We recently ran two ‘Fire-Etching’ workshops as part of our Service Level Agreement (S.L.A) with Southwark Council. Southwark needed us to brand some signposts for Southwark Park but with the collaborative efforts of the local community.
Initially marketed as ‘Branding‘ workshops, we found despite a healthy turnout on our first session that many people were confused with the word ‘Branding’, associating it with the kind of branding you refer to in the marketing world. Our workshop was definitely much more exciting and hands on than this!
So, the workshop was rebirthed (over soup, bread and other grown tidbits from our garden) into ‘Fire-etching.’ I don’t like to brag (maybe just a little) but I came up with it thinking along the lines of scorching wood with fire.
The first session was held on Thursday 24th February and we were blessed with a rare day of sunshine (some warmth) and a bucket-loads of children to the playground. Easing participants to our outdoor fire-etching setup was then a question of safety as we could only have a maximum number of people etching at a time.
Our second session on the Saturday 5th March (you can’t have the same luck twice) was a gloomy and chilly day with not as much people turning up as the previous session but still a pretty healthy turnout. However, a more manageable number meant you could spend more time on one signpost, giving way to much progress that day. All in all, the two sessions bore very healthy results and participants found themselves intrigued and hooked onto ‘fire-etching.’
“What the heck is fire-etching?”
Here is a brief lowdown on ‘fire-etching’:
- Trace your design onto the wood using carbon paper,
- The carbon paper should be put under your design while you trace on it. Once done, it should leave a clear impression,
- Many iron rods with different types of heads are then left in the path of a live blow torch,
- Once heated enough and wearing very heavy-duty gloves, carefully and with a firm grip hold onto one end of the rod,
- One glove should be more heavily padded than the other, this hand should be the one holding the middle part of the rod (never hold the end which is heated up, it will be extremely hot and even with padded gloves, you will end up getting burnt!),
- Angling the heated end of the rod into a comfortable position, you can then ‘etch’ the design by carefully placing it onto the wood, essentially scorching the wood.