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 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.
Types of Branding Irons
Before we can get into how to take care of your iron, we first have to figure out which type you have. Each model is unique and requires different care and attention to make sure that it works well each time you use it. There are three primary types of branding irons, so let’s take a look at how each one works:
If you’re looking for something simple and effective, then a standard iron is your best option. This is a piece of metal attached to a rod that you heat over a flame to create your perfect brand. The great thing about manual irons is that you can use them for a wide variety of purposes as long as you have a heat source. The only downside is that it can take a while to get to temp and to cool off, which means that you have to take extra care with it while it’s hot.
Although there is something to be said for using a traditional branding iron, the fact is that if you have to brand a lot of items in a short period, you need something a bit more robust. Electric branding irons will heat up much faster than manual models, and they will retain their heat for longer. With a traditional iron, you have to keep reheating it for the best results, while an electric iron can be used repeatedly as long as it’s plugged in. The only downside is that you have to be next to an outlet for it to work.
Basics of Branding
Once you’ve figured out which kind of iron you want to use, then you will have to practice a few times to make sure that you get consistent results. If you don’t hold the brand correctly, your lettering or insignia may come out blurry or hard to read. As such, it’s imperative that you go over the necessary steps each time you brand. We highly recommend that you practice as much as possible so that you can minimize your potential for mistakes. With that in mind, here are some things you should do to ensure that you get the best results each time.
What You Should Do:
- Make sure that your surface is clean and dry. If it’s wet, then that will result in an inferior brand
- Wear safety equipment while working, including eye protection. If steam or smoke comes out while you’re branding, you want to make sure that you’re covered.
- Always leave your brand in a horizontal position. This will ensure that the handle stays cooler than the head.
- Don’t rush the heating process. Whether it’s a manual or electric brand, you don’t want to try and use it before it’s ready, as that will create sloppy results.
- If you’re using an electric brand, make sure that you give it time to get back to temp in between brands.
- If you’re using a manual iron, keep a bucket of water nearby for quick cooling.
- With electric branders, make sure that the head is not too big for the heating element, as this will result in uneven brands.
- Make sure to hold the iron steadily and apply adequate pressure to the whole head. Also, experiment with how long you should keep the brand applied for different materials. If you do it for too long, then it will start to bleed. If it’s too short, however, then you risk not getting a permanent brand.
What NOT to Do:
- Don’t submerge electric brands in water to cool them off.
- NEVER leave the iron in a vertical position as that can damage internal components and will result in the handle getting hot.
- Don’t push too hard. The heat will transfer even with limited pressure, so don’t think that pushing on it will make it work better. It will only damage the head over time.
- Never hit the iron on the side of the table to knock debris off.
- If you use multiple branding heads, don’t leave them on while the iron is not in use, as it can cause fusion to occur, meaning that you won’t be able to switch them.
- Don’t leave it heating for too long, as it can damage the metal or lead to warping if it gets too hot.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should keep your brands clean. Make sure to wash them in between uses to help extend their shelf life. Also, remember that it takes much longer for the brand to cool off than heat up, so even if it looks safe, don’t touch it until you’re sure that it’s completely cooled. If you follow these tips, your iron should last a lifetime.