In addition to voltage, the burner’s level of amperes, or “amps”—a measure of electrical current—is also important; the greater the amps, the greater the risk. Furthermore, the transformer, wire, insulators, and other components used to construct a Lichtenberg burner also contribute to the risks of using it if they are not properly rated. Simply getting a Lichtenberg burner with very low amperage and made from correctly rated, quality components may not be sufficient to protect the user. Even low-amperage current can stop a beating heart if it passes through at the wrong moment.
This technique is used to create beautiful lightning-like or tree-like patterns on wood. It involves conducting high-voltage electricity through chemically-treated wood where the electricity burns in the patterns. Some fractal burning art is crafted by professionals with experience as electricians and access to proper equipment. But many attempting the popular craft take apart microwaves or car batteries to use as power sources.
If you grabbed one electrode of a Lichtenberg burner in each hand while the voltage is on, the electricity could flow from one hand, across your heart, and out the other hand. Accidental skin contact with an energized electrode, the electrolyte, a loose wire, or even standing on a conductive floor can all contribute to conditions causing electrocution. Lichtenberg burning works by passing electricity at very high voltage between two electrodes while they are in contact with a piece of wood.
A certain amount of healthy respect is incurred fairly quickly. A routine of not only switching things off, but also discharging them and actually checking if is in fact not still live. I prefer remote switching for things like Tesla coils and Jacob’s ladders. High frequency skin effect, high static potential, lots of currant and several hundred kV can reach further than might be expected. Most of the time I like to play with lower voltages but we all get that urge to experiment occasionally. Might be that they are master woodworkers, and saw a demo of such a thing that didn’t teach the ‘obvious’ to the master Electrician doing the demo safety procedures.
You’ll need to be near it once the juice is going, to reapply saltwater , so you still need to be careful. Results can be pretty, but not worth risking your life over. I’ve done this with salvaged neon sign transformers a few times. They aren’t hard to come by and work just fine for the project. But I suppose they aren’t as handily available as dead microwave ovens- you might actually have to buy it on eBay. Mine were salvaged from a trash bin at a demolished restaurant, along with a couple of still functional neon letters in case I needed a glowing A or G someday.
As a welder, blacksmith and hobby wood worker I’ll probably make one from a bursted microwave to incorporate into river cast pieces. Of corse I’ll probably build it into an enclosure, much like a sand blasting booth because I’m not suicidal. Usually the line goes where you start demanding the power to ban this and that, because once given such power, people natural wood kitchen cabinets with white countertops start solving “other problems” with it. Often enough the original moral panic is merely a convenient excuse. Even one death is statistically meaningful to a corporation when it carries the risk of a lawsuit. Our microwave broke – probably the controller board or a relay or something – the thing was stuck on, and only tuned off when the door was opened .
But it probably falls into the “it ain’t worth it” category. Definitely nothing to trifle with or to not take seriously. Needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding.
Oak is also a great choice for flooring, but not as good as maple, which is why it is perfect for fractal burning as well. Oak is one of the most used woods in the United States, it has somewhat of a traditional significance for the people. But out of both oak types, red oak is cheaper and more affordable. If you keep affordability in mind, then red oak is the winner, but in terms of grain pattern and density, white oak is victorious. At least 33 people have died as a result of fractal burning, according to the American Association of Woodturners. Electrocution happens when high-voltage electricity enters through any part of the body, passes across the heart, and then exits the body.
Fractal burning can be safe if left to professionals who know what they’re doing. Chicago artist Eric Beauchamp showed Inside Edition the carefully controlled method he’s perfected, but even with proper equipment and safeguards in place he says there’s risk in fractal burning. I have a friend who was camping in a tent and a nearby tree was hit by lightning.
However, the overall product has not been evaluated to any known electrical safety standard for this type of product, as applicable to Canadian consumers and marketplace. Lichtenberg generators may also have counterfeit electrical safety approval labels applied to them to falsely indicate they are safe and approved. James Carolfi and Tanya Rodriguez were electrocuted while they were wood burning. Even it that were years ago, I would seek a medical examination. A human hart is a “go / no go” thing it can carry damage for along time. The damage may be correctable or risk of premature death can be reduced but only while you”re still alive.