsa and Pine. I especially enjoy working with pine because it is a relatively soft wood, but the grain introduces varying levels of hardness that effect the evenness, depth and tone of the line creating an, at times, rough, rustic, organic presentation. For this lack of control and unpredictability pine is generally not considered the best surface, but I’ve produced computer art for more than a decade so precision and control has become taken for granted. Allowing the medium to affect the process is a welcome distraction.
All this said, after a few months of working with a basic solid point burner I realized there were certain instances where I wanted more control than the tool allowed. After a little research I added the Razertip ssD10 variable temperature burner to my arsenal and haven’t looked back. The kit offers almost unlimited versatility with a wide variety of pens and a temperature control that ranges from 170 to 1700 degrees within a matter of seconds. I regularly use around 10 different tips, but my workhorse is the # 2L Large Round. It’s a sturdy tip that allows me create everything from intricate, fine lines to rough, rugged textures.
Razertip also guarantees their product. I was pretty hard on my pens initially (I got into the habit of pressing into the wood pretty hard with my much bulkier solid point burner) and they replaced my damaged tips free of charge, without question.