If you wonder how these leather products have their imprinted art on their skin and what leatherworkers are using to make those, knowing what a simple soldering iron can do and how it is possible to be used in leather designing could help you. Nothing is impossible if you start exploring and knowing about it.
Can you use a soldering iron to burn leather? Yes! Soldering iron is a tool for pyrography, a decorative leather technique of burning designs onto the leather’s surface. It is also applied to burn the edges of fuzzy leather or suede to give it a clean edge.
Leather designing using soldering iron will somehow be new for some of us, but you will understand how this process is being done. In this article, you will have an idea of the right or better brands of soldering iron that is recommended for leather burning. I will also provide some tips and tricks on how to do leather burning. New skills will never remain as new if you start to appreciate, understand, and practice them. Beginning to learn Leather Pyrography in this pandemic time (Covid-19) would allow you to master these skills because of the time you have while we are just staying at home.
Using Soldering Iron for Your Leather Pyrography
Soldering iron has been used for leather pyrography for years. Using this for burning leather may not be as easy as burning wood, but both materials had the same essential tools and processes. In using soldering iron, you should have the proper tools and make sure that you prepare everything. Having said that, you will not be burning the leather too much, and you can keep yourself and your surroundings safe.
For your leather, it’s better to stick to the skin side, which is the smooth side. Veg-tanned leather is the best leather to use because it can tolerate soldering iron. Veg-tanned leathers are made with no chemicals. Its surface gives off the true natural rustic leathery appearance characteristic of pyrography.
Leather pyrography is a decorative leather technique that uses a leather burner to burn designs on the leather’s surface. Doing pyrography on leather is smooth and fast. Fast and smoothness level is hard to achieve in wood or any other material compared to leather.
Importance of Soldering Iron in Leather
Using soldering can create beautiful tones and effects on leather. This excellent tool makes different leather projects such as saddles, clothing, furniture, watch wrist straps, sports equipment, bags, purses, wallets, and accessories. It is also used to impress patterns onto leather without the use of foil. The creation of soldering irons opened doors for more new tools either.
Good Thing when using soldering iron
Soldering iron maintains a steady heat during the entire time, and it doesn’t require a high temperature to burn the leather. It’s slightly safer than a pyrography pen, primarily when used indoors. It helps cover a large area of the leather with a singular line, color, or design as the rounded and blunt tip will evenly spread the “burn” over the leather. It does not require much heat.
Pyrography Pen Vs. Soldering Iron
Soldering irons were never really created for pyrography. It is primarily used to melt the solder and connect several things. Its copper or iron tips aren’t as pointed as ideal pens do. They do not have the best temperature or nib for pyrography, and unfortunately, soldering cannot draw quality outlines or write clear words.
The modern-day pyrography tools that both new and pro pyrographers use daily are the pyrography pens. Pyrography pens are the best for detailed work. The majority of them are made of nichrome wire tips. Nichrome is best used because it is sturdy and it does not deteriorate from heat. This type of machine features adjustable temperatures, enabling it to switch between burning tips as you work on your project. Pyrography pen can add lines and detailed shadings with ease. Unlike soldering irons, the wire-nib burner takes very few minutes to heat.
The Pyrography pen is the modern-day pyrography tool that makes the art more enjoyable than a soldering iron.
The Disadvantage of Soldering Iron to Leather
Soldering iron has its original and different functions than in pyrography. It lacks features needed in pyrography. Leather pyrography does not allow any mistakes, and it’s hard to rely on using soldering iron either.
Soldering Iron Has Different Major Function
Its original function is not related to leather or in leather pyrography. It is initially used for soldering metal gutters, wire circuit boards, roofing, stained glass, and mosaic. So it’s used by electricians for soldering, not in leather crafting. People just got curious to use it differently, so they tried it on leather. The fact is its natural function is far from leather pyrography, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Its Features Are Not Ideal For Leather
Solder melts at a lower temperature making them less ideal for pyrography. The temperature of soldering iron is not adjustable, making that hard to manage. The tips of soldering iron are not suitable for making detailed designs. Its information is also not made of nichrome. Nichrome makes it more durable and accumulates less debris. In pyrography, the iron and copper of the soldering iron will oxidize, which will be running dry, and this will make your tip useless quicker than usual.
Hassle while using for Leather Burning
Soldering iron doesn’t have a button wherein you can control the temperature they are producing, so you cannot control the temperature you need for your design, especially when you are already in the shading or tracing part. It also needs a cool down before you hold the soldering iron and apply it to the leather. A temperature or heat check is always needed to make sure it will not mess up your work. It’s hard to make a detailed design using soldering iron since an additional hassle for the leatherworker.
If you choose to use a soldering iron for pyrography, you will spend more time on the project than necessary. Another drawback of soldering pens is that they cannot draw quality outlines or write clear words. They do not have the best temperature or nib for pyrography. Using soldering iron takes time, patience, and a lot of practice.
Soldering Iron Brands Great for Burning Leather
In choosing soldering iron, it is vital to consider their brand names. You also have to cite its overall ratings and review the feedback. Having a canvas and test for the possible and fair price range will also help you in choosing.
Hakko FX888D-23BY Soldering Iron
The power consumption of this is about 70W / 120VAC. Only 100 (W) x 120 (D) mm is the space consumed when using this. Its price range is about $110.47. The content of its temperature control is 120° to 899°F (50° – 480°C). It is the updated prototype of FX-888. In using this, it is essential to ensure the heat temperature. It is said that ceramic is its heating element.
60W Digital Pyrography Machine
Its power responds for about 60W. It can burn the tools for only a couple of minutes. This type has high quality because metal tips have various thicknesses and shading. The price is ranging from $109.99 to $199.99. It can be used for burning leather, wood, gourds, and paper that makes detailed art.
Leather Pure Brass Solder
The voltage of this solder can reach up to 220V. It is a hand tool type and suitable for aesthetics. It is ideal for leather workers and craft lovers because it is ideal for arc-shaped edges and high-quality brass material. The price range is about $29.99. It burns the edge to decorate leather.
15W Wireless Electric Soldering iron
The higher wattage range of this is about 40W to 60W. 450-degree celsius is the melting point of this iron. Copper can even be made into it. The price range is $20.09 to $34.63. This soldering iron is well known for being cordless soldering iron. Lead-free rosin coin is a commonly used type, and it is more significant than a metal of 25W is sufficient.
Pieces of Advice for Soldering Iron to Burn Leather
In burning leather, you can decorate and personalize everything. The beauty you can make will depend on your hand. After understanding and seeing the results, you will be surprised by the variety of possible designs you can make. Just continue with your work, and you might discover other addictive techniques that you can only find when you consistently do the burning.
In the selection, second-hand items are possible like used soldering iron, old shoes, wallet, or just a leather piece. The unfinished surface is better. Just keep in mind that never leave the work unattended while you are burning. You also have to remember that a well-ventilated area is essential. Cooling your fingers with water will help you.
In designs, draw whatever design it is that you want. It’s just that you may want to consider what works best; organic forms did better as far as I’ve seen others do it. Tracing paper is needed in the drawing. Find the best placement of your design for the leather, make sure that it will complement the leather.
You can sketch the design of the item directly. You can scratch or draw your design with a pin. You can also use chalk wheels used for marking. These will serve as indications to keep you on track.
Practice A Lot
In practice, you can use scrap pieces of leather, old bags, shoes, or any other leather-made product where you can put your design. Experiment with what color or types of leather might be practical for your plans. Do it on your selected item through minor marks.
Burning the leather without hurrying can help you a lot. You can start with primary lines and elements if you are just a beginner. Little by little, you add weight to lines and add details for your designs and, while burning, keep your hand relaxed.
Protect When Done
As a beginner, admiring your work when you’re done will be a big help. You have the choice to keep it as is, or you might have some shiner to your work. Leather moisturizers would do, and most importantly, keep it away from water because water can damage your leather.
Using a soldering iron for burning your leather has its disadvantages but then again, choosing to do so is a matter of personal choice. Either you use a soldering iron or another burner tool, the result of your leather burning will still be depending on you. Using soldering iron is impossible, but if you are to choose and long for improvements, you can still have other choices like a pyrography pen. No matter what the result will be, it does not just depend on your tool but on your eagerness and initiative to make your product well.