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  • Jim Bianco

What Is Fractal Wood Burning?


⚠️⚠️PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! FRACTAL WOOD BURNING IS VERY DANGEROUS AND CAN LEAD TO INJURY OR DEATH!⚠️⚠️


Fractal wood burning is a process of applying an electrically conductive solution on wood and then applying high voltage electricity through a transformer using two probes. When this electricity is applied, it burns in the wood from one probe to the other. The figures that are created are commonly called Lichtenberg figures or fractal burns. These burns create a lightning-like image that is burnt into the wood.


High voltage electricity is provided by some type of transformer. These transformers are powered by 120 volts and can create between 2000 and 15000 volts once the electricity comes out of the transformer. The most common type of transformer used is a microwave oven transformer (referred to as an MOT), with others being neon sign transformers and oil burner transformers.


There are two distinct styles of using probes when using a Lichtenberg burner. Some people build “insulated” probes and hand-hold them. The reasoning for this is to give the artist more control. They are able to move the probes to a new area or the board at any time and better control the burn pattern. The other method is a hands-off method with probes that are designed to sit on the table of the board and make contact without ever touching them while the device is powered up.


See more pieces of this work in the Gallery Section.


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