When it comes to branding irons, there are many different varieties from which to choose, which makes deciding on the right one for your needs so exciting. Whether you are a chef seeking a new way to add your signature to your dishes or a wood maker Continue looking to put your signature logo on your product, a high-quality custom branding iron is the way to go. In fact, in many cases using a branding iron is preferable to other methods of labeling or marking as it is permanent and can create a vibrant and unique appearance.
Although branding irons are relatively simple devices, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat them with care. Even if your iron is a traditional model that requires a flame to heat up and use, there are proper procedures to follow to make sure that it will last for years to come. So, with that in mind, let’s go over the best methods to take care of your branding iron and keep it in top condition for life.
This is going into the FAQ at some point, but we get a lot of questions about it, so I thought I'd write a quick post. We make branding heads out of either brass or aluminum. What's the difference?
As a rule of thumb, aluminum is best for occasional use, and brass is the best choice for professional environments. Both yield identical results as far as sharpness and detail. Aluminum is, obviously, less expensive, and it’s considered safe for food contact. At high temperatures, aluminum is a bit softer than brass, and if heated incorrectly it can sustain damage. Brass is essentially impossible to destroy with high heat, and it withstands non-ideal conditions substantially better, like branding dirty, rough, or painted surfaces. When properly cared for, a brass branding plate will last for a lifetime.
Have you ever gotten the feeling that the company who made your stereo doesn't really care what you think? What about your cable provider, or the corporation that built your car? News flash: they don't. It reminds me of the Belushi-era SNL skit that ends with the line, "We're the phone company. We don't care...we don't have to."
Don't get me wrong. I think that multinational corporations are extraordinarily interesting. But the transition of our economy from small-to-midsize manufacturing companies to a handful of mega-conglomerates has left a pretty big scar across this nation.
What's even worse is when small businesses adopt the trappings of big, impersonal companies. Customer service is either absent or pandering and ineffectual. Communication is sparse--emails are signed with the company name, and you never have a single point of contact. Phone calls are routed through elaborate automated menus. I know guys who run 5-employee companies who think that such a facade makes them seem larger and more professional.
But it doesn't.
Are you a small business owner? Make a stand. Take advantage of your ability to run a personal, responsive company. The big guys won't expend the effort...that's what makes us strong.
We've all heard the saying, "Charity begins at home." As a business owner, I feel that way about how I run my company. What I've learned as both an employee and employer is this: the company that treats its workers poorly will treat its customers poorly, too.
I've been in the trades for over 15 years, and I've seen my share of good work environments--but I've seen some bad ones, believe me. In my experience, there's a direct correlation between poor working conditions and poor customer service. As a result, I strive to treat everyone I interact with--my suppliers, my employees, and my customers--with the same level of care and respect that I'd like to receive. That means providing a safe work environment for the fella who runs the milling machine. It means being understanding about the childcare responsibilities of my office manager. It means paying my supplier's invoices promptly, and in full. And it means providing excellent products and unparalleled customer service to folks like you.
That's what "Made in America" means at Gearheart Industry.
"Reclaimed wood's tough," explains James Crannell. "These are boards that have been in a home for 100-plus years. So they've twisted, and bowed, and weathered and cracked." He pulls a battered piece of lumber from a rack of his shop in Chicago. "I have kind of a fascination with taking things that were used and finding a new life for them."
James founded Gokojo with a clear vision: to create beautiful, long-lasting and affordable products that inspire people to rethink what it means to be environmentally conscious. Gokojo's handmade pieces are made from reclaimed and recycled materials, all of which are locally-sourced. To mark his unique creations, James uses one of our torch-heated branding irons. "I love it! The branding iron is perfect and adds a nice finishing touch to all my wood products. Definitely helps me stand out in the crowd," he says, and turns a small table on edge, displaying the logo burned into the underside.
Gearheart is proud to work with artists and small-business owners who exemplify creativity and innovation like James. You can check out his amazing (and surprisingly affordable) furniture in Gokojo's Etsy store.
A good friend of mine--and I'd call him a "globalist" to his face--recently posed a question over a couple of beers: "What difference does it make where my products are made?" The answer I gave him was a knee-jerk amalgam of stale platitudes. "Made in the USA stands for quality! American pride, etc. etc." Frankly, it sounded empty and hollow. I responded emotionally--and what I said wasn't even necessarily true. "Made in the USA" may have implied a certain standard of quality in the past, but it doesn't anymore--just as "Made in Japan" was synonymous with shoddy workmanship in the 60's, but that's a far cry from what it means now.
So what does it mean when I say my branding irons are made in the USA? From the FTC's standpoint, it just means that "all or virtually all" of the materials and components in my branding irons are manufactured Stateside. From a purely objective, legal perspective, it doesn't imply that I treat my employees fairly, or that I give back to my community, or that I practice sustainable manufacturing, or that my products are any good.
So I've got to be explicit about those things. Over the coming weeks, I'm going to tell you what "Made in the USA" means at Gearheart Industry--how it's more than just a tagline, because what we do is much larger than just making branding irons. I hope you'll stay tuned!
Well, folks, it took a while to get it developed, but it was worth the wait. Variable power, a spring-loaded pivoting head, and dual high-output heating elements make this drill-press mounted iron a force to be reckoned with! Of course it's made in the USA with the same attention to detail that you've come to expect from our products, but it's not just pretty to look at--it's built to work hard for a long time.
Extra branding plates are available for this system at an incredibly affordable price. Check it all out here!
It's been a busy Spring so far at Gearheart Industry! We've got a lot of R&D work going on. Here's a quick glance at some products we'll be introducing this season:
The brass branding platen and integrated 15,000 BTU torch on this iron make quick work of theost demanding project! Just hook the brand to a standard propane tank--the type you use on your outdoor grill--and light it up. This industrial-quality brand will be available either by itself, or as a kit that includes a 10' hose, regulator, and striker. And unlike competitors' irons, every component is made in the USA--including the accessories. It took a long time to find a regulator that was made stateside, but we didn't stop till we found one!
Plenty of folks have asked why we don't offer electric branding irons. There are a few reasons, but it boils down to this: if it can't be made in the USA, and offered at an affordable price, we won't sell it. Period. It's taken a while to track down domestic components for electric branding irons, but we've done it! And as usual, we've got a system that blows the competition out of the water. Gearheart electric brands heat 30% faster than other electric irons while using 30% less energy.
Commemorating the big day
One of the most important aspects of planning a wedding is to come up with cool ways of incorporating you and your partner’s personalities into the overall look and theme. There are a ton of ways to go about doing this—slide shows featuring photos of the bride and groom, water bottles with the couple’s initials…the list goes on.
However, one of the coolest and most unique ways to make an impression on your wedding guests is by using a custom branding iron featuring you and your partner’s initials. From branded coasters to wooden signs to branded table decor, custom-branded decorative touches are a creative way to make your ceremony and reception be anything but typical.
Also, custom branding irons can be used long after your wedding. Some cool ways to continue making a mark is to monogram wooden signs by your front door to welcome guests into your home, or brand kitchen items such as a wooden wine and cheese board which are perfect for entertaining.
For more branding ideas, continue stopping by the Gearheart Industry blog!