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branding iron

Branding is usually done with a hot metal object to scar the body. It is sometimes seen as an ultimate act of submission and commitment, to slavery if not to the relationship. A brand will be with the slave for many years, and is likely to show a mark for the rest of the person's lifetime. Brands are normally placed high on the outer thigh, on the belly just above the crotch or on the breast.

A mark, normally indicating identity or ownership, is burned into the skin just as might be done on the hide of a animal, with a hot iron. The human skin is much more fragile than, say, a bull's rawhide and a lot more care needs to be taken. A human branding mark is normally much smaller than one for cattle, so care needs to be taken with the design as something too complex is unlikely to work or last.

For some slaves and owners, branding is an intense desire, indicating total commitment and psychologically stamping the slave as property so the slave truly feels owned and wanted. Branding is a common issue in Gorean slavery, often talked about in the novels.

For those with a low pain tolerance or just wanting to pretend about branding, a mark can be applied with an "Sharpie" ink marker or lipstick. Cheat 'brands' might also be applied with tattoos.

Branding should not be considered a part of play or 'scene' and should only be done by a knowledgeable practitioner.

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Although there are other uses (i.e. body modifications) that have little or nothing to do with BDSM, branding is recognized by many in the BDSM community as one of the strongest signs of ownership. A branded slave shows her unconditional surrender since branding marks are virtually impossible to be removed. Even surgery does often fail to remove all traces of the brand.

There are several different methods for branding that all produce different looks.

Traditional Branding

Traditional branding is the same technique used when branding cattle. It is the most difficult branding technique but produces very nice and clear shapes.

At the beginning you will need to select a place for your branding. Traditional brandings can only be done properly on fairly flat and at least semi solid places. The area needs to be flat because it is otherwise impossible to place the branding iron properly. Any moving of the iron will distort the brand. Avoid flabby areas (i.e. buttocks of an overweight person) as the soft tissue easily surrounds the iron and creates a washed out look. Other techniques do not share these limitations. Traditional branding is however the only technique that creates the “original” recessed look rather than just raised scars.

The second step for a traditional branding is to find a proper branding iron. The initial of the dominant partner are most commonly used for a branding. Symbols are less common since a branding does not allow for much detail. Once the form of iron has been determined, the iron can be ordered on-line. There are several places that sell branding irons meant for cattle, wood or steaks. Woodcraft branding irons are not suitable for human branding since the letters are connected to a solid metal base that would scar the whole area. Cattle branding irons come in several different forms. Most of them are too large for human branding. Steak branding irons seem to work well. They are usually fairly small (usually about 1.25” (3cm) to 2” (5cm) high) and are shipped without questions with customizable lettering right to your door. Steak branding irons with customizable symbols are rare.

Once you have procured a proper iron, you will need to do several test brandings. Since branding marks are permanent you will need to practice on raw meats. Unfortunately no meat comes close to the consistency of the human skin. Some people recommend skinned chicken breasts, others recommend tender cuts of red meat. It is recommended that the person receiving the brand is present so that he or she can get used to the burned smell and make sure she likes the result.

To perform the branding, the area needs to be properly shaved and cleaned. The heat of the iron will destroy most if not all bacteria in the area but hair or any foreign objects can easily melt into the skin. Then the iron needs to be heated. Most branding irons come with proper instructions for heating. Follow these instructions but avoid placing the iron directly into places where it can collect large amounts of ash as that will change the final appearance of the branding. Once the iron has reached proper temperature you are ready for the branding. Some people recommend that the receiving person should be restrained but that is a personal preference. Remember, any moving on either person during the time that the iron has contact with the skin will result in a washed out look of the branding. The actual branding should be fairly painless as the heat will instantly destroy skin and nerve endings. Most people agree that the smell of burned skin is much worse. Make sure to not move and pull the iron straight away from the skin when done. For this type of branding, follow the care instructions for a second degree burn.

Multi-Strike Branding

Multi-strike brand

Unlike in traditional brandings that are done in one strike, multi strike brandings use a much smaller piece of metal that is repeatedly heated and used to burn the skin. This approach is much less error prone and can create more delicate and complex images. On the downside, it takes longer and requires much more endurance from the branded person. The final result will not exhibit the relief from a traditional branding but is going to be just a series of raised scars, similar to other scaring methods.

First you need to decide on the design you want to produce. This design can be more complex however you should avoid placing lines closer than a quarter inch (6mm) together (more if you use a thicker metal piece). Draw the design on paper first and then decide in what order you want to do the branding. Then you need to cut the pieces of metal. Avoid pieces longer than 1” (2.5cm) as they can become hard to work with. If you use thin metal pieces they can easily be bent to follow curves or go around corners.

Once you have the metal pieces laid out, you should try the technique on a piece of raw meat. First Transfer the drawing to the meat. This can be done with marker on thin paper or by cutting out the original paper pattern. Once the pattern is properly placed you need to heat up the metal. A blow torch works well. Starting at one end, follow the pattern. If you use the same metal piece twice do not strike twice in a row - you need to reheat the metal after each stroke.

When you are happy with the design and are capable to reproducing it easily, you need to transfer the pattern to the skin. Then follow the same technique and complete. Depending on the size of the branding, this kind of branding needs aftercare following instructions for either first or second degree burns.

Electrocautery Brandings

The third method of branding is probably the most flexible but painful method. It requires equipment not available to most people. Electrocautery was designed for medical uses like burning off unhealthy tissue or warts. The technique is fairly straight forward and the looks are very similar to that of multi-strike brandings.

You design the pattern, transfer it to the skin and then follow the outline with the tip of the electrocautery device. The pain will be much stronger than with the other methods. Make sure to maintain a constant speed as the speed of movement controls the width of the resulting brand.

The aftercare for this type of branding is like treating a first degree burn.

Also see the page [ Branding aftercare ]

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