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Sagebrush: The Next Great Woodworking Material!

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Sagebrush Pen and Sagebrush Pen Blank

Wild Sagebrush growing in NevadaAs it turns out, Nevada’s most plentiful resource isn’t merely a source for allergies anymore. I’ve lived in Nevada my entire life, and I have to say that sagebrush is so ubiquitous that I almost don’t notice it anymore. Everywhere you turn all across the state, you will find sagebrush growing. Well, I finally figured out a good use for it… Pens (and other such things)!

One of the goals that I have had for NV Woodworks since I started making and selling gift items is to come up with something that is all about Nevada. I wanted to create something that embodies Nevada, is highly useful, and is absolutely beautiful as well. Well, I have been racking my brain for a couple years now, and I finally put together a design that I think has reached that goal, and the main ingredient is sagebrush.

I know, it doesn’t sound too exciting… What could you possibly do with sagebrush that would be worth looking at? Well as it turns out, when you mix sagebrush with some acrylic and turn it on a lathe you get some spectacular results!

The Back Story

So, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The truth is, I have been trying to squeeze out a cool design using sagebrush for quite a while now. Unfortunately, the previous ideas and attempts to turn the ugly duckling into a swan failed miserably. So miserably, in fact, that I had almost given up on our good friend the sagebrush to produce any worthwhile results.

First Sagebrush Pen showing the original blank and the resulting penLuckily, I had not given up, and the sagebrush finally showed it’s true beauty! It turns out that the magic recipe is casting the sagebrush in acrylic resin. It’s amazing how similar to the Nevada blue sky with clouds, or it also reminds me of a satellite view of islands with waves crashing up on them. I think the really awesome part of this new creation of mine is the fact that every batch I make is totally unique. Every piece of sagebrush is different, and the way it lays in the acrylic will change the look of it.

Second Sagebrush Pen Batch and a shot of the Nevada Sky that looks exactly like the penThe photos above show the first sagebrush cast pen blanks and the resulting pen. In the photos to the left, you’ll see the second batch and a little white added to the mix. I accidentally added some white coloring to the mix and it created a work of art! You see a nice photo of the beautiful Nevada Sky and Mountains… looks a lot like that pen, doesn’t it? I took that picture the day I made that pen, and in that moment knew that these pens truly do embody Nevada.

I will keep attempting new ideas, but I am really excited about the design that I have so far. Heck, I even sold one already on Etsy before they were even listed. I was really excited about that sale because it was purchased as a gift to a local Reno author who recently published a book. I don’t think there is a more perfect person to give a Genuine Nevada Sagebrush Pen.

Sagebrush Ring and Sagebrush Ring blanks arranged in letter PiAs I mentioned in my last post, there will be some new additions to my product lineup in the coming months. Something that I am really excited about is turning rings (the kind that go on your finger). I’ve been working on the process a bit, and since I had some leftover Sagebrush pen blank, I decided to see what a Nevada Sagebrush ring would look like. Turns out, sagebrush is useful for much more than just pens!

Well, you can probably tell that I’m excited about sagebrush (for the first time in my life), and I’m also excited to have finally listed them in my online store as well. This first batch is being bought up quick, but don’t worry… I don’t plan on running out of sagebrush anytime soon!

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  • Tom May 13, 2015, 9:29 PM

    Is there a company that sells a pressure pot with all modification made? Ready for use…Thx. .Tom

    • Zac Higgins May 13, 2015, 11:17 PM

      Hey Tom, I don’t know of one that is totally ready go out of the box. Even the expensive one I recently bought that’s supposed to be set up for it required me to add some plumbing fixtures. I’m not sure if it would help out, but I do have a video that covers how I set up the plumbing on my Harbor Freight pressure pot: https://youtu.be/vO1sD3rvZdA

  • Dirk Mitchell October 23, 2015, 4:43 PM

    I was happy to see someone using sagebrush. I am new to casting/turning, so new in fact that I dont have a lathe, or resin yet….. I have built molds and I am finishing my pressure pot now. I have my resin on order and I am waiting for it to show up. I lived in Northern Nevada for a lot of my life and I love sagebrush. I am really curious and excited to figure out ways to use it. Thanks for all the videos you have made, especially the ones about casting I cannot wait to get started and I know I will have a much more enjoyable time doing it thanks to your how to videos giving me a great place to start.

    • Zac Higgins October 23, 2015, 11:56 PM

      Hey Dirk, I’m glad that my videos have been helpful for you to get going. Once I got into casting and figured out a few things, I hoped that I could share what I had learned so others can skip over the mundane things and jump right into real experimentation. The possibilities are pretty much endless with resin, I’m still amazed to this day at how many applications it has.

      The beauty of sagebrush is it’s free and it’s everywhere! It’s pretty gnarly stuff, but it turns out pretty nice when cast in resin. I hope to see what you come up with when you get up and running with it.

  • Darby October 27, 2015, 4:14 PM

    Bottom of this page: http://nvwoodwerks.com/sagebrush-the-next-great-woodworking-material/

    Your Etsy link is dead just so you know…

    • Zac Higgins October 28, 2015, 12:49 PM

      Thanks for letting me know Darby. I wrote that article before I had my website set up for sales, so I just took it out and linked to my website shop.

  • Tom Sparks January 31, 2016, 5:02 AM

    Hello, I saw a few vids of turners using your bowl blocks and they were incredible. I would love to give it a try but I’m a disabled veteran anx am limited on work shops space so casting my own is out of the question.
    So my question is, is there anywhere you know of where I could purchase small quantities of bowl turning stock in cast resin. Any help would be appreciated, Thank you very much and keep on making those beautiful pieces you do.

    • Zac Higgins January 31, 2016, 9:18 AM

      Hey Tom, Thank you for your service! I don’t really have any ideas on where to get small quantities of bowl blanks, and I’m not entirely sure which blanks of mine you saw. I don’t think I’ve made any bowl blanks yet, I primarily sell pen blanks. The only ideas I can think of are to check on Etsy or eBay for blanks.

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