Stippling the wooden handle of your firearm, or any other tool, is a popular and easy modification to make. A stippled handle provides a better grip and increases control. It’s also a fun way to create a unique and eye-catching aesthetic.
If you plan on stippling wooden grips, you’ll need specialized equipment. Naturally, some stippling tools will be easier to use and others harder. Some machines will break easily, whereas others are exorbitantly-priced. Deciding which wood burning tool is right for you will depend on how often you intend to use it, and how much you’re willing to spend.
We’ve examined the most popular wood burning tools on the market and carefully considered the pros and cons of each. Here are the decisions you need to make when purchasing a wood burning tool, and a few of our favorite models.
Wood burning tools: buying considerations
The key to choosing the best wood burning tool is to weigh the cost against the utility of the tool. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before we dive into our recommendations
What bells and whistles does the tool offer? Do you even need bells and whistles? Most people, from first timers to seasoned vets, want a variety of tips for their wood burning tool. This allows you to create different effects. It also enables you to use the tool on different kinds of wood (or plastic). There are also some kits that come with stencils, so you can add lettering to your stippling effect.
What sorts of items are you planning on stippling? An important feature to look for is adjustable heat. Different materials, including the various types of wood, respond differently to the temperature and technique used.
Price is obviously the biggest consideration for most people. How often do you intend to use the tool? How much are you willing to spend, and what level of quality do you need for your specific project? The examples we list range in price and versatility, from more basic models to more professional units.
Advantages of owning your own wood burning tool
There are quite a few benefits to owning your own wood burning tool for stippling. To begin with, stippling is a simple modification that you can make without spending a fortune.
First, there are the practical benefits. Stippling improves your control over a tool or weapon, even when wet. The grip is more secure in your hand, which can improve accuracy and safety.
Secondly, stippling is a great way to personalize your firearm. It adds a unique visual appeal, tailored specifically to your sense of aesthetics. If you own a wood burning tool and do the stippling yourself, it will be your own design. You will have something absolutely one of a kind.
A third advantage is that many people find it cheaper to buy a tool and do the stippling themselves. It can be expensive to pay a gunsmith or professional woodworker to do it, especially if you have more than one item you want to modify.
Finally, it’s just fun! You can use a wood burning tool on all sorts of different things. Once you start, you might find it hard to stop!
For many, stippling and wood burning is a highly-enjoyable and satisfying hobby. Adding stippling to a handle drastically improves grip, and often the beauty, of whatever you modify. Everyone who owns their own tool says it saves money and gives you a great sense of achievement.
Weller WSB25WB 25-W Short Barrel Woodburning Kit
For beginners to stippling, we recommend the Weller WSB25WB 25-W Short Barrel Woodburning Kit. It’s available for an amazing price and manufactured by a trusted brand. The kit comes with a variety of different tips. Most find it very easy to use.
A few reviewers have complained about the unit heating up fast and the handle getting too hot. Most however, think the speedy heat up is very advantageous, and that it’s a great unit. Most users suggest either leaving the unit tip point up when you’re not using it, or wearing heat resistant gloves.
For its price, the consensus is that you can’t beat this Weller tool as a simple, but effective, option for stippling wood.
Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool
Still at the simpler end of the scale is the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool. While not the most flashy or expensive option, this a great product. There are 11 woodburning points included, which people find very useful for creating different effects on different types of material.
Some users did report difficulty with adjusting the temperature, as it’s designed to be usable with everything from soft plastic to ceramic. Most reviewers, however, are very happy with the variable temperature control and the advantages that offers.
Overall, the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool is a good, solid choice for beginners and intermediate level hobbyists. While it’s a fairly basic tool, reviewers say that it’s made to a high quality. Although it isn’t professional-grade, even buyers experienced with wood stippling say it does the job very well.
Mophorn Multifunction Pyrography Machine
For those serious about wood stippling, the Mophorn Multifunction Pyrography Machine is the best you can get. This model is a 60-Watt wood pyrography tool with a dual pen. The Mophorn is praised by professionals and a staple of their wood burning kits. Buyers love the 20-piece pack of tips, the quality of construction, and ease-of-use.
This is certainly a more expensive wood burning tool, but it’s well worth the money if you’re seriously invested in the hobby. The Mophorn is a well-made, professional-grade machine that will last a very long time.
If you intend on purchasing a wood burning tool with the goal of stippling something, don’t just look at the initial cost. Over time, doing your own modifications can save you a lot of money. You also need to consider what features you need for your particular projects. How often you use the tool, and for what purpose, will directly impact your decision.
For most people, the Walnut Hollow Creative Versa Tool is your best bet. Offered at a fantastic price, this versatile tool is packed with features. Users love the 11 different points/tips included in the kit, as well as the adjustable temperature. It offers great value for the money, but know that both cheaper options and more professional options are available.
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: lifesizepotato.