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In the ’90s many budding (and retired) woodworkers made extra cash by turning rare wood into pen casings, then selling them to “luxury” pen buyers for big bucks. It got so popular as a pastime that companies began selling blanks and all the hardware in kit form. Hell, some companies even made a name for themselves selling the whole shebang up to and including chucks and mini-lathes. For a while you couldn’t talk to five people about woodworking without running into someone who’d tell you about their side business making pens.

I realized today that I haven’t run into one of those folks in quite a while. But I did run into an ad for the iPhone case pictured above. From a company called Gresso, it’s made of “200-year old African Blackwood […] a rare, exclusive material of incredible strength and durability.” The back-panel Apple logo is 18-karat gold. Your price: just $4,500.

No, really. Some — albeit probably only a few — people are willing to pay just shy of five grand for a wood iPhone case. I see an opportunity.

Some quick Googling turned up a couple of sources for “African blackwood,” and though none appeared perfect for the job, I’m positive I could find the appropriate stock for no more than $50. Pen blanks — generally 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 6″ run about $13, table legs run around $80, and I found a whole African blackwood dreadnought guitar kit on eBay for $475. Rockler sells a whole 20-piece turning blank assortment for $200, which includes lots of “rare” (and probably durable) woods. This doesn’t even take into account the veneer market.

I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what it’d take to drill a camera hole and fit it into the case. Just remember that you need to keep your solution under about three freakin’ thousand dollars to leave room for a healthy profit margin — and a little spare change to get a paper-thin Apple logo made and gold plated.

Just think what you could get for an iPad version.

iPhone 4 for Man [Gresso]


9 Responses to Gadget Cases: The New Wooden Pen?

  1. russ says:

    From the pictures it doesn’t look like a camera case. It is just a panel on the back. Nothing is on the front and it doesn’t even cover the antennae that has given the iP4 some problems. A case is suppose to cover, this one does not.

  2. russ says:

    excuse me, phone case.

  3. craig says:

    at least they know their market.

    in the biblical sense.

  4. Office Bob says:

    I’ll go for the Black Diamond; it’s only $10K.

  5. Steve says:

    If you meant that they “make love” to there market, then you sir deserve a salute. Greatest joke all day.

  6. Wayne D. says:

    Psssh, looks like laser cut veneer. Looks like a good way to pay off a tabletop laser cutter. @Russ, yeah, it looks more like a skin than a case.

    These are more like what I would expect from a wood case;

  7. Gary says:

    Dang, why do I even bother to turn anything anymore?

    Craig definitely gets props for joke of the day.

  8. ambush says:

    At least it seems to include the phone. Still you could have one custom made for less than that. Isn’t manufacturing supposed to me cheaper than paying a skilled craftsman?

  9. Liz says:

    Hey Ambush. Make these thing cheaper and still sell them for $10K. They are sort of like a Rolex, a sign of prestige. I say start making them for less then a $1000 and still sell them at $10,000. Say one a month. you could clean up.

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