Transfer Tool

Hey:
I need help with the entire concept of a "transfer tool". I've currently got a Lenk L25TT 25 Watt transfer tool. Nothing transfers. I think I'm doing it right. I print out my design on my laser printer, which uses dry toner, put the drawing face down on wood and, after the tool has had time to heat up, I press it on the design.
I've tried moving the tool fast, slow, agonizingly slow and even standing it in one place, but if any transfer occurs (and I stress the IF) it's small isolated patches that do me no good. I even tried a desperate move and dug an old electric clothes iron out of my closet and tried that on a variety of settings, up to scorching the paper. I tried plywood and, just in case the texture made a difference, I also tried a piece of pine that had been sanded. The results were identical.
Am I doing something wrong or is the entire concept flawed?
Thanks in advance
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On 26 Nov 2004 02:22:49 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (MarcColten) wrote:

Okay. There are a few dirty little secrets about using the heat transfer method to put a pattern on wood.
The first thing you need is a pattern with really, really dark lines. I typically print out my designs on my laser printer and then copy them on my copier set to the darkest setting. Theoretically I could just use the laser print, but the extra step gives me a lot of extra toner to play with.
Next, you need a smooth wood surface. Let me say that again. You need a _smooth_ wood surface. Any irregularities such as grain or surface roughness will play merry hell with the transfer process.
I usually prepare the surfaces by scraping since I don't like the effect of sanding grit on my carving tools. YMMV, but get that wood _smooth_.
Then you need the hottest, heaviest heat source you can find. I have a small woodburner-type tool I use occasionally, but mostly I rely on an old iron I got especially for the purpose (check thrift stores). I set it as hot as I can get it and I press down hard using the point of the iron. You have got to have heat and pressure to make the technique work and the more of both the better.
I also attach one side (only) of the pattern to the wood with tape. That way I can peel it back to check the progress and put it back in exactly the same place to handle the spots that haven't transferred yet.

The concept is emphatically not flawed. However it is not automatic either. It sounds to me like you're not putting enough pressure on the tool to make the transfer. Scorching-the-paper hot is about right.

--RC
Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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The paper you use can make or break this technique. Some bond paper will just not give up the toner. In particular I think paper with higher recycled content holds the toner too tight. I like to use vellum instead. The toner tends to lay on the surface of cotton based vellum and releases will. If you can find erasable vellum, that is even better but I don't bother with that.
I just use a yard sale clothes iron, set for cotton.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop

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Fri, Nov 26, 2004, 2:22am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (MarcColten) pleads: Hey: I need help with the entire concept <snip>
I've tried it, didn't like it. Now, I either fasten paper patterns down to the wood, draw right on the wood, or cut using a wood pattern. Less fuss, less muss, faster, easier.
JOAT Measure twice, cut once, swear repeatedly.
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On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 18:02:35 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

That works for some things and not for others. If you have to reapply the pattern repeatedly it is a huge pain. For that matter it's a large pain if the pattern is particularly inticrate. Heat transfers are a lot faster.
--RC
Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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Sat, Nov 27, 2004, 2:37pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com claims: That works for some things and not for others. If you have to reapply the pattern repeatedly it is a huge pain. For that matter it's a large pain if the pattern is particularly inticrate. Heat transfers are a lot faster.
Works for all I've tried so far. Make multiple copies. No prob. Intricate patterns, no prob, some of mine have quite fine detail, come out quite clear.
The heat transfer patterns I've tried only worked half-way decently, one time each. So, you'd need multiple. Plus, they never showed up that great, especially on darker wood.
The paper patterns work as fast, or faster, for me; but, even if they didn't, I'm not doing this for a living, so am not terribly concerned.
JOAT Measure twice, cut once, swear repeatedly.
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On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 16:11:33 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

It is if you have to keep re-tracing from those multiple copies. Especially if you're only tracing part of the pattern on succeeding copies.

When I say 'intricate' I mean things like pictures of wildlife posterized from photographs. That's an awful lot of drawing.

As I say, there's a skill to making making heat transfer patterns and it's learned by experience.

Yep, and you run multiple copies when you make your copies. Easy enough. And, again, faster and more accurate than trying to transfer with carbon paper or something.

Show up fine for me. As I say, you have to get the surface flat for heat transfers to work. I don't think that's at all a bad thing to begin with so I don't see that as extra work.

I suppose you could use a color laser printer and print the pattern in white or yellow toner, but I'll give you that one. I use dressmakers' carbon paper in white or yellow and then go back and touch up with something like a whiteout pen. Something of a PITA, but it works. Only have to do it on woods like walnut. Even brown oak has enough contrast.

Yep. YMMV and that's what makes horse races. Not everyone is going to like doing heat transfers, but for them that do, there are things you need to do to get a good pattern.
--RC (who's getting ready to transfer some patterns for relief carved signs right now.)

Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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Sun, Nov 28, 2004, 12:59am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com mumbles: It is if you have to keep re-tracing from those multiple copies. Especially if you're only tracing part of the pattern on succeeding copies.
I don't re-trace anything. Photo copies. Works just as good on part of the pattern.
When I say 'intricate' I mean things like pictures of wildlife posterized from photographs. That's an awful lot of drawing.
Again, photocopying.
As I say, there's a skill to making making heat transfer patterns and it's learned by experience.
Skill wasn't the problem. Wasn't getting results I liked.
Yep, and you run multiple copies when you make your copies. Easy enough. And, again, faster and more accurate than trying to transfer with carbon paper or something.
I only use carbon paper on one-shot projects, and seldom even then.
Show up fine for me. As I say, you have to get the surface flat for heat transfers to work. I don't think that's at all a bad thing to begin with so I don't see that as extra work.
I suppose you could use a color laser printer and print the pattern in white or yellow toner, but I'll give you that one. I use dressmakers' carbon paper in white or yellow and then go back and touch up with something like a whiteout pen. Something of a PITA, but it works. Only have to do it on woods like walnut. Even brown oak has enough contrast.
Waaay too much bother for me.
Yep. YMMV and that's what makes horse races. Not everyone is going to like doing heat transfers, but for them that do, there are things you need to do to get a good pattern. --RC (who's getting ready to transfer some patterns for relief carved signs right now.)
Like I said, way too much bother for me, the photo copies work great for all that. Or, for a one-time shot, I just use the original drawing, or just draw it out on the wood. Could use a pantograph too, but don't.
JOAT Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind dont matter, and those who matter dont mind. - Dr Seuss
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 21:15:59 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

Okay, now you've got me confused. Do you mean you don't transfer the pattern at all but rather glue down the photocopy on the wood?
For a lot of the stuff I do that doesn't work worth a damn. Try carving through a pattern like that and you'll see what I mean.
But if that's not what you're doing, could you explain your technique to me?
--RC Sleep? Isn't that a totally inadequate substitute for caffine?
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Tue, Nov 30, 2004, 11:44am (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com says: Okay, now you've got me confused.
Ah, my job is done. LOL
Do you mean you don't transfer the pattern at all but rather glue down the photocopy on the wood?
Well, you can use rubber cement, if you want to take the pattern up again; but, yeah, I glue the pattern down. Usually. Sometimes I just draw on the wood.
For a lot of the stuff I do that doesn't work worth a damn. Try carving through a pattern like that and you'll see what I mean.
I have, it worked; but, for carving, I find sketching on the wood works.
But if that's not what you're doing, could you explain your technique to me?
For starters, I don't use rubber cement. Tried that once, and considered it a real PITA to get off once I pulled the used pattern up. Now I use Titebond II thinned half & half with water. Dry overnight and itls like a top layer of wood. Took a bit to perfect the technique, but it works great for me.
For me, your way would be a PITA. Workable, yes, but still a PITA. My way might be workable for you, but a PITA for you. Different strokes, etc.
JOAT Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind dont matter, and those who matter dont mind. - Dr Seuss
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