Every year for Christmas a few friends and I try to make handmade gifts. A big concern is cost and time to build. My wife had purchased a branding iron for me at a store outside of Houston. I liked the design of the original but figured we could make it much nicer. These can be used on steaks, pork chops, wood and even tofu for my vegan friends.
I called a local welding shop and had them cut out metal letters. The letters were 1.25 inches tall and made from 1/8th stock. The shop charged me $1.50 per letter. For the rod we bought ¼ inch cold rolled square stock. The cost of this was $.44 per foot. For the grip I used some scrap wood my grandpa gave me.The total cost per brand with one letter was right at $2.00. I couldn’t find anything online for less than $40. 00 that had as much handmade detail.
Step 1: The Metal Work
The square bar we cut into 12inch lengths. We then took each peace and clamped them into the vise. We welded a cheap ¼ drive socket to a scrap piece of metal for a twisting tool. About 4 inches from the end we heated the rod and twisted it. We tried to make them as different as possible.
Next we mig welded the letters to the bar stock. This part is very straight forward. The hardest part is trying not to put any letters backwards.
After all the letters were welded we reheated the brand irons. Red hot and dropped them into a drywall pan full of cooking oil. This process was to clean, temper and season the metal.
Step 2: The Wood and Epoxy
The blocks of wood I used for the handle I got from my grandpa, they are 1.75 x1.75 x 6 inches. We just turned them down to a size that we were happy with. We sanded them on the lathe to 400 grit and used a simple oil finish. Again everyone was different and had its own character.
For the last part we drilled a 3/8 hole in the end of the handle and epoxied the rod in the handle. After the epoxy dried we were all done. We tested a few our and I was very happy with how they turned out. I’m sure they will make nice manly gifts.
please vote I still havent won a contest.