The art of sending high voltage electricity (10,000 volts) through wood to create unique, one of a kind designs. The electrical current meanders it’s way through the wood finding the path of least resistance and leaves behind charred channels of varying depths and thicknesses. Electro-pyrography is also known as “fractal burning” or “Lichtenburg” figures named after the German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, who originally discovered and studied them.
Although Lichtenberg figures may be created on various types of wood surfaces the density and grain patterns affect the formation of the designs. Plywood has displayed the best results due to the insulating properties of the glue between the layers of plys. Therefore, creating a barrier that allows the electricity to stay on the top layer of wood and not burn through the entire workpiece. Two Particular types of plywood are used:
Red oak - Red Oak is primarily grown in the midwestern states of the US and is best known for its strength and contrasting wood grain. When finished red oak takes on a warm medium brown appearance (pictured above.)
Sande Wood / Lechoso (Milk Tree) - The Milk Tree is commonly grown in Central and South America and can live up to 200 years old. Sande Wood remains light when finished highlighting the richness of the burn patterns and frame.
Many of the art pieces are framed with solid walnut providing a sleek, contrasting color when stained. Other works are framed with red oak or clear white pine. All art pieces are hand-rubbed with a protective coating of a mixture of linseed and tung oil. Painted pieces are finished with a clear coat (polycrylic.)