My First Lichtenberg Wood Burn projects

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Project by rockmolsen posted 07-01-2017 07:42 PM 1884 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last week for my birthday, my wife surprised me with the Lichtenberg Fractal Wood burner. We saw this together at a woodworking show over the winter but I was hesitant about spending the $300. I have been looking at the build your own plans from a microwave transformer or neon light transformer.

I read all the safety precautions several times. I have a rubber mat on my assembly table, stand on a rubber mat with rubber sole shoes and have gloves, not the Class II rated they recommend but some heavy duty leather ones. 12,000 volts could put a serious hurting on you so I am being extra cautious. The fact that power is foot operated makes this much safer than the DIY options you see on Youtube in my opinion. As soon as I finish I unplug the unit.

It is interesting to use and watch. Made up a mix of baking soda and water, applied with a foam brush not too wet and you can see the results. You do need to clean this up under running water with a tooth brush and that really brings out the “branch like” detail. Going to apply a few coats of wipe-on poly for the finish. I did not sand due to what i read it would remove the finer burned cavities. This was a pear wood rough turn that had warped pretty badly, I was almost going to toss it. Its 7” x 2 1/2” high. The last one is smaller 4” dish that was never finished so I used that as an experiment as well. Happy with the end result and now I’m kind of addicted to this fractal burning, it looks really cool.

Thanks for looking …....

-- Rick --------The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.

11 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6555 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 07-01-2017 09:34 PM

Agree—Very nice!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View bigJohninvegas's profile


788 posts in 2268 days

#2 posted 07-01-2017 10:33 PM

very cool, and yes a bit scary. I too was reading and watching DIY you tube videos.
I am pretty sure I would hurt myself with the DIY version.

-- John

View Jacksdad's profile


247 posts in 1230 days

#3 posted 07-01-2017 11:24 PM

Very cool, I’d like to get one of those burning units, but I have other toys before that.

View BobWemm's profile


2867 posts in 2732 days

#4 posted 07-02-2017 01:29 AM

Totally AWESOME.
Been wishing I had the confidence to do this, but had a bad experience with electricity when I was a kid.
Great job, I love it.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View rockmolsen's profile


297 posts in 2379 days

#5 posted 07-02-2017 01:51 AM


The product from Conestoga Wood seemed like the safest option, why I was refraining from the DIY version. You still need to careful and pay attention to what you are doing. Follow the instructions and invest in the expensive gloves.

-- Rick --------The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24957 posts in 3911 days

#6 posted 07-02-2017 11:21 AM

Nice pattern, Rick.


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View bushmaster's profile


3940 posts in 3088 days

#7 posted 07-02-2017 11:25 AM

Interesting that a company even sells such a device, Looks like you have to hold the electrodes. When I made mine I made it so you do not have to hold the electrodes, I am not that brave.. Also have foot operated switch and a light that comes on when it is burning. I posted it awhile back. You did a great job on the burning.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Ivan's profile


16080 posts in 3673 days

#8 posted 07-02-2017 12:25 PM

I see this technic is more and more popular – very nice work.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View splintergroup's profile


3865 posts in 2028 days

#9 posted 07-02-2017 12:46 PM

Great “introduction”!

Aside from selecting a workable wood and getting your technique down, I think the final sanding is most critical. It is the sanding that removes the surface charing and really makes the fine details “pop”.

Enjoy your new tool!

View Hawaiilad's profile


3374 posts in 3827 days

#10 posted 07-02-2017 07:54 PM

I do like the end result, but Please be careful. To many stories have been told about people being really hurt or killed using this process.. I’d rather have you around sharing the products you make

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3610 days

#11 posted 07-10-2017 12:21 PM

Very cool.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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