Copper Bee Die for Wood Burning




About: I enjoy everything

I have studied bugs and insects all my life.

Bees are so critical to us - I like to make people aware of bees value – beyond honey.

By putting the image of a bee on some of my wood projects - opens up a good opportunity for a conversation on bees.

So I made a copper metal die to make a wood burned image of a Bee.

The bee pattern die is mounted in an electric 35 watt heating wood burning tool.

Step 1: Cut Out Bee Pattern

I printed a small bee pattern on standard paper.

With a little glue on the back of paper, I placed the pattern onto a piece of 1mm thick copper.

I wanted to get going faster then the glue, so I also used clear packing tape over the top to attach to the copper.

Using a jewelers saw, I cut out the bee pattern.

Step 2: Put Copper Backing on Bee Pattern

Using the same 1 mm copper I used a shear to cut the backing plate (slightly larger than the cut out bee pattern).

I sanded with 400 emery paper and then cleaned the copper pieces with liquid soap – let dry

I put in both pieces in liquid flux, this serves two purposes,one to let the solder flow and the second is to reduce the fire scale (blackening) of the copper.

Shown is the shops soldering station, it uses fire bricks, copper pickle (removes some scale) and neutralizer of the copper pickle solution.
Note: I always rinse and wash my projects with tap water after dipping in the neutralizer tank.

I used hard solder to attach the bee pattern to the backing plate.

Solder - Hard
Melt temp F - 1450

Silver content - 75%

Copper content - 22%

Zinc Content - 3%

I use a torch to heat and flow the solder to attach the two pieces.

Then they go into pickle tank – neutralizer tank – final wash

I trimmed a little more backing plate with shear and then I used 400 emery paper to clean up the top of the bee pattern.

Step 3: Attach Heating Rod on Backing

The wood burner had a 3/16 inch diameter rod opening (35 watt heating iron).

Note: the rod opening seems to be different on other models, so measure first.

I found a uncoated steel nail that had the same diameter.

I cut it down the nail to a 1 inch length.

Using a metal file, I flatten the head of the nail.

In order to have the solder hold the best, two clean flat surfaces is best.

NOTE: do not use galvanize nails, when heated it gives off poisonous fumes.

3/16 copper rod can also be used.

Using the same soldering technique, I used easy solder to attach the heating rod to the backing plate.

Solder - easy
Melt temp F -1325
Silver content - 65%
Copper content - 20%
Zinc Content - 15%

I use a torch to heat and flow the solder to attach the two pieces.
Then they go into pickle tank – neutralizer tank – final wash

400 emery was used again to clean up the face of the bee pattern.

Step 4: Use the Bee Die

After mounting the heating rod of the die into the heating iron (wood burner).

I let the bee pattern die heat up.

With light pressure of the heated die onto the wood - it created the burned bee pattern.

Thank you for viewing my instructables on a Copper bee die for Wood burning.

I am already thinking of other patterns to make.

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    12 Discussions


    3 years ago

    doesnt the solder melt from the heat of the heating iron ?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea & great instructable. I'm off to the thrift store.


    thank you so much, I finished two more using a copper rod instead of a nail. I am looking forward to try them out.


    5 years ago on Step 4

    Great instructable and its given me the idea for what I think could be as good if not better instructable. When I first saw the bee die I immediately thought it was a tie tac. My idea, make a sleeve that will fit a standard (if there is such a thing)wood burning tool that will take a tie tac pin. At thrift stores and others where you can find old or second hand jewelry you can attain tie tacs at low prices unless you pick one made of gold or silver.

    2 replies
    Fikjast Scottpaqrat

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 4

    Great expanded idea; this is why I like instructables so much.
    I am off to the thrift store myself.
    I am thinking I will need to make a reducer to fit the wood burner to the small tack pin size.
    Thank you so much for sharing your idea.
    Do you think you will post an instructable when you get it working?

    paqratFikjast Scott

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 4

    If I do get around to it I definitely will. I have so many projects in mind that rarely get done. I'd sure like to see one from you if you get it going. :)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I would have brazed it not solder. In the future the solder may slip. Just my thought.

    2 replies
    Fikjast ScottMrE

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I too thought about the brazing at first, the master
    silversmith I apprentice under (who is also a master welder) suggested or
    recommended the easy solder for its higher zinc content. The flow temperature of
    the hard and easy solder is above 1325 degrees Fahrenheit - the 35 watt iron
    produces heat up to 850 degrees Fahrenheit.

    I am glad how strong and how well this works. The success of
    silver solder on this project has open so many doors for other projects

    I am working on another one, using a brass rod instead of a
    nail. Well we will see how it works without the steel shoulder of the nail.

    Thank you for your comment.