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Wood branding is the creation of a permanent mark on a piece of wood with a heated tool. Branding tools are typically inexpensive, and people can use them in a variety of ways. Companies may use wood branding to add decorative designs to wood, or permanently stamp the wood with care instructions, information about the manufacturer, and so forth. This is usually one of the last steps of production, to make sure activities like sanding and cutting do not damage the brand.
People can brand with a stamp, stencil, or freehand. With a stamp, people have a mold of the shape they want to create on the wood. The mold is backward so when people pull it away from the wood, it will leave an impression oriented in the correct direction. People can heat brand stamps by running a current through them or holding them in a hot fire, and when they press the stamp into the wood, the wood chars, creating a brand.
With a stencil, people overlay a heat-resistant material with cutouts, and then apply heat to the wood to char it. People can use tools like branding pens, handheld instruments that produce high heat in a very narrow area, with the stencil. For freehanding, people move heated tools over the wood to create a design. They may sketch or draw plans first, or can start from scratch.
Wood branding is a very efficient way to add a company's logo and other information to wood products, in a way that ensures they will always remain visible unless people want to refinish the wood. People can also add things like directions for care and treatment, such as recommendations for wood polish products, to the brand. When people produce wood projects they want to decorate, wood branding is an option; brands can create everything from squares on a chessboard to patterns on the edge of a picture frame.
This process can take place on an assembly line, using automated stamps to brand, or people can do it by hand. People must take care to control the heat of the brand to avoid setting the wood on fire. It is advisable to wear face protection and keep the hair in a net to avoid injuries to the face while doing activities like wood branding. Inhaling smoke from a branding project can also be dangerous. People who must brand wood as part of their jobs may need to wear respirators to protect their airways, but a person working on a quick crafts project does not require that level of protection.