Anyone in So Cal interested in connecting

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naynay

Member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
35
Location
San Diego, CA
I do have questions!! I have to do things on small scale due to income restraints but I work at living a full life. Right now, I am looking for blanks and haven't ruled out free wood. I would like to know if free wood is worth using. There is free wood listed here in town that is not pine and I thought of getting a couple of pieces even if I have to pay to have it squared off so that it can be cut into blanks. Is this good enough for pen use? I know wood needs to be dried for a couple of years before it can be used(correct me if I am wrong) but I figured why turn down something free if it can be used.
 
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RobS

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Joined
Jun 20, 2016
Messages
534
Location
Carlsbad, CA
Naynay -Rockler in Orange has some nice blanks for about $1 each. That would be your best bet for practice and they actually look nice. usually they are a type of Rosewood.
 

naynay

Member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
35
Location
San Diego, CA
Naynay -Rockler in Orange has some nice blanks for about $1 each. That would be your best bet for practice and they actually look nice. usually they are a type of Rosewood.
Thanks for the tip. I purchased that 12 pack for 9.99. The lowest I saw blanks for was $1.49 so still looking around for some nice practice blanks. I've started looking around town for other sources of wood.
 
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penicillin

Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
183
Nearly anything can be made into pen blanks. Here are some suggestions:

Boards:
Instead of buying expensive pen blanks, buy the ends of the nice big boards in the back of that San Diego Rockler Store. My local Rockler will cut off the end of a board as long as you leave a minimum of 4 feet of board left for them to sell. You can buy a 6 or 12 inch end of a board and cut it into pen blanks for much lower cost than buying individual pen blanks in the pen blank section. Use a bandsaw or other thin kerf blade to reduce waste when you cut up the blanks.

Old Furniture:
I made pens from my parents' old china cabinet. They had given the dining room set to the neighbor. When she moved out, all that was left was the base, and she put that out on the street. I salvaged it and used some of the smaller scraps to make pens for my family, who appreciated the sentimental value. You can find nice hardwood furniture at the local thrift store and many free sources.

Old Corian Countertop Samples:
See if your local kitchen supply has Corian samples to give away. Make them into pens.

Downed and Trimmed Tree Branches:
Woods that have little value as furniture can be spectacular as pens. We had a high wind a few days ago, and a small branch of our pepper tree came down. I turned a small piece, and it was very pretty. I saved some bigger pieces and will make a few pens from it. If I can salvage a big enough piece, I may try making a pepper grinder, which seems fitting. Remember to give your fresh wood blanks plenty of time to dry before using them. Protect the ends with wax or something similar. I am eager to try a piece of our bottlebrush tree when we trim it.

Friends, other giveaways:
A friend gave me pieces from the cherry tree he had to remove. A nearby city removed their olive trees and everyone got a windfall from that. Any time you hear one of those loud chippers, go over and see what kind of tree they are chopping up. If it is a nice hardwood, ask if you can keep a few branches. They won't mind. Usually the problem is too much wood, not enough time.

Get Creative:
You can make pens from nearly anything. Wood is everywhere, and you would be surprised at how pretty random scraps can be when turned into a finished pen.

Even bland, grainless wood makes nice pens. One of my favorite pens is a cheap gold Slimline made from plain maple. It doesn't have the drama of the pens that people post here, but it has the right shape, feels good in the hand, and writes well. It is a simple wooden pen that is vastly superior to any cheap crappy plastic pen that people use these days.
 

naynay

Member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
35
Location
San Diego, CA
This is what I plan on doing. There is some avocado wood that is free but I need to decide if it's worth driving to Escondido for a couple of pieces.
 

dogcatcher

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
1,827
Location
TX, NM or on the road
Cabinet shops are a good source of free wood. Usually just maple, birch, and sometimes walnut. Dumpster diving can be profitable. Another source is pallets at places that import from Japan, China and other places, The shipping pallets sometimes are made of exotic woods. Junk furniture that is made from real wood. Some city dump recycle yard's for tree trimmers, ours lets us collect limbs for firewood, if you know your trees, a good source, but a hard job making into blanks and waiting fpr it to dry.
 
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