There are a number of different ways to clean the tips of your wood-burning pen:
- If you use sandpaper to clean the carbon off of your pyrography tools on a regular basis, you can find that the abrasive nature of the sandpaper wears away the pen tip faster than expected. Only use this method when you cannot remove the carbon build-up using other more gentle methods listed below.
- If you prefer to crank up the temperature to burn off the carbon build-up, you’ll also be reducing the life expectancy of your tips. Furthermore, the higher heat going through a relatively fine piece of metal would more likely burn out the circuitry instead.
So what are you supposed to do?
- The easiest way to clean the tips is under warm running water using a simple scrub sponge. *Do NOT use sandpaper* as it will damage the tip easily – use it only in cases of extreme carbon build-up.
Wait until the tip is completely cooled down, then unscrew it and gently scrub with a scrub sponge under warm water to remove any carbon residue.
- Try using a jeweler’s rouge (like a lapidary polishing compound) as a better solution. You’ll find it is less abrasive but equally effective and does not file down your delicate tips.
The coarser green rouge is great for daily cleaning and the finer red for a finished polish. Polishing to a good shine will delay carbon build-up during use.
Acidic woods like oak will have a greater tendency to corrode the tips. Polishing helps to eliminate the pit marks and also helps reduce carbon adherence on the wood-burning pen tips.
Remember: carbon is not a good power conductor, so keeping your tips clean will give more consistent results. A clean tip allows the heat to travel more consistently to all parts of the tip.