Razertip Pyrography Systems, Pens and Tips  FAQ's

Have Questions? I've got the answers!

Because these FAQ's keep growing I have opted to create a page just for the purpose of answering your questions. Most of the questions that apply to Razertip will apply to most brands of detail burners that use wire tips...especially if they are polished tip.

I started these FAQ's back in 2002 when this website first went live. Contained here are over 16 years worth of questions that people have asked over the years. If a new question pops up I will post it & the answer here.

I have used & sold Razertip since 2002 & they have made many tip styles for me over the years including: the HD5MP & HD5MSP Bent spear shaders, F99 Ball Stylus, F14D Round-heeled knife, F9PL Gourd poker & others.

Happy Burning ©!

Nedra Denison signature.

This page was last updated 2/5/18

Frequently Asked Questions

This page is intended to help answer all the questions you might have about Razertip pyrography tools, pen uses, care & more.

Most of the questions & answers will apply to most brands of detail burner that uses wire tips, especially those that have polished tips.

If I haven't answered your questions, please contact me.

1) Q: I know you sell Razertip but honestly what is the best burner & pyrography tools to buy?

A: There is no short answer to this question but I have sold just about every brand of burner on the market (except for Detailmaster & Everglade) that is manufactured in North America & I have used every one of them.

My opinion is a personal one based on the following: my personal experience using the burners, dealing with the companies & most important dealing with customers having problems with the products or dealing with the companies. So, I have experience both as a user & as a dealer.

For many years I tried to offer my customers options based on price & model options but it's hard to do that when you have customers calling with numerous complaints about their tools not working & poor customer service. So while I would like to offer cheaper options than Razertip I have to think of what I would want as a consumer & having been on the other side of the coin when I bought my first burner I sure wish I had a dealer like to buy from instead of one that was just trying to sell burners. I also have to think about my customers & my own reputation as a business owner.

My feeling is I would rather lose a sale than a customer because they are unhappy with the tools they bought.

My long time customers will tell you that I'm known for my honesty & integrity. Unlike many dealers that are more interested in making money so they carry several brands, I want to focus on selling the best products so I can feel confident that my customers are happy with their purchase. I might not get rich, but then I didn't start this business to get rich.

So with that being said I made a decision several years ago to go back to selling Razertip Pyrography tools exclusively. I have personally used & sold Razertip since 2002 & the number of complaints over that period of time about tools not working properly (that were NOT user error) can be counted on both hands. I could not say that about most of the other brands I was selling. I don't want to sell products just to make a buck, so if people can't afford Razertip I usually suggest they contact other dealers. Yes, I might lose some sales but I'd rather have happy customers than a few more dollars in the bank.

I know my customers who have bought Razertip have no regrets & have been happy with their tools, so I feel good about that. I might not hear from them for years but when they need another pen they do find their way back to my website so that makes me feel good.

While I'm not selling a big variety of pyrography systems I know that what I'm selling is a quality product that comes with the best warranty & the best customer service from a company that really stands behind it's products. They don't give you great service because they have to (perhaps because they have poor quality control or have lots of problems with their products) but because it's just who they are. So, yes I am biased. Personally I expect good quality & good customer service & I expect that my customers should get the same.

I know that you can buy from anyone so it's my goal to offer you good quality products at reasonable prices, information to help you make informed decisions, no BS or sales pitches & fast service. And the one thing that always bothered me about many dealers is like used car salesmen...they either don't know enough about what they sell or they try to upsell you. I will NEVER do that & in fact I've been told I'm crazy because I talk people out of buying things they really don't need. My goal is to treat you like I would have liked to be treated when I was clueless about buying pyrography tools & got talked into buying a burner (I never liked it but didn't know any better) a case & LOTS of tips (I later discovered that fixed-tip handpieces & polished tips were better) I would never use. You will never have that problem if you read the information below & then if you still have a question contact me!!!

2) Q: I am so confused about what to buy. Can you recommend what I need to get started?

A: I get asked this question a lot. The easiest way to start is to buy the burner of your choice & then order a starter kit or one of my "all inclusive starter kits" but here are some suggestions.

For General Pyrography:

Here are some recommendations for the quick order options:

  • Either the Razertip single or dual output (please read the FAQ further down to discuss the differences so you can make the right decision.
  • The best starter kit for general pyrography to buy is the Kit 2A which is listed on the same page as the Razertip burners. There are also some less expensive kits depending on your budget. This will give you everything you need to get started plus the burner.
  • If you want an all inclusive kit that contains everything you need, including the burner I have a single & dual output starter kit. They are called "Nedra's Pyrography Starter Kits". They are found on the page with the burners, kits & accessories. The Kit #s are RTSK-KIT02 (single output) or RTSSD-KIT02 (Dual output).

If you don't want to buy a starter kit here are the most important components to buy:

  • Cleaning tools to keep your tips clean. The best method is to use a single edges razor & a strop & aluminum oxide powder which can be found on the same page as the burners & starter kits.
  • I typically recommend 3 basic tip styles that I recommend.
  • A shader...the most versatile is the HD5MP Bent Spear Shader & it comes with my burner packages & my all inclusive pyrography starter kits. The other 2 tip styles I recommend is the #99.008 Ball Stylus (either standard or HD version) & the HD14SM Round-heeled knife.
  • If you aren't sure if you want fixed-tip handpieces vs interchangeable tips please keep reading these FAQ's. There is an answer to that question which includes differences & pros & cons.

For Gourd Work:

The quick way is to order the burner of your chose & then choose from one of the many starter kits.  There are a variety of starter kits that I put together just for gourd artists. They contain the most useful tip styles for gourd use. These kits offer several options from basic to the ultimate which contains everything the gourder ever could want.

  • Chose the burner of your choice or one of the Gourd starter kits which are listed on the same page as the general pyrography starter kits.
  • If you opt to buy a starter kit it really depends on your budget but Kit #3 (several options) has always been the best seller. It contains the cleaning tools & 3 additional fixed-tip handpieces in addition to the one that comes with the burner. I also offer an all inclusive starter kit for gourders. Look for SK-KIT03 or SSD-KIT-03.

If you don't want to order a starter kit here are some options:

  • If you don't want to invest in a starter kit you can order the components of your choice individually . Just look at the starter kits & figure out which ones you "can't live without" & order them separately.
  • Be sure you buy the tools to clean your tips...I recommend a single-edged razor & the strop & aluminum oxide.
  • The tip styles that are most useful for gourd work are the HD99.015 ball stylus & the HD14SM Round-heeled knife & HD30M Spoon Shader. If you look at the gourd starter kits it will give you some other ideas of popular tip styles.
  • If you aren't sure if you want fixed-tip handpieces vs interchangeable tips please keep reading these FAQ's. There is an answer to that question which includes differences & pros & cons.

3) Q: Can I use other brands of pens on Razertip burners & visa versa?

A: The quick & dirty answer to that question is yes. You can use them but here's some things to consider & suggestions.

  • Razertip is a 2 volt system so it's best to use compatible pens designed to work with 2 volt systems. Razertip uses a lighter gauge of wire to achieve finer detail so the tips perform better on the 2v system they were designed for. Burners that are 3 volt use heavier gauge tip wires & do not perform as well on 2v systems & you don't get the fine detail that you get with the lighter gauge tip wire. You lose some of the fine detail but they perform better on the 3 volt systems.
  • If you have pens designed to work on a 3 volt system I suggest you read the information on the page "How Pyrography Systems Work". It discusses how tip wires will impact on performance).
  • If you are using Razertip pens on burners that are 3 volt systems you need to take extra precautions while you are using them. You should also read the information on "How Pyrography Systems Work" before starting to use the Razertip pens.
  • Here's what happens when you use an adapter: Yes, it's cheap but by using an adaptor you can end up with a connection at the tip (if you are using interchangeable tips), a connection between the handpiece & the adaptor, another connection between the handpiece & the cord & the connection from the cord to the burner. Adding extra connections will cut down on the heat flow, make the pen & the adapter hotter while you are working which will make it uncomfortable to hold the handpiece for long periods of time. Even if you are using fixed tip handpieces you have a connection between the handpiece & the adapter, between the adapter & the cord & the cord to the burner.
  • Using an adapter cord: You keep the connection down to a minimum as it was intended. The heat will flow as it should & give you the best overall performance. It will also keep the handpiece cooler than using an adapter. You can find a variety of cord options on the Razertip burners, kits & accessories page. The cords are at the bottom of the page & each one will tell you what pens/burners they are compatible with.

4) Q: What is the warranty on Razertip Pyrography Tools & Razaire Dust Collection System?

A. Most manufacturers offer a warranty for manufacturing defects & in many cases the manufacturer will find that the problem is not due to a manufacturing defect but user error or misuse & just try to prove that the product is defective (unless you discover the problem immediately).

Razertip is the only manufacturer who gives you an "unconditional" warranty on their products.

To quote them:

"When we say unconditional, we mean it! Here's the deal - if any Razertip or Razaire products fails within the warranty period for any reason whatsoever - simply return the item(s) to us and we will make it right."

"This includes your satisfaction with our products. For example, if you buy a pen and later decide that the tip does not meet your needs, send it back and we will re-tip it with the tip of your choice at no charge."

"If you need service after the warranty has expired be sure to contact us directly for help. Razertip products are designed to last many years and we can re-tip or otherwise repair most products in a very cost-effective manner. Please, don't throw it out without checking with us first."

Here is what is covered:

Description Term
Power Supplies (SK, SS-D10) Three (3) years
Standard & Heavy-duty Pens (includes fixed-tip) One (1) year
Interchangeable Tips Ninety (90) days
Cords & other Accessories One (1) year
Razaire 530 Dust Collection System Five (5) years on the impeller (fan)
Ten (10) years on all other parts of the power unit

This warranty provides for repair or replacement, at the manufacturers option, of any defective components. This warranty is limited to the actual cost of repairs & will not cover shipping costs or any consequential damages resulting from failure of the unit or its components to perform as stated. All warranty work must be done by the manufacturer. The manufacturer will not cover the costs of repairs done elsewhere.

Warranty will be voided if unit has been tampered with, altered or repaired by unauthorized persons or companies. In the event that your burner or handpiece should need service, our average repair turn around time is only one day in shop. To receive in or out-of-warranty servicing, return the complete unit including any cord(s), pen(s) &/or tip(s) directly (prepaid) to Razertip Industries at the address below.

Razertip Industries Inc.
PO Box 910, 301-9th Street North
Martensville, SK S0K 2T0 Canada

Toll-free 1-877-729-3787
Phone (306)931-0889 Fax (306)242-6119
Web: www.razertip.com Email info@razertip.com


5) Q: What do I do if I have a broken, damaged or defective burner, cords or fixed-tip Pens?

A: If you have any problem with your pen or burner please contact us first so I can walk you through some steps to try first. If I cannot resolve your problem, I will have you contact Razertip before shipping it back to them. Their contact information is above.

6) Q: How Do I Ship a Broken Razertip Pen to Razertip?

A: If a fixed tip ever breaks. Razertip tips are the most durable hot-wire tips for pyrography you can buy. In spite of that, it is possible for them to break or wear out. They do replace broken or worn out tips. Simply slide off the foam grip & mail the pen to Razertip in a small padded envelope or between 2 pieces of thin cardboard. If the pen is less than a year old, tell Razertip so & they will replace the tip at no charge. If it is over a year old, the tip replacement charge for most Razertip pens is only $6.00, for Feather Former and for scale tips it is the cost of a new tip. This includes any taxes & return postage! Please include payment - check, money order, or credit card information with the pen. Tip replacement requires only one day in our shop (in one day, out the next).

When returning pens for re-tipping: Please return only the pen. Don't send any grips, storage tubes, or anything else. If it can be removed from the pen, remove it before mailing.

To avoid delays going through us please send all broken burners, pens, cords, etc. directly to Razertip at the above address. DO NOT send them to us!  

7) Q: Can I get other brands of burning pens re-tipped?

A: Many companies' will tell you they can't re-tip broken tips so you have to buy a new one. Well that's not true, they can but some would rather you buy a new pen.

Razertip can & will re-tip any brand of pen or tip. With laser-welding Razertip has the ability to re-tip any brand or make of hot-wire pyrography tool made. They offer this service on all brands of pens including Detail Master, Colwood, Nibs, Optima, and any others. The prices quoted here are subject to change so please contact Razertip for a quote on the price for re-tipping.

Detail Master:
The cost for re-tipping of Detail Master regular pens is a flat fee of $10.00 - including applicable tax(es) and return shipping by standard mail. The cost for re-tipping of Detail Master heavy duty, or special pens is a flat fee of $20.00 - including applicable tax(es) and return shipping by standard mail.

Colwood, Nibs, Optima and many others:
The cost for re-tipping of Colwood, Nibs and Optima pens is a flat fee of $8.00 - including applicable tax(es) and return shipping by standard mail.

Razertip stands behind the new tip with a full, unconditional 6 month warranty covering everything including your satisfaction. The best part is that you will get two day in-shop turnaround and a warranty that's better than the new pen had.

Please follow the instructions above about how to ship pens for re-tipping

For more information retipping other brands of pens go to Razertip's website: Tip Replacement

8: Q. What is the main difference between the SK Single Output burner & the SSD-10 Dual Output burner?


A: This is an excellent question. The power unit is basically the same except for two major differences & one that is something a lot of people don't even think about.

  1. The obvious difference is that the single only has one pen output & the dual has two pen outputs. What this means is that with the dual output burner you can plug in two pens (one on either side) at one time. Then you only have to flip a switch to change from one pen to the other. Note, you cannot heat both pens at the same time. At this moment there isn't a burner on the market that allows you to heat both pens at the same time.
  2. The SSD-10 also comes with what Razertip refers to as a "low end adjustment" inside the burner so you can insert a small screwdriver & adjust the temperature up or down. This is good if you are either working on a low setting & it's too hot or using a higher setting & it's not hot enough. I call it a "fine heat adjustment". You can use it to vary the heat range on the main temperature control if it's burning too hot on the low end or too cold on the higher end. Typically you won't need to mess with it but it's a nice feature. I typically don't use it except if I am working on a portrait of a baby which requires very light tonal values & I like to do it in layers to ensure they don't get too dark.
  3. The third & not so obvious benefit with the dual output burners are something I think is a very important benefit. You can create a heavy-duty (HD) side & a standard (F) side. I know you are asking why this is important & how it works. It's simple to do just & makes things easier especially for newcomers. I actually have both the SKHD5MP & SSD10HD5MP burner packages come packed this way from the factory. Ok so now to answer why this is helpful...let's say you are using a heavy-duty pen (You typically use higher heat with HD pens) on a heavy-duty cord & then you switch to a standard pen. If you don't reduce the heat setting before you switch pens the tip of the standard pen will become poker hot when you turn the burner back on (or flip the switch) & standard pens are not intended to be at higher temperatures. So, by using one side as the heavy-duty side & the other as the standard side it takes the guesswork out of remembering if you lowered the heat before changing from an HD pen to a Std. pen. If you never intend to use standard pens this benefit obviously isn't important to you but many people do tend to switch between HD & Standard tip depending on the tip styles & the need for very fine detail work which the standard pens excel at. Examples would be the extra small tips (ie: 5xs, 1xs, 9xs, etc)

9) Q: Can I burn with 2 pens at one time with the SSD10 Dual Output Burner?

A: Unfortunately there isn't a burner on the market that will allow you to burn with 2 pens at the same time. All dual output burners just offer the option of flipping a switch from one pen to the other, not have 2 pens burning at the same time.

10) Q: My tips are not getting hot but the light on the burner is on or flickering what can the problem be?

A: Most often the problem is the cord. Here are some trouble-shooting things to try:

  • The first thing you want to do is ensure that the cord is connected tightly at both ends & is gently pushed in all the way. This is one of the most common things I hear & the easiest problem to solve in most cases. If it is & the pen is still not getting hot it could be the cord.
  • If you have a 2nd cord try that one & see if it works. If it doesn't try plugging the pen directly into the burner & see if it heats up. If the pen gets hot then you know you have a problem with the cord. If the burner is relatively new it should be covered under the manufacturer's warranty & you should contact them for a replacement. If it is an older cord you can purchase a new one from my website on the Razertip pyrography system page.
  • The next thing to try is to flip the cord so that the end you had plugged into the burner is now plugged into the pen. See if the connection is tighter & solves the problem.
  • If these do not solve the problem contact Razertip to discuss it with them. If the pen or cord is defective it will be replaced at no charge if it is under warranty.

11) Q: If most of the wood burning pens used for detail burners are made from a nichrome alloy why & how is there a difference?

A:  There are a lot of different 'Nichrome' alloys made, & different annealing/hardness options for each one, so each company may use a slightly different material. The difference is also in how they make their tips. Some have more nickel (they will not polish as well) & some have more Chrome (these are the ones that come highly polished). Every company uses a different process for finishing their tips so the finish will vary from company to company. Some companies only offer polished tips & some offer unpolished & polished. The polishing process also varies with each company. The more highly polished involves a lot more work & some companies just do the minimum & call it polished. 

I started out using a Colwood woodburner with the original unpolished tips many years ago & found that they grabbed the wood & required more frequent cleaning. I also struggled with trying to improve my burning techniques but became very frustrated at being "stuck" in a rut & not being able to get past it. It was not until someone recommended Razertip & Optima pens that I saw the wonders of how wonderful polished tips were, especially when they were polished well, & how much I could improve my techniques just by changing from an unpolished tip to a polished tip. 

Polished tips burn smoother without grabbing the wood, remain clean longer & are easier to clean.  This is not just my hype to sell the pens I sell, it's a proven fact. Just ask anyone who has tried two similar style pens, one unpolished & one polished & they will probably tell you the same thing.  I also want to add that of the current brands on the market, Optima & Razertip still have the best polished tips available.

The other issues regarding tip wire is the composition or basically the percentage of nickel vs. chrome. Each tip manufacturer uses a slightly different nichrome wire so one may produce a better polish than others.

The other differences in nichrome wire is the gauge of the wire. Heavier duty wires work best on 3 volt systems but you loose some of the fine detail you can get with standard gauge wire like the wire used in Razertip burners. It's one of the reasons I like Razertip so much because I'm a detail freak. Read the information in the next question for a better explanation about wire gauge & how it relates to the voltage in a burner. The bottom line is that whether it's a 3 volt or 2 volt the performance will be the same except for the differences in the gauge of the tip wire.

12) Q: I keep hearing that some burners have more wattage so they will have more power. Does it make a difference?

That is a great question & here's my experience:

I have used just about every brand (except Everglades) of burner manufactured in North America. What I have found is that the tips made with 18 & 20 gauge wire (such as Razertip & Optima) heat as well as the brands that are 3 volt systems that use heavier gauge wire. If you attempted to use a 16 gauge wire on a Razertip or Optima you would definitely notice it taking longer to heat & it would not get as hot.

 The 18 & 20 gauge wire produces quick heat recovery & more than sufficient heat for most burning needs when used on a 2 volt system. The heavier gauge wires will not give you the fine (Razer-tip) tips or detail that you can achieve with the 18 & 20 gauge wire.

So that you understand this a little better I will explain using Razertip as an example. Their HD tips are 18 gauge wire & their Standard tips are made with 20 gauge wire. The 20 gauge wire can produce the smallest, finest tips available (such as the 5S & 5XS spears) which is needed for the very small detail work. What I discovered is when I had Nibsburner attempt to make some of these same tips was that they did not come out as well because Nibsburner's lightweight tip wire is 20 gauge (Razertip's HD wire) & when trying to reproduce these tips they came out thicker thus loosing the ability to do the very fine detail work that can be accomplished with Razertip's version of the same tip.

If you attempted to use a 16 gauge wire (as an example of Nibsburner's HD tips) on a Razertip or Optima burner you would find that the tip does not heat up as much as it would on a 3 volt system.
So the bottom line really is that if you use tip wire that is compatible with the system they will all perform equally as well. It's when you try to mix & match burners & tips that you will run into the performance problems. This is one of the reasons I always recommend using the same brand of pen as the brand of burner you own.

You might also want to read the information regarding the Wattage Controversy issue as told by Colwood Electronics & Cam Merkle of Razertip Industries. They provided me with this information which I think might help explain how pyrography tools work & why the wattage claims are pretty unimportant when making a decision regarding which tools to buy.

NOTE: All the wattages listed in my Pyrography Tools Review Chart are based on the manufacturer's claims. If you have not already read the information provided on my website regarding the Wattage Controversy I highly recommend that you read it. The information was provided to me by Colwood Electronics & Cam Merkle of Razertip Industries. Colwood explains how Pyrography tools work & Cam has provided some very good information regarding wattage, voltage & the tip wire & how that impacts on quick heat recovery & ability to heat the tips hotter.

13) Q: There are so many pens to choose from how do I know what to buy to get started for general pyrography?

A: Over the years I have always recommended for general pyrography, people start with just 3
pens: a shader, writer & a round-heeled knife. With these three tip styles you can do
just about anything. 

They 3 most versatile tip styles for general pyrography are my all time favorites the HD5MP bent spear shader, #99.008, the ball stylus, #HD14SM round heeled knife. I have since had others made for me as well. My suggestion is to try the tip style that comes with the burner package & use it until you find it's limitations for your work but in most cases you will find that you use only 3 tip styles for most general pyrography. I use the HD5MP for 95% of my work...including very fine detail.

My bottom line with all my pens is versatility. Instead of having a pen that is good for one or two things I'd rather have one that can do many things. This is what I also try to convey to my customers, buy pens that you can use for many things rather than a lot of pens that are not very versatile. Just because a tip style is called a shader does not mean that is all it can do. What tips can do are only limited by your imagination so experiment!

While every artist has their favorites here are the pen styles I usually recommend for general pyrography with my 3 favorites (because of their versatility) in italics:

Shaders: HD5MP or HD5MSP Bent Spear Shaders. These are the most versatile shaders I have found. Because of their shape they can get into the tightest spots. I use the HD5MP for 95% of what I do, including fine detail work, fur, feathers, hair, undercutting, etc. I'm for versatility rather than buying a "single-use" tip style.

Writers: F9, F9S, F99.008, F99.015 Ball Stylus. These were designed based on my specifications & I have found to be the most versatile & the best overall performance. The ball stylus will glide more smoothly over the wood than the #9 writing tips but both styles are very useful. It is like skating on ice!

Round-heeled knives: F14M, HD14SM Round heeled-knife. Again, I like these for their versatility. Unlike flat skews, the round-heel makes them more maneuverable for doing curved lines but they also do a great job on straight lines. My favorite & the most versatile is the HD14SM.

My feeling is that more is not necessarily better. If you can do everything you need to with three pens, why buy more? I'm not in this business to sell you things you don't need, it's my goal to help you make sound decisions based on your personal needs & budget. If you have any questions that I have not answered here please feel free to contact me.

14) Q: Are your 3 favorite pens available in a set?

A: Yes, I have been asked so many times if they were available as a set so they are now available in a set. They are available in a standard version (the Ball stylus is standard & the other 2 are HD versions) & an HD version (they are all HD versions). You can find them on the page Regular Use Pens.

15) Q: Do you have a set of pens available for gourd artists?

A: Yes, I now have a set of the 5 most versatile & popular pens for work on gourds. I have found that HD versions perform better on gourds so this set is only available in an HD version. You can find them on the General purpose pen page.

16) Q: I am going to be doing pyrography on gourds, what do you recommend?

A: Well, a lot depends on how far you want to go with your burning. Here are the ones I typically recommend for general gourd burning & then I will add the other options if you intend to do some carving or cutting. My answer here is also very similar to the one for general pyrography....don't buy a pen for a singular purpose, try to find one that can do many things & experiment with it.

  • Shaders: HD5MP or HD30M Spoon shader. Over the years I have found that the bent spear shader is still my favorite because it's so versatile but many people prefer using the spoon shader on gourds. The spoon shader is what is included in my gourd starter kits.

  • Writing or flowing lines, etc.: F99.015 or HD99.015 Ball Stylus. For years I used & recommended the F99.015 but recently Razertip started offering some of the ball stylus tips in an HD version. I am thrilled because working on hard gourd shells it can make a big difference. It is also great for those with larger hands, arthritis & those who are heavy handed.

  • Lines, cutting, etc.: HD14SM, F14D or F14M Round-heeled knife. This is & always will be what I recommend. It doesn't matter if you are doing curved or straight lines this will do both. Unlike flat skews this tip is much more versatile.

  • Cutting: HD5L. Large Spear/Gourd Saw is a fabulous tip that can be used for sawing through gourds. It works best on straight cuts but does a good job on curved cuts just like a power mini saw.

  • Detail work: HD5S or F5S Spear. These are wonderful for getting into tight spots. For very fine detail work I suggest the standard version.

17) Q: Do you actually use Razertip wood burning tools?

A:  Yes, I have been using the Razertip dual output burner since 2002...about as long as I have been selling them & I have used & tested every pen I sell & a bunch that I don't stockl. Several of the tip styles Razertip now makes were developed for & by me based on my specifications & needs. Such pens as: HD5MP & HD5MSP, #9P, #99 ball stylus tips, #14D & the #9PL gourd poker which I use to "drill" holes in the gourds especially when I'm making my masks. 

18) Q: The tips seem to be loosing heat while I'm burning. What am I doing wrong?

A: The answer is "you are not doing anything wrong". It is normal for the tips to loose heat as you are working unless you allow the tip to reheat as you see the "color" of the burning lighten. You just need to lift the tip briefly from the wood allowing the tip to reheat then start again. If you are trying to burn a line, just make sure you put the pen down just behind where you left off so you don't end up with a small gap from where you stopped & where you start. These variable temperature burners only take a couple of seconds to reheat.

19) Q: It seem like the tips lose heat when I burn across the grain vs. going with the grain. What am I doing wrong?

A: Good question. You aren't doing anything wrong. This is normal. You need to adjust your strokes when you burn across the grain. In my classes I used to tell students to go slower across the grain & faster when going with the grain. You don't need to adjust the temperature, just adjust the speed as you go across the wood.

20) Q: Sometimes my burner performs great at a certain heat setting & sometimes it doesn't. Am I doing something wrong?

A: No, you are not doing anything wrong & it's not a problem with the burner. Voltage coming from the wall changes during the course of the day such as during peak usage periods & this will impact on the heat output from the burner. Certain regions have lower voltage & certain times of the day you will notice that change in the burner performance. When I lived in WA state if I was burning around dinnertime I often noticed lights flicker & I usually had to turn up the temperature setting on my burner. It is usually more noticeable in the lower settings. This is a common problem in highly populated areas or out in the country.


21) Q: It takes so long to burn can I just crank up the temperature to get it done faster?

A: Pyrography is not an art form that can be done quickly & as I told my students for years that it's not a race & the one who finishes first is the winner. Like all art you really need to take your time & you will find that the quality of your work will improve accordingly. I always say, it's a journey & you have to learn to stop & smell the "wood burning" along the way & not try to rush through it to get it done faster. This really is a journey & if you can learn to relax & enjoy the journey you will be surprised at the results. So, turn the temperature down, learn to layer & most of all learn to relax & enjoy the journey. If you just can't slow down & relax perhaps you might want to take up drawing.

22) Q: There are some pens I want that you don't carry can you get them for me?

A:  Absolutely!  I will have them drop shipped directly from Razertip & at my discounted prices. Just contact me with your order.

23) Q: How do I know when it's time to clean my tips?

 While it is not set in stone, a good rule of thumb is when your shading/burning starts to look muddy or you start dragging black carbon, it's time to clean!

Some things to consider:

  • If you burn on materials such as leather & gourds you will also have to clean more frequently. Let your burning be your guide.
  • Unpolished pens do seem to accumulate carbon faster than polished tips even at moderate temperatures. Tips made with a polished nichrome alloy burn cleaner & do not build up carbon as fast when burned at moderate temperatures. 
  • If you burn at higher temperatures the tips will build up carbon faster so you will need to clean more frequently. I usually recommend burning at the lowest temperature to do the job & layer until you get the darkness you want. This also gives you better control of the tonal values you are trying to achieve.
  • Burning on woods with sap or pitch (you really shouldn't be burning on woods like this) will also require more frequent cleaning.
  • Remember that keeping the tips clean is essential to clean burning & maintaining the life of the tip. So be sure to clean your tips regularly.

24) Q: How do I clean my pen tips?

A: Great question!  I will address the proper procedure for cleaning pyrography tips that are polished.  For pen tips that are not polished please be sure to check with the manufacturer for their recommended methods of cleaning the tips.

There are a variety of methods for cleaning your tips but I will list the ones I personally use & recommend.

Typically I recommend you first clean the tips with a single edge razor or the Razertip tip cleaner/scraper if your tips are caked with carbon or gourd gunk & then use a strop & aluminum oxide to polish the tips.

REMEMBER: Keeping your tips clean & well maintained will preserve the life of the tips!

How to use the Razertip Tip Cleaner/ Scraper or a Single edged razor

If your tips are heavily caked with carbon I recommend you start with a single-edged razor or theCleaning carvon off the tip with a single-edged razor. Razertip tip cleaner/scraper. You can do this while the pen is hot or after it has cooled. Then follow up with the strop & aluminum oxide powder.

To use the tip cleaner/scraper follow these steps:

  1. Carbon has begun building up along the cutting edge of the tip of the Razertip pen. Notice the black area along the leading edge of the tip in the upper left middle of the photograph.Razertip tip cleaner/scraper.
  2. Pull the edge of the tip toward you and against the edge of the crossed knife blades, which are inserted into the block of the tip cleaner to clean the carbon off one side of the blade edge.
  3. Then pull the other edge of the tip toward you and against the outside edge of the crossed knife to clean the carbon off the other side of the blade edge.
  4. No sharpening is necessary if care is taken to remove the carbon before it builds up.

Using a Single edged razor:

Personally I use a single edged razor. It's inexpensive & easy to use.

Simply use the edge of the razor to GENTLY scrape the excess carbon off the tip. Do not worry about the black stain, that is normal & does not impact on the performance of the tip.

I tend to burn on clean woods that are free of oil & at moderate temperatures so regular cleaning with the strop & aluminum oxide is all I need to keep my tips clean & carbon free. When burning on gourds or leather I start with a single-edged razor & do that several times & then when I'm finished burning for the day I polish the tip with a strop & aluminum oxide. 

How to use the strop & aluminum oxide:
  1. You can use a leather or composite strop to clean & polish your tips. Most important is to make sure your tip is cool. This should be done when you have finished burning for the day & should be done on a regular basis to maintain the smooth finish on your nicely polished tips.Cleaning & polishing the tip with a strop and aluminum oxide.
  2. Add just a TINY pinch of aluminum oxide to one edge of the strop & run the tip across the powder just a few times.
  3.  On a clean area of the strop run the tip over the clean area to remove the remaining powder & gently polish the tip. You need to do this only a few strokes. Tap off any remaining powder.
  4. I then wipe it on my jeans (you may want to get a patch of denim or other type of cloth to keep in your work area) to clean off excess polishing compound. Remember you're really just polishing, so you don't need to try to remove the discoloration.

Polished tips stay cleaner than unpolished so if you are burning at a moderate temperature on wood that is free of sap you can probably burn longer between cleanings. If you are burning on gourds or leather you will need to clean more frequently because you will probably start getting sparks on your tip if your tip goes through the gourd shell. 

To reiterate, proper cleaning maintains the life of the tips, makes burning easier, will make your finished burning cleaner & keeps them in factory-new condition. If you clean the tips regularly you will not have much difficulty maintaining them.

25) Q:  How often should I sharpen my tips, & what should I use to do it with?

A:  Usually, only once or twice a year depending on usage. An overnight soak in oven cleaner can sometimes take off heavy carbon deposits, but be careful that you do not soak the brass or silver solder (read the directions for your oven cleaner to see what metals it will safely clean). To determine if your tip needs to be sharpened or "re-honed", examine your tips under a magnifying glass. If the edge of the tip looks rounded or there is not a well defined angle, you could probably re-sharpen the tip. BTW, over buffing (using a "leather power strop" wheel for example) will prematurely lead to the metal "rolling over" the edge, causing your tip to get kind of a rounded edge. To sharpen your pen, use a fine stone, (or if need be, 800 or higher grit wet & dry sand paper). Sharpen your pen tips at a 30 to 35 degree angle. Do NOT sharpen them at a sharper angle, as you will then carve too deep, & have problems in the painting stage of your carvings. After sharpening, polish with the aluminum oxide polishing compound on a strop.

26) Q:  Do I need to anneal my pens?

A:  Some brands might recommend it but you should NEVER turn your power supply on high to "anneal" pens with polished tips. This will just lead to premature oxidation, & may damage some of the smaller standard style tips. Razertip & Optima pens are ready to use right out of the plastic tube.

27) Q: My tip is a bit too sharp & needs to be bent a bit more. Can I do it myself?

A: Yes, you can.  If you want to "modify" a pen, such as the Bent Spear shader, you would need to buff the lower edge of each tip so that it is rounder using a felt buffing wheel & buffing compound. You can then re-bend the tip angle using a smooth-jaw pliers. It is best to bend it cold - just be gentle & don't bend too quickly. Despite what some people say, you should NOT bend the tips when they are "poker hot".

28) Q: How can I make the tips last longer?

A: To make your tips last longer: NEVER use sandpaper of any grit to remove carbon. I have been using my original Bent Spear Shader that Razertip made for me in 2002 as a prototype & even with constant use, when properly cared for! I had that pen up until the end of 2017 & the only reason I stopped using it is because I wanted to have one with the newer handpieces because it was a bit more comfortable for me to handle due to my multiple hand surgeries. The pen still looked & performed the same as it did when I first got it.

Some tips (pun intended) to preserve the life of the tips:

  • NEVER use sandpaper of any grit to remove carbon.
  • For best results, longest tip life, reduced carbon build-up, & maximum comfort, always use the lowest heat setting that will do the job. As an example I typically never go above a "5" on my dial for general burning & burn in layers rather than trying to darken it by scorching the surface at high temperatures.
  • Burning at lower temperatures will keep carbon build-up off of the tip in the first place, & keeps the tips from oxidizing.
  • Put your pens back into their pen tubes after each use, a pen tip hitting the floor is the most common type of tip damage.
  • Stick a small amount of foam or Styrofoam into the pen tube's cap if you are transporting your pen a lot.

29: Q: What is the difference between the Standard & Heavy-Duty pens, & which style should I get?

A: This is a great question & one I am asked frequently. Personally I prefer HD pens because they are more comfortable for me & I find I can do just about anything, including very fine detail with the HD pens. Since I use the bent spear shader for just about everything I find it does well even for fine detail work...the eagle at the top of the page is an example. 95% of it was done with the HD5MP & then I had Razertip make me a smaller, longer & narrower (HD5MSP) version for below the beak.

  • The "Standard" pens/tips, are your best choice for doing fine detailing at lower temperatures, & are NOT intended for high heat or high mechanical pressure situations. Many people have found them to be more comfortable to hold but they are both very comfortable to use. The Standard pen tips use the smallest diameter tip wire available, & are therefore capable of doing finer detailing than any other brand. The standard pens also recover their heat more quickly than HD pens.
  • The "Heavy-Duty" pens/tips have a larger diameter tip wire, carve a wider line than the standard pens, & can be used to heat carve, notch, & burnish for longer periods of time. They are your best choice for shading & applications where more "flat" pressure will be placed on the tip or where the tip will be used for cutting. They will also stand up better to hard use. So for this reason they tend to be more popular in schools, for people who are "heavy-handed" or have large hands. The tips are also more durable & able to take more mechanical pressure than the Standard tips.

NOTE: Any burnishing type tip that would be "sinking" a lot of heat to the wood benefits from the heavy-duty cord, even in the standard type of pens.

One important thing to remember is that when you switch from using a heavy-duty pen to a standard pen you will need to turn your heat setting down.

30) Q: Should I Get Fixed-Tip Pens or Interchangeable Tips?

Ok, I have this information buried below but it's such a commonly asked question & a very important one that I decided to put the information in a pdf file & post this first. As with all information on this website, it is all copyright protected & may not be copied, shared or distributed without my permission.

A: Click here to read: The $64,000 Question

31) Q. What is the difference between a fixed-tip pen (Handpiece) & interchangeable tip

A: The primary differences are:

  • A fixed-tip pen means that the tip is welded into the handpiece so you don't have an extra connection between the handpiece & the burner & you don't have to worry about it coming loose or having uneven heat distribution.
  • Interchangeable tips are not welded to the handpiece. It comes out (different brands have different methods of attaching them to the handpiece) from the handpiece so instead of changing the entire handpiece you just change the tip. More information on the pros & cons of each are below.

32) Q: Should I get interchangeable tips or fixed-tip handpiece

For a more comparison review along with key points along & a photo showing the differences please click on this link

A: This is one of the most commonly asked questions. I recommend & sell the Razertip fixed-tip pens (with few exceptions). For the most part my advice is to use fixed-tip pens for the tip styles you will use a lot. Fixed-tip pens allow you to work with your fingers closer to the work surface giving you better control. If you are going to use Razertip's interchangeable tips you must use them with Razertip's BPH pen. The BPH pens are generally the coolest-operating pens available. If you have sensitive fingers or work at high heat settings you may find the BPH pens to be your best choice.

If you plan on using this pen & will be changing tips it's a good idea to have at least 2 pens because changing tips on a hot pen is no fun. If you have 2 pens you won't need to change tips as often.

Here's some important things to consider when making a decision between interchangeable tips vs fixed-tip handpieces:


  • The only CON to the fixed-tip handpieces are that they are more expensive.
  • Fixed-tip pens operate cooler than the interchangeable-tip (BPH) pen. This is true for all brands, not just Razertip.
  • Fixed-tip handpieces perform better for people who are burning for longer periods of time than interchangeable tips.
  • Fixed-tip pens do not lose heat as fast as the BPH (or other brands) & heat recovery is faster with fixed-tip pens. The bottom line....great heat recovery, faster cooling & the handpiece will stay cooler in your hand than using the BPH handpiece.
  • Fixed-tip pens have tips welded into the handpiece so heat is conducted more efficiently & will give you more consistent burns than the interchangeable tip pen.
  • Because the fixed-tips are welded the benefits to you are that you will get more consistent burns because you get better heat flow; you can get more precise burns which also means smoother burns.
  • If you are heavy handed or tend to use pressure you will find using fixed-tip handpieces work better, especially the HD version. Interchangeable tips (& standard handpieces) cannot take the punishment that the HD fixed-tip handpieces can.
  • Fixed tip handpieces heat & cool quickly


  • Interchangeable tips lose heat more than fixed tips.
  • They are inconvenient & time consuming to change tips.
  • They heat & cool slower than fixed-tip handpieces.
  • Interchangeable-tips are designed primarily for intermittent or short-term use, such as enhancing a carving.
  • They require regular maintenance to work effectively. Every 6-8 hours of use (or more if the pen is malfunctioning) the wire tip should be removed, cleaned with steel wool or Scotchbrite pads, bent at the back of each tip post, & re-inserted so they fit as snug as possible. If your BPH pen is getting hot at the front, it's almost always from a loose or dirty tip connection.
  • Interchangeable tips are inconvenient to change...& you have to wait until it cools down to change the tips! Fixed-tip handpieces just pop on & off quickly & you don't have to wait for the tip to cool
  • A non-welded tip (interchangeable tip) can have bad intermittent conductive properties between the nichrome tip & the brass carrier. These conditions are high heat, electricity, & two dissimilar metal alloys (a very bad combination for preventing corrosion). Although some brands have friction fitted "brass to brass" connectors, they too will eventually suffer from corrosion, & eventually, have poor intermittent conductive properties.
  • Razertip interchangeable tips are changed by inserting the tip wires into screws & tightening them which can be a nuisance when you have momentum going on a wood burning project.
  • Some brands require that you use a tool to pull them off which can also be a nuisance.
  • The other consideration is that the Razertip interchangeable tip puts your hand farther away from the tip losing some control over the pen.
  • The last thing I remember from when I started burning is finding a place to put that hot tip (that particular brand I could remove it while it was hot) while it's still hot! With every brand of burner you usually have a pen holder so you have a safe place to put a hot pen until it cools. There is no such thing available for hot tips.
  • The only PRO for interchangeable tips is that they are cheaper & it allows you to try out different tip styles without spending a lot of money.

33) Q: I prefer Interchangeable tips, what can I do with them until they cool down?

A: If you have a craft style burner you need to leave it in the burner until it is cool otherwise you will risk stripping the threads of the tip. This is especially important because the newer brass tips made in China are thinner & not as sturdy as the ones made in the USA. Regardless of where they were made Brass is a soft metal & you risk damaging the threads if you attempt to remove the tip while it is still hot.

If you are using a variable temperature burner such as Razertip, Colwood, Nibsburner, etc. here are some suggestions where to put the tips until they are completely cool:

  • A Pyrex custard cup
  • The flat lid from a used canning jar
  • The metal lid from a glass jar such as baby food jar or apple sauce
  • A trivet
  • A baking sheet
  • Make sure where ever you put it that it is out of the way so nobody will get burned

34) Q. The tips on some of my pens keep breaking, what am I doing wrong?

A: This is one of the most common problems I hear about!  It is a very common problem with people who are heavy handed, new to burning or use too much pressure on the pens & for people who have been using a single temperature (craft) burner & upgrade to a detail burner.

Keep in mind that you do not need a death grip on the pen & you should not & do not need to use pressure. Lighten up on the grip & let the pen do the work. But even if you haven't done any of this & your tip breaks remember Razertip pens comes with a 1 year warranty & even after the warranty runs out you can still have your tip fixed or replaced for only $5.00. 

The other common problem is that many people just burn with the tip rather than the entire edge.  Be sure to use the entire edge & do not use a lot of pressure. Let the pen do the work.

If you are heavy handed I strongly recommend you practice burning using a "light touch". Think of the pen as a feather & let the pen do the work, not you! Your hand & your pen will thank you!

35) Q: Some of my pens get very hot & burn my fingers?

A:  Because our art form involves using heat to make images & detail, our challenge is always to get as much heat to the tip as possible (good heat) without that same heat building up in the pen & affecting the fingers (bad heat). Every user has different needs & will therefore have a different experience. Posting problems & possible solutions on forums such as the Facebook Pyrography 101 group are great ways to share information & I am always interested to see the many creative ways people go about overcoming challenges. Razertip has been making burners for over 30 years & are seriously committed to making the best tool possible. Many of the makers of other burners share a similar commitment. Cam & the other people at Razertip know a lot about pens & heat & the physical limitations they encounter in designing their products. As they say at Razertip, they always have more to learn, & that is one reason why they like to hear from customers directly. Hand piece heating is a much more complex issue than most people realize, & there are many factors that go into how hot your pen gets. 

These are a few suggestions I have to help ease the pain!

  1. Don't hold the pen too close to the tip. When holding the pens, move your hand back slightly away fromSlanted Pyrography Table. the tip. The closer your hand is to the tip, the hotter it will be.
  2. Work at an angle so the heat is deflected away from your hand. Try working on a drafting table or something like the pyrography tables Al made for me & we used to sell. This not only keeps the pen cooler but it is more comfortable & will also help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
  3. Use a handpiece that is vented such as the Razertip handpieces. These will stay cooler than a solid handpiece.
  4. I also recommend using a cooler temperature & layering until you get the depth of tone you want to achieve. This gives you more control & preserves the life of the pens by not using excessively hot temperatures & it keeps your fingers cooler.
  5. Operator technique. Razertip (& I agree) always recommend using the lowest heat setting that will get the job done - in other words, if you can turn the heat down & still do the job, SO DO IT. In addition, hold your pen at an angle so the heat from the tip can rise into the air, not into the pen body & your fingers. Moving your fingers back a bit from the tip can help sometimes, too. If you must use high heat settings for long periods, I recommend getting a second pen & switching back-&-forth when one gets uncomfortable. This will be easier on your fingers & on the pen & tip. In the long run it will be less costly as your pens & tips will last longer. Also if you ever damage a tip & need replacement you have a spare to use while the damaged one is being repaired.
Here are a few factors concerning the "hot fingers" issue from Cam Merkle, President of Razertip Industries:

1. Power & current. Hot-wire tools are designed to operate with a primary voltage of around 115-117 volts. If your wall voltage is higher (say 120-125 volts), you'll get more heat at the tip. More heat at the tip usually means a hotter pen body. All hot wire burners convert the wall voltage to a lower output voltage. Razertip power supplies drop the voltage to 2 volts or less. Razertip pens are designed to operate at 2 volts or less. Some burners (i.e.: Detail Master & Burn Master etc.) operates at around 3 volts. This gives them more power, but can be problematic for Pen & cord heat. Razertip & other pens designed to work on 2 volt systems pens tend to get quite a bit hotter on the fingers when used on a 3 volt power supply. They perform best on a Razertip power supply. It is generally true that most pens will perform best on their own power supply.

2. Operator sensitivity. Some people have very sensitive fingers. The original standard pens some people would complain after a short period of time that the pen was uncomfortable yet other people had no problems.  When Razertip was designing the new vented pens Cam knew he had a winner when his wife (who previously complained about it getting too hot after 12 minutes) was able to burn at higher temperatures than she normally would & was still able to use the pen comfortably after over 40 minutes. Yes, the vented pens can still get hot on the fingers, but they take much longer to heat & they cool very quickly. It is interesting to note that some users, like me, use Razertip pens for long periods without hot pen concerns while others experience discomfort. Another possibility is that I use a lighter touch with my pens & as I tell my students, "you don't need a death grip on the pens". Let the pen do the work, not your hands.

3. Pen/tip design & construction. Razertip has very deliberately chosen the design & material for their pens & tips to give us the best performance possible, taking into account the primary intended use for the tools. Their tools are primarily for finesse & delicate work. The solid-tip burners, such as the Wall Lenk & Walnut Hollow are intended for the heavy work & compliment a hot-wire tool or as refer to them as detail burners. Different tip types heat differently. Tip length is also a factor in pen heat. The longer the tip, the cooler the pen. Razertip makes their tips the length they are because that's what the customers have wanted. They like working close to the burning surface.  They can make tips longer & have done so on request. The thicker grip can help, too (see below for information on removing & replacing the grips). Testing has shown us that cork & closed-cell foam have similar insulative properties, with uncompressed foam performing better than cork.  However, some users grip their pen tighter than others, & in compressing the foam grip, reduce its insulating abilities. If you can loosen your grasp on the grip it may help. Also when grips get old or have been used a lot they flatten out & should be replaced. Most of my customers have indicated that they prefer the foam grips, but if cork works better for you then go for it. One word of caution, whether you use a glove, or cover the pen with something to insulate it: don't let the pen get too hot or you may damage it internally. Give it a regular chance to cool.

4. The pen cord can also make a big difference. Razertip makes a standard (super-flexible) 18 gauge cord for fine work, & a HD 16 gauge cord for heavier work. The HD cord is always your best choice for hotter burning & here's why - When burning, you have to consider two heat factors:  Ambient tip temperature is the temperature of the tip when it's not in contact with the work surface. Working temperature is the temperature of the tip when it is in contact with the work surface (i.e.: wood). When you use a heavier 16 gauge cord it is possible for more electrical current to flow to the tip, resulting in not only more tip heat, but in faster tip heat recovery. In order to burn at, say, 700 degrees operating temperature, you would require an ambient temperature of perhaps 900-1000o with an 18 gauge cord, but only around 750-800o with a 16 gauge cord. The 16 gauge cord will not only perform better, but will result in the pen staying cooler for a longer period. However, it's a bit heavier to hold, & there are times when a slow tip heat recovery is actually desirable (certain shading techniques for example) & an 18 gauge cord is preferred.

5. Ambient air temperature, humidity, & air movement can all affect pen heat. Working in a hot, stuffy room with high humidity, your pen will get hot faster than if you're working in a cool, dry room with a bit of air movement. You might also use a small fan to "pull" air away. Finally, there is always the possibility that there is something wrong with a pen or tip. Contact Razertip directly if in doubt.

36) Q: I use a Burnmaster (or Detailmaster) burner & my pens get too hot what can I do?

A: The Burnmaster (& Detailmaster) woodburner operates at 3 volts instead of the 2 volts that many other burners operate at. This means they have more power (not necessarily good or necessary) & because of that many brands of pens (such as Optima & Razertip, etc.) will get hotter when used with either of these burners. You can do a number of things to help keep the pens cooler.

You might also want to read the information on wattage, how pyrography tools work which talks about tip wire performance & 2v vs. 3 vs. systems. This can all be found on the page that discusses the Wattage Controversy & much more.

  1. Reduce the heat setting on the burner to avoid burning out the pens & your hands.
  2. Change the cord on the Burnmaster to a Razertip HD# 3 Cord so that you are not using the adaptor in between the cord & the pen.
  3. Use a large grip instead of the standard grip.
  4. Burn at an angle so that the heat is deflected away from your hand.

37) Q: How can I remove my old foam grip & replace it?

A: If you can't slide the old one off you may have to cut the old grip off your pen, The new one is installed by wetting the front of the pen with a bit of soapy water, stretching the hole in the new grip over a pair of needle-nose pliers that have been dipped in soapy water, & then carefully sliding the grip over the pen body. Watch out for the sharp tip! If you're unsure of this operation, Razertip would be glad to install the grip for you if you want to mail the pen back to them. Thick grips on standard pens are much easier to install because the pen body is much smaller.

38) Q: I wish the handpiece cords were more flexible. Why doesn't Razertip use coiled cords?

A: While coiled cords may seem like a good idea at first, they are not an option for a hotwire tool. They simply will not work. Coiled cords develop a magnetic field inside the coil. Because hot wire tools use such low voltage, the coil would "suck up" all the power, leaving little to nothing for the pen. Even if we could get a coil to work, the wire would still have to contain a large amount of copper, so the wire would still be as heavy. Coiling it up would actually give more weight at the back of the pen.

39) Q: I have heard that a Heavy Duty (HD) cord performs better, is that true?

A: The simple answer is that tips heat up quicker and run cooler on the fingers with an HD cord.

40) Q: What is the difference between a Standard & HD cord?

A: Standard "FL" cords (black plugs) use an 18-gauge cord for maximum flexibility. Heavy-duty cords (red plugs) use a 16-gauge cord for maximum current flow, It's very flexible but not quite as flexible as the standard cord.

For fastest tip heat recovery the heavy-duty cord is recommended. While any of our pens will work on either "FL" or "HD" cords, heavy-duty pens work best with heavy-duty cords.

41) Q: Can I use a standard cord on an HD pen, or vice-versa?

A: Yes & No. You can use any Razertip pen on an HD cord but I do not recommend using an HD pen on a standard cord for best performance. Best results are obtained with HD pens on HD cords. In fact, any pen will perform better on an HD cord, but some users find the HD cords a bit stiff.

Personally I still prefer using my HD pens on the HD cord & the Standard pens on the standard cord. I have found most people find it easier to remember red is HD & black is standard & then they don't have to remember to adjust settings when they switch from an HD pen to a standard pen.

Keep in mind that if you change pens from an HD to a standard while using an HD cord you will have to remember to adjust the temperature to a lower setting for the standard pen before you turn the burner on.

42) Q: Why do you pack a standard cord & HD cord in your Dual Output burners?

A: That is a great question. When you use an HD pen you typically have the heat setting higher than if you were using a standard pen. When you switch from an HD pen to a standard pen you need to turn the heat down a bit. What I have found over the years is that people tend to forget to do that & when they switch pens they find the tip becomes poker hot. By having a standard cord for your standard pens & an HD cord for your Heavy-Duty pens you don't need to remember to turn your heat down. It just makes it easier for you to switch pens without worrying that you might burn out the tip.

43): Why have you switched to packing 2 HD cords in your Dual Output burners?

A: What I have found over the last several years is that most people were ordering my burner package with 2 HD cords rather than the burner package with one of each cord. I was offering both options for several years & I was putting the burner package with 2 HD cords together myself. After I reviewed sales for the previous 2 years I found that most people were ordering the burner with 2 HD cords rather than one of each so I decided to re-think the package options. In January, 2018 I started having Razertip include 2 HD cords in the dual output burner packages. For those who prefer to have one of each cord you can order an SSD120V power supply & the cords & pen(s) of your choice.

44) Q: My burner won't make a dark mark on wood until its set at "5" or higher? Why?

A: Razertip burners are designed to give a very broad range of heat. The lower half of the dial is used for waxes, or for detailing wood without leaving a brown mark. The top half of the dial provides enough heat to scorch wood.

On the SS-D10, you can change the low-end temperature range using a small screwdriver in the low-end adjustment port. If this doesn't solve the problem it could be the transformer or a problem with the cord. If you have another cord try connecting the pen to the other cord & see if that doesn't solve the problem or you can flip the cord to see if it works better. Sometimes it's just a loose connection & flipping the cord & using the other side to connect might solve the problem. If it still doesn't work it's best to contact Razertip.

45) Q: Sometimes my burner works great at a certain heat setting, & the next day I have to use a different setting to get the same burn. Why is this?

A: When the voltage from a wall plug changes, the temperature of the tip will change with it. Razertip  burners are set to perform optimally at their rated voltage. I have seen wall outlet voltages vary by over 20 volts. Wall outlet voltage can change depending on time of day & demand on the system especially in some geographic areas where there is a problem with low voltage. 

46) Q: How can I make a scale tip using nichrome wire for my Razertip BPH Pen?

A: I found a great resource for making scale tips.  Making Fish Scale TipsRazertip cord rubber strain relief came off.

47) Q. I think one of my cords is defective, the red rubber part came apart from the end of the cord. How do I get it replaced?

A: Actually the cord is not defective. From time to time the "strain relief" (the red or black rubber part that connects to the end of the cord) may come apart so don't be concerned. The strain relief is merely kept in place by glue. Just drop a bit of CA glue (Crazy Glue) & push it back into place & it will be as good as new.


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