Nevada Blue & Silver Sagebrush Infused
Each blank is 100% unique, but the colors remain constant due to the extensive testing and documentation of specific color recipes. Standard pen blank sizes are 5″ x 3/4″ x 3/4″, and prices are per blank.
The process of casting sagebrush pen blanks starts with material selection. Luckily, I live in Nevada (The Sagebrush State), and have ample supply of materials all around me. I usually use sagebrush that grows in Northern Nevada. I gather branches and stalks of all sizes and strip the bark off first. Then, they are cut to size and stabilized using a TurnTex stabilizing chamber as well as Cactus Juice stabilizing resin.
During stabilization, all the air is sucked out of the interior cell structure of the sagebrush, then a stabilizing resin replaces the air. Once the vacuum process is complete, the wood is baked until the resin has cured. This effectively removes any “wood movement” issues caused by changes in the relative humidity. Once cured, the sagebrush can be added to the Alumilite castings.
To make the blanks, sagebrush is placed into a casting mold, then Alumilite casting resin is added to the mold around the wood. It is them placed in a pressure pot to remove any air bubbles from the casting, and it cures in the pot. Individual blanks are then cut out of the brick.
Being a native Nevadan, it is important to me to utilize local materials when possible. I came up with the idea of using sagebrush due to the fact that it is so abundant in Nevada… almost to the point of being annoying! Because one of Nevada’s nicknames is “The Sagebrush State” I really wanted to be able to incorporate it in my work somehow. Casting resins gave me that ability, and the rest is history. Once turned round, the mixture of dyed resin and sagebrush gives beautiful results for a finished product.
I use sagebrush blanks for pens, bangles, bottle stoppers, and many other items that I sell. It’s the perfect gift when you need something that is 100% Nevadan! On the other hand, it’s simply one of the most unique pen blanks you can find.
I would recommend dry sanding the blanks and adding a CA or similar top coat finish. Although the wood is stabilized, it’s not waterproof and swelling could occur during wet sanding. I sand the piece to 1000 grit dry, then add about 5-10 coats of thin CA glue on top. Once the top coat has been applied, you can then wet sand the finish. It is possible to simply polish the blanks without adding a hard top coat, but you will get a more durable finish with the top coat applied, plus more depth and gloss in your finish.
The Alumilite Advantage!
Alumilite is by far the best resin I’ve found for casting pen blanks. It’s a joy to turn, yet it polishes up to a high gloss. Finishing these blanks doesn’t get any simpler! Just sand it up to a high grit or use micro mesh pads, then finish it off with some plastic polish or on a buffing wheel.
GOOD BYE CHIPOUT!! Alumilite resin is not brittle like many of the mass produced or polyester resin blanks on the market. The blanks are cast under pressure to ensure there are no voids or trapped air bubbles in the blanks.