Thanks to those who advised me on buying a new pyro tool, I appreciate all your help. I’ve decided to get a Peter Childs wire-tip machine with variable heat control.
It cost £100, which I know is a lot, but it’s worth it for the results. Anything posted from now on is with me using this new writer, so let me know if you think there’s an improvement.
I find this wire tip far easier and better to use, with more control over the burnt lines and areas than my old fixed-point soldering iron type.
The wire nibs are inter-changeable, with fine wires for thinner, more precise lines, and larger, thicker wires for deeper and wider burns.
The heat control is great. Turned right down the wire hardly burns at all, which is perfect for outlining and for areas of light shading. When it’s turned up to 11 the wire is so hot that flames burst out of the surface of the wood as I draw the tip over it. Cool.
I tend to use it most at a mid setting, with the lower heat for shading and outlining, though sometimes I have fun being a pyromaniac rather than a pyrographer.
To anyone thinking of taking up scorch-scribing I highly recommend it, it’s fun and rewarding, and you can still achieve great results with a cheap writer. Go for it! And if you need any advice on starting up don’t hesitate to ask.