A typical 1" Artisan CraftID will cost $1.60. To get to that price per signature with your $50 signature branding iron would require that you burn at least 32 signatures. CraftIDs present a much more consistent signature when properly applied. While woodworking branding irons are customizeable (from some manufacturers), CraftIDs offer a much wider range of customization. So if a CraftID fits your woodworking or woodturning signature needs better than a signature branding iron just click on the green button to buy your CraftID online.
If you're still convince a signature branding iron is for you, read on.
If your woodwork or other crafts present a consistantly even grain, flat surface then a signature branding iron could be for you. You can buy branding irons online and at stores such as Woodcraft, Rockler, and Nova Tool Co and prices may range from $50 to $200 or more. Standard configurations are less expensive. Custom branding iron configurations may be more expensive and may have an additional setup fee. According to various websites signature branding irons typically take 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.
A woodworking branding iron is typically custom made with your name, logo, signature or other mark. The simplest versions include standard text such as "Hand made by" or "From the shop of" plus your name. Completely custom versions can be made to your specifications.
There are electric branding irons and non-electric branding irons. The non-electric versions need an external heat source such as a gas stove, charcoal grill or fireplace or they may be heated with a torch.
The positive side of signing your wood crafts with a branding iron is that under the best of circumstances they will make uniformly identifiable marks. Once you buy the branding iron with your signature or mark you have it and they last a long time. Even if you only make a few items the cost per signature may be reasonable.
The flip side is that a signature branding iron can be difficult to use. Even in good conditions it may make a less than perfect mark depending on the surface texture and grain, and typically are only usable on basically flat surfaces. Then there are possible issues for uneven heating of the branding iron, but these issues would be typically in non-electric branding irons that are heated with a torch, coals or other external source.
When you need your woodturner's signature on a turned bowl or turned platter, or hollow form you may not have the flat surface or the space for use of your branding iron. If you are doing one craft item or a small number of items, it will take some time to heat the branding iron and test it on a similar grain and density scrap piece of wood to get a stylish, attractive signature.
We've all seen examples of perfectly fine signatures and marks made with a woodworker's branding iron. Interestingly, probably most of us have also seen signature branding iron marks that left much to be desired because the woodworker did not take the time to test it or the wood just wasn't consistent. I hope we've helped you make your choice and good luck whatever your decision.