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. Well, actually I moved out when I was 17 but that is a long and unpleasant story. 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 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. NV Woodwerks.com 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.
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.
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.
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 article and the accompanying video. Please check out some of my other blog articles and let me know what you think by leaving a comment.