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branding iron

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  • branding iron

    Does anyone know how a branding iron is made? Not the crude looking types for livestock, but the kind used for burning the louisville slugger logo and signature into a wood bat.


  • #2
    I know you can get custom made branding irons from Rockler or other sources, but I was hoping to be able to make my own.


    • #3
      If you have some type of vertical mill, just mill away what you don't want. If you don't have a mill, lay out you name, etc with magic marker or tape, get some small chisels and chisel away everything that is not marked. A small job shouldn't take long.It will have that handmade look.


      • #4
        The branding irons available for woodworking and leather work are made from photoengraved brass. These are easy to make. You take a piece of brass of sufficient mass to soak and hold the heat, coat it with a photo emulsion, expose it and then soak it in acid till you get the desired relief. If you want to try small qualities, the chemicals used in the production of printed circuit boards works well, slower than dedicated chemicals, but much cheaper. Any of the hobby and/or surplus electonic companies will have what you need. If you have access to a laser printer (inkjet priners don't have the density required) you can make some very intricate designs. I bought 25$ worth of chemicals about two years ago and have made 11 branding irons for my woodworking friends. Hope this helps you.



        • #5
          Thanks very much for the information. This seems like a perfect solution for me.



          • #6
            It's been a few years, but when we made a few wood items I had a couple of custom logo/brands made.

            They were large chunks of brass (copper?) on the end of an electric soldering iron.

            In those days the engraving appeared to have been done by hand on a pantograph machine. Probably done by CNC these days.

            The photo etching process sounds the simplest. I wonder if the high quality brands are done that way? In my experience with etching sometimes there're problems with undercutting of teh design on deep etchs.

            I learned one lesson about the brands, my son and his friends used to come to the shop and want to play with the branding setup. I let them try it on some old brown paper grocery bags. Bad idea, apparently there's something in the paper (acid?) which caused the fine details of the brand to errode after them playing for about 15 minutes.


            • #7
              Not responsive, but I thought you all might enjoy some old-time cattle brand technology!

              Good old-style Texas cattle brands do not have any intersection in the metal. This would cause a hot spot which would burn the hide deeper, allowing a screw worm infestation of the wound. For instance, a cross would only be four lines with a blank spot in the center, none intersecting, sometimes known as a "southern cross" in Australia (a constellation). Screw worms were a problem in Texas until the early 1980's when they were eradicated back to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico. Some ranchers close to a city would use dry ice instead of fire for branding when they had intersections in their brand so as not to infest the animal. Ex-wife was a rancher. A.T.


              • #8
                The name on a bat was probably done with a laser.


                • #9
                  Re: laser printer

                  You can get something and skip the photoemulsion.

                  It is basically an iron on transfer, you print it in a laser printer, iron it on to your metal, then peel the film back off. It will leave the trace on there, ready to etch.

                  I have used ferric chloride on copper quite a few times. Dont know how well it will work on brass, never tried.

                  I think this is the stuff I have.




                  • #10
                    oh yah...never used a laser printer, always used the copy machine. Another advantage is that you can do hand drawn stuff if you are the artistic type.



                    • #11
                      Sure, you can hand draw (in reverse) the logo or whatever it is you want. I've used permanent marker for this, going over it a few times until the coating is thick enough to withstand the etchant. A stick-on plastic would be better, and that you can cut out with an exacto knife, or better would be the iron-on transfer, which lets you design on the computer, with the benefits that allows. I've been thinking about this for the last few months, and one thing I thought of is that aluminum can be eaten by common toilet bowl cleaner. I haven't checked more deeply into this yet, but if lye can eat aluminum, then you can etch with it. Transfer your design onto an aluminum block and etch away. There will be some undercutting, but that might work to advantage, since it would leave a thin edge around the design to be burnished down prior to using the branding iron. There's the hand-made look right there, with the precision of the computer design under it.
                      I can't offhand think of anything that might rule out aluminum for a branding iron. It likely won't hold the heat as long as iron, nor will it wear as long, but it should work fine, should it not? You'd have to take care not to overheat it, of course.
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


                      • #12
                        I can make any branding iron and I blacksmith it or mill it.

                        I olny mill the cryogenic type (Freeze Branding race horses) but will mill it for a guy with big money.

                        burning the louisville slugger they have a hot rolling die that does it in seconds (on the right place on the grain)there was a show about that on the history channel, a cool show to see.

                        no laser at all.

                        [This message has been edited by tattoomike68 (edited 04-21-2005).]


                        • #13
                          Jacob -
                          The press n peal idea looks great. Thanks for the link. This eliminates a few steps.

                          I will report back on how I make out.