Great But Affordable Worthless Wood/Hybrid Blanks

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Feb 2, 2016
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San Luis Obispo
Hi everyone! I've been a part of this community for awhile now and love everyone's input and advice they give. I was so amazed when I first found out about this site. Over the last couple months I've been getting into the world of casting with alumilite, and I've been having so much fun. I've gotten into pinecones, and worthless wood style castings with pieces of grapewood that I have.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, I've realized that a lot of the worthless wood style blanks that are sold online are very expensive. From $12-$15+ for the most part. Maybe there are some cheaper ones out there, but I haven't been able to find any easily.

So I was thinking of adding another side to my pen business and start selling cheap and affordable worthless wood blanks. I was thinking around $8-$10 per blank depending on the figure and wood used. I like making the worthless wood blanks with grapewood because I've never seen it done, and the grapewood can vary in lightness and darkness a lot.

Sorry to make this long post, and I'm not sure if this type of post is appropriate or in the right section, so please let me know if I shouldn't be posting this because I am new to the community in terms of posting. I just wanted to see if you all would be interested, because I personally love worthless wood blanks, they're just so expensive to buy.

I will attach some pictures of finished products I've made from my blanks. Let me know if you have any questions or if I should redirect this post somewhere else. I plan on making a lot more colors, and doing things with burl caps as well, these are just some pictures I took with my phone of what I have already turned.

PS: I'm a college student trying to make some extra money and share my hobby. :)

Thanks!
Casey
 

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magpens

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Joined
Feb 2, 2011
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
I like the look of what you have shown and would be interested in buying some cast grapevine blanks.

Not sure what you are showing in the last 2 pics ... are they bottlestoppers ?
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2016
Messages
7
Location
San Luis Obispo
I like the look of what you have shown and would be interested in buying some cast grapevine blanks.

Not sure what you are showing in the last 2 pics ... are they bottlestoppers ?
Yes they are bottle stoppers. I forgot to put in that note at the bottom because I decided to add those pictures last minute. However I still need to work on perfecting my bottle stopper blanks for the grapewood, but I can still do them.

I will get the page up and running on my site within the next few days and I will post a link, however for now just PM me what you would like and I can make it happen!

Also another note regarding the pens with pine cone pieces in them. They were made with very large pinecones and so they don't look as good as they will when I have smaller pinecones to use which will be soon.
 
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robutacion

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
5,974
Location
Australia - SA Adelaide Hills
G'day young Casey:biggrin:

You will find that when it comes to "casting", there is not much out there that have not been done, including using the grapevine "wood" that is not really a wood.

I recall seeing a vine pen made by someone many years ago and I have also made good use of a good tonne of grapevine wood that was pulled out after 40 years of producing some of the most famous wine made in Australia, the McLaren Vale Shiraz Red wine.

I have sold many of those blanks including the cast ones that I still have listed on my web-store and many hundred of blanks I have stabilised and ready to go, from natural colour to dyed.

You are correct, grapevine make beautiful stuff, I do however, give you some free advice in regards to preserving/storing the raw grapevine, I lost almost half of what I collected after the vine dried all its sap that was the only thing that kept a particular type of bug/wood borer from literally making hundreds of pin-holes on the vine that had to be burn to kill the devils however, many of them have contaminated many other woods that were near by so, threat what you have before is too late...!

There is nothing wrong with trying to make some extra money to pay for your education or anything else you may need, be creative and not a copier, casting has limitless opportunities...!

Best of luck,

Cheers
George
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2016
Messages
7
Location
San Luis Obispo
G'day young Casey:biggrin:

You will find that when it comes to "casting", there is not much out there that have not been done, including using the grapevine "wood" that is not really a wood.

I recall seeing a vine pen made by someone many years ago and I have also made good use of a good tonne of grapevine wood that was pulled out after 40 years of producing some of the most famous wine made in Australia, the McLaren Vale Shiraz Red wine.

I have sold many of those blanks including the cast ones that I still have listed on my web-store and many hundred of blanks I have stabilised and ready to go, from natural colour to dyed.

You are correct, grapevine make beautiful stuff, I do however, give you some free advice in regards to preserving/storing the raw grapevine, I lost almost half of what I collected after the vine dried all its sap that was the only thing that kept a particular type of bug/wood borer from literally making hundreds of pin-holes on the vine that had to be burn to kill the devils however, many of them have contaminated many other woods that were near by so, threat what you have before is too late...!

There is nothing wrong with trying to make some extra money to pay for your education or anything else you may need, be creative and not a copier, casting has limitless opportunities...!

Best of luck,

Cheers
George
Hi George,

Thanks for you reply. I understand and agree that grapevine is not really a wood, however I still like the sound of calling it "grapewood" and since I do stabilize my pieces, it's characteristics are practically identical.

All of the grapevine that I use comes from California, so I'm not sure what the difference would be between Californian grapevine and Australian grapevine, but I would love to see some pictures of what you're talking about.

I really appreciate the advice in storing the grapevine, since I will probably have to start harvesting my own at some point and drying it and doing everything else myself. Currently I get my grapevine from a supplier who dries it, and then sandblasts it. I haven't had any experience with any bugs or anything like that, but thanks for the advice, I will keep an eye out.

I definitely want to try to stay creative, which is why I want to keep pursuing these type of blanks. Other than you, I still haven't heard much use of grapevine blanks or blanks cast with grapevine, and hopefully it stays that way. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm sure there are other people out there who have done similar things like us with it, I just haven't been able to find them easily.

Thanks for the encouragement and kind words George!

Casey
 

Edgar

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Feb 6, 2013
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Location
Alvin, TX 77511
I have a LOT of wild Mustang Grape vines on my farm. It's mostly a nuisance & I'm constantly cutting & pulling it away from my trees. Most of my vines don't get more than 2-3" in diameter, but I've pulled some down that were over 50' long. Some that grow in areas that are not problematic are over 6" in diameter. I've harvested some of those larger vines, let them dry & made pens and bottle stoppers from them - no stabilizing or casting. The "wood" in those large vines is quite solid. I do have plans for casting some of my vines, just haven't started doing so yet. I don't expect to be any marketing competition for you though. Have fun & keep posting photos.
 

RDH79

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Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
1,416
Location
Rimersburg, Pa, USA.
Hi Casey, I will watch for some of your work. I haven't bought any of the worthless wood blanks because of the price. I would like to give yours a try when your ready to sell.
Rich
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2016
Messages
7
Location
San Luis Obispo
I have a LOT of wild Mustang Grape vines on my farm. It's mostly a nuisance & I'm constantly cutting & pulling it away from my trees. Most of my vines don't get more than 2-3" in diameter, but I've pulled some down that were over 50' long. Some that grow in areas that are not problematic are over 6" in diameter. I've harvested some of those larger vines, let them dry & made pens and bottle stoppers from them - no stabilizing or casting. The "wood" in those large vines is quite solid. I do have plans for casting some of my vines, just haven't started doing so yet. I don't expect to be any marketing competition for you though. Have fun & keep posting photos.
Well let me know if you ever have too much vines taking up space and I'd be glad to take them off your hands and give you some form of compensation! Some of the pieces I've gotten have been quite thick too, and I completely agree that they can be quite solid. I'm sure you'll have just as much fun as I do when you get to casting them! Will do Ed, thanks for the encouragement.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2016
Messages
7
Location
San Luis Obispo
Hi Casey, I will watch for some of your work. I haven't bought any of the worthless wood blanks because of the price. I would like to give yours a try when your ready to sell.
Rich
Hi Rich, I will send you a PM sometime tomorrow evening if not sooner. Your situation is the perfect example of what I'm trying to provide a remedy for! I am currently ready to sell, just need to stock up on inventory some more.
 

robutacion

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
5,974
Location
Australia - SA Adelaide Hills
G'day young Casey:biggrin:

You will find that when it comes to "casting", there is not much out there that have not been done, including using the grapevine "wood" that is not really a wood.

I recall seeing a vine pen made by someone many years ago and I have also made good use of a good tonne of grapevine wood that was pulled out after 40 years of producing some of the most famous wine made in Australia, the McLaren Vale Shiraz Red wine.

I have sold many of those blanks including the cast ones that I still have listed on my web-store and many hundred of blanks I have stabilised and ready to go, from natural colour to dyed.

You are correct, grapevine make beautiful stuff, I do however, give you some free advice in regards to preserving/storing the raw grapevine, I lost almost half of what I collected after the vine dried all its sap that was the only thing that kept a particular type of bug/wood borer from literally making hundreds of pin-holes on the vine that had to be burn to kill the devils however, many of them have contaminated many other woods that were near by so, threat what you have before is too late...!

There is nothing wrong with trying to make some extra money to pay for your education or anything else you may need, be creative and not a copier, casting has limitless opportunities...!

Best of luck,

Cheers
George
Hi George,

Thanks for you reply. I understand and agree that grapevine is not really a wood, however I still like the sound of calling it "grapewood" and since I do stabilize my pieces, it's characteristics are practically identical.

All of the grapevine that I use comes from California, so I'm not sure what the difference would be between Californian grapevine and Australian grapevine, but I would love to see some pictures of what you're talking about.

I really appreciate the advice in storing the grapevine, since I will probably have to start harvesting my own at some point and drying it and doing everything else myself. Currently I get my grapevine from a supplier who dries it, and then sandblasts it. I haven't had any experience with any bugs or anything like that, but thanks for the advice, I will keep an eye out.

I definitely want to try to stay creative, which is why I want to keep pursuing these type of blanks. Other than you, I still haven't heard much use of grapevine blanks or blanks cast with grapevine, and hopefully it stays that way. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm sure there are other people out there who have done similar things like us with it, I just haven't been able to find them easily.

Thanks for the encouragement and kind words George!

Casey
Well Casey pens made with my vine are plentiful here on IAP, a quick search and you will get to see a few.

The start of my grape wood has started here read through it and make sure you have a good look at post #30

Have fun...!

Cheers
George
 

Edgar

New Member Advocate
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
5,400
Location
Alvin, TX 77511
I have a LOT of wild Mustang Grape vines on my farm. It's mostly a nuisance & I'm constantly cutting & pulling it away from my trees. Most of my vines don't get more than 2-3" in diameter, but I've pulled some down that were over 50' long. Some that grow in areas that are not problematic are over 6" in diameter. I've harvested some of those larger vines, let them dry & made pens and bottle stoppers from them - no stabilizing or casting. The "wood" in those large vines is quite solid. I do have plans for casting some of my vines, just haven't started doing so yet. I don't expect to be any marketing competition for you though. Have fun & keep posting photos.
Well let me know if you ever have too much vines taking up space and I'd be glad to take them off your hands and give you some form of compensation! Some of the pieces I've gotten have been quite thick too, and I completely agree that they can be quite solid. I'm sure you'll have just as much fun as I do when you get to casting them! Will do Ed, thanks for the encouragement.
Casey, if you would like to try some of my wild Texas grape vine, just send me a PM with your address and I'll ship you a large flat rate box of vines to play with. I'll cover the shipment & all I ask in return is a couple of bottle stoppers made from this material.

Here's a photo of what I have available right now. This is mostly 1-2" pieces and a few 2-3" pieces. It's from a long, large vine that was about 4" at its base that I cut a couple of years ago. I kept the first 30' or so of the vine that was at least an inch in diameter and stacked it on a shipping pallet under my tractor shed to dry. I'll cut some of this into 11-12" pieces and cram as much as I can into an LFRB if you want some.

I haven't checked the MC on these yet, but with our Texas Gulf Coast humidity, nothing ever dries below 11-13% on its own. So even after a couple of years of air drying, they will probably still need some further toaster oven or microwave drying before you cast them with Alumilite.

Edgar
 

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Noot17

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2017
Messages
155
Location
Oregon
Great idea, Casey! I just started pen turning so I'm still practicing with cheap wood, but find the hybrid blanks to be really cool. I would be interested in purchasing from you down the line. An $8 blank is a lot easier to stomach than $15 ...
I also really like the blue and green blanks you made. Nice work!

Any chance you would be willing to cast some blanks from wood I sent you? I have a piece of Burl I'm going to start working with in the next few months and want to get some hybrids out of it, but don't want to invest in all the stuff to do it my self yet...


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