The Search for the Perfect Pen Blank

I arrived on Monday night to allow some time to assemble the pen display, repair or replace anything required, and to relax acclimating to the time change. I ran across Bill at breakfast on Tuesday morning. I was invited to attend one of Bill's hunting (wood) trips. Why not? I took a few photos to capture the event for those not fortunate enough to be there.

Click on thumbnail to view full size image

Did you ever wonder how those world famous Bill Baumbeck stabilized pen blanks come into being?

These boxes contain only part of the stock required for the Woodturners Symposium

Pen blanks, pen blanks, and more pen blanks yet not a drop of water to drink.

The first step in the search for the perfect pen blank is to go to the far reaches of the earth, here Provo, Utah

Sometimes there are clandestine meetings in the parking lot where wood gets transfered just after daylight

Then it's off to one of the suppliers of burl to Bill's empire

Not enough in the downstairs, it's off to the upstairs to check out the Box Elder burl

Every piece is hand chosen by the man himself

And yet another stash of burl to be sorted through

You load up your 3/4 ton to the gunwales ...

and then you load up your friends van ...

until the front end lifts off the ground

After a quick trip to unload into yet another truck, it's off to Craft Supplies to peruse their stocks of burls

Not only does Bill have unfettered access to the stock rooms ...

but he's allowed to search the secret stashes of special stock

After hand selecting only the finest, Bill cuts it, has it stabilized, and then ...


brings it to market to anxious penturners around the world ...

bringing in the heavy hitters like Kip Christiansen and Tim Boddy

It was a great day wood hunting with the gracious Kathy Baumbeck and Wild Bill

Go to CSUSA Open House page 1
Go to CSUSA Open House page 2
Go to CSUSA Open House page 3
Go to CSUSA Open House page 4
Go to Symposium page 1
Go to Symposium page 2
Go to Symposium page 3
Go to Symposium page 4
Go to Symposium page 5
Go to Symposium page 6
Go to Symposium page 7
Go to Symposium page 8
Go to Symposium page 9
Go to Symposium page 10
Go to Symposium page 11
Go to the Symposium Instant Gallery
Photos by Kurt Hertzog