ST CLAIR SHORES, Mi. - Fractal burning, the controversial process for using high-voltage electricity to create designs in wood, has claimed the life of another man in Michigan.
The unnamed man, who detectives said was around 60 years old, was found dead inside his garage in suburban Detroit. Investigators found the man's severely burned body near fractal burning equipment.
This isn't the first death caused by fractal burning. In mid-2017, The American Association of Woodturners Safety Committee issued a policy against fractal burning, banning it from AAW events after it took the life of a craftsman in Washington.
“It is the policy of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW) that the process known as fractal burning is prohibited from being used in any AAW-sponsored events, including regional and national symposia, and that AAW-chartered chapters are strongly urged to refrain from demonstrating or featuring the process in chapter events,” said the policy. “Further, the process of fractal burning shall not be featured in any written or online AAW publication, except for within articles that warn against its use. AAW publications will not accept advertisements for any products or supplies directly related to the process.”
Our readers had a lot to say on the AAW ban. Our 2017 article was one of the most read articles of the year.
The fractal burning process, also known as Lichtenberg, typically uses a high-voltage transformer, often repurposed from a microwave oven, to flow current across wood items that have been soaked with a chemical solution.
AAW’s Safety Committee urged publication of information warning members about the dangers of the technique in the organization’s magazine, American Woodturner, in its August issue.
Other deaths have been referred to in online reports and in woodworking forums and by the AAW Safety Committee, but no details or confirmation of those other incidents was immediately available.


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