Woodworking Interviews #1: Pen Blank Perfectionist - Zac Higgins Interview

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Blog entry by CharlieK posted 06-01-2016 01:19 PM 1987 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Woodworking Interviews series Part 2: Marc Spagnuolo, aka The Wood Whisperer Interview »

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We moved around a lot when I was a kid. Born in Chicago, and lived in Missouri, Reno, Denver, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis. Within those locations we sometimes moved between multiple addresses. I always say that I grew up in Reno, Nevada because that is where I spent the majority of my life before I turned 18 years old. We left Reno when I was 17 and I visited there again just this past January.

I only tell you this to because it was during this trip to Reno when I met Zac Higgins. As much as I enjoyed tromping around my old neighborhoods, meeting Zac was certainly one of the best parts of my visit!

Zac Higgins and me at his shop in Carson City, NV

Zac is a very friendly guy who is easy to like. He is the kind of guy you want to hang around with, easy going, yet engaging. Zac does like to talk, but he also likes to listen and I really enjoyed the time I spent with him.
Zac shares shop space with his father and his Dad is pretty cool guy, too! In addition to the interview we also did a shop shop tour while I was there and I will talk more about that later. This article is more about Zac himself.

Zac was a real estate appraiser in Las Vegas in 2008. As most of you know, Las Vegas was one of the worst hit cities during the real estate crash. It was a very tough time for Zac, but he viewed it as an opportunity to move into something that he was more passionate about. He already loved woodworking, so he started his own business called NV Woodwerks. At first he planned to build custom furniture, but that wasn’t paying the bills. Then he stumbled upon acrylic pen blanks and he was hooked!

The more I talked to Zac the more obvious it became that he really likes what he is doing. It also became obvious that he is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to his pen blanks.

Currently close to 90% of his work is making specialized pen blanks. My favorite was his “Dark Side of the Moon” pen blank.

Dark side of the moon pen blank by Zac Higgins

When I met with him he was focusing on two different types of pen blanks. First was acrylic pen blanks with some other material mixed in like sagebrush, pine cones and colored pasta! He is constantly experimenting with different materials and I can’t even guess what he will try next!

A big part of his business is making pens with swirls of color that match the colors of different sports teams.

Saints Pen Blanks

I was most blown away when he described how he develops the colors for the different team pen blanks. He studies the teams, their hats, shirts, jerseys, their logos and anything he can find to help him develop a precise mix of colors to match each and every team. If he can’t get a perfect match then he won’t sell a blank for that team, period. It’s as simple as that because Zac is the kind of guy who stands behind his work.

Panther pen blanks

Zac also has a great YouTube channel where he openly shares the secrets he has learned about casting, stabilizing wood, and anything else that he thinks he viewers would enjoy. Zac’s YouTube Channel

I hope you enjoyed this blog entry and the accompanying video. Please check out some of my other blog articles and let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans

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9070 posts in 4125 days

#1 posted 06-02-2016 01:49 AM


Keep on keepin on! Noticed that some of your videos have gotten a lot of attention. Just got back from Mankato. Going back tomorrow.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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