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Canadian Woodworker Singes Lichtenberg Figures Into His Creations

Science By

In Paul Lemiski’s workshop, some of his custom wood furniture and items get the artisan’s equivalent of the electric chair, day in and day out. But the final product is anything but sinister. Indeed, it’s nothing short of brilliant.

He first got hooked on woodworking in high school. Since then, Lemiski has been mostly self-taught, opening up his Canadian Woodworks shop in Acton, Ontario, and never looking back. On the shop’s website, you can find everything from stools and chairs to tabletops and armoires. But the real attraction is a series of cutting boards (which are all, sadly, currently sold out) that feature tree-branch-like burn-marks singed into their surfaces. (These marks are also featured on other items, such as a coatrack.) Known as “Lichtenberg figures,” Lemiski produces them with a tool that looks like a cross between a robotic arm and a torture device.

In the annals of “don’t try this at home,” this ranks at about an 11. However, Lichtenberg figures are actually fairly easy to make—you just need to find a needle point and a source of high voltage (learn more about how to make the magic wand here). It goes without saying you should never be holding these with your bare hands unless you want to become a version of a Lichtenberg figure yourself.

For more on Canadian Woodworks, click here. Below, take a look at some videos on Lemiski’s Instagram of him creating Lichtenberg figures on wood surfaces. At the bottom, explore some of the finished products Lemiski has created using the method.