Bluewood or eBay Scam Artist

In terms of pricing, I paid about $1.00 per blank for blanks sized ¾” x 5” and upwards of $5.00 per blank for larger 7/8” x 5” blanks.  This, however, represents auction prices from 2009 so they may be artificially inflated, or depressed, based on buyer demand at the time they were being sold.  As it happened, they ran the range from among the cheapest pen blanks to among the most expensive, depending on the size, and again and crucially, depending on auction sales demand and bidding.

Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers and I almost always recommend them.  However, they do not currently list any sources of Bluewood.  I can’t claim to be surprised.


Perhaps the most traditional use of Bluewood is the extraction of a blue dye from the wood although I would imagine that modern aniline dyes have essentially eliminated this use of the wood today.

Bluewood is also prized as high energy firewood in its native region.

The shrub/tree from which Bluewood is harvested is reported to be in almost continuous bloom and therefore almost always bearing small reddish to black fruit that can be used to make jams and jellies, although harvesting is complicated by the presence of large thorns.  Deer especially enjoy browsing on the tender leaves and many fruit eating animals will eat the fruit as well.


Bluewood is not listed as being in any way threatened or endangered by the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices nor is Bluewood listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

To the best of my knowledge, Bluewood is not subject to any special restrictions by any United States government agency.

I realize that inherent in working with wood is the killing of a part of the natural world that may be slow to return and if I become deeply concerned about this fact, I will have to find a new hobby.  I hope that such a time does not come to pass or at least not any time soon.  In part because I am concerned about legally and responsibly obtained wood, I am reluctant to buy from sellers outside of well-established and known vendors.  I am highly unlikely, any longer although I have in the past clearly, to purchase any wood from auction sites, such as Ebay, because of uncertain sourcing and documentation, as well as the potential, even likelihood, of material being misidentified in order to achieve a higher selling price.

However, due to the commercial scarcity of some domestic woods, resorting to auction sites such as Ebay or Etsy may be the only way to obtain some desirable domestic, or in some cases exotic imported, species that are not routinely commercially harvested.  The potential risks of buying in these marketplaces have to be balanced against the desire to work with a specific species of wood.  That is inherently an individual decision.

I also realize that many, if not most, wood workers do not have endangered species lists memorized, therefore I think it worthwhile and important to do even a small amount of research before purchasing any lumber, domestic as well as imported, to be certain of the potential impact you are having, even in a small way, on threatened or endangered populations.  This information is easy to come by and takes only minutes to locate through any Internet search engine, including those you can access on your phone as you are standing in the lumber yard or store.  Unfortunately, you simply cannot count on a vendor to tell you a product they are selling is endangered.

Health Hazards

There are no documented health risks specifically associated with the use of Bluewood. However, the long-term negative health effects of exposure to sawdust of any species are well documented.