Living in a small town has its drawbacks. For instance, there are no real butcher shops or pet shops in the area to source cow bone for nuts and bridge saddles. I found an inexpensive source of bone for bridge saddles in the local craft store though - a bone paper folder.
Bone folders (made of cow bone) are used in all kinds of crafts, but it's main use is making tight creases in paper in origami. The folder I got is 1/8" thick (approximately 3mm) and is tapered and rounded over on the two long edges. It's about 5 3/8" (roughly 13.5cm) long and 7/8" (about 2.2cm) wide. One end is pointed and the other end is flat. See the attached pic.
I figure I can cut the bone into strips on my band saw and get a minimum of 7 saddles out of it - possibly more. This particular folder cost me a whopping $4 including tax. No, it's not as cheap as some options, but it's a lot cheaper than buying saddle blanks. At only 1/8" thick, it's probably too thin to be used as a nut. I'm still working on less expensive sources of bone for that. They also come in lengths up to 12", but the store I visited on this particular day only had this size in stock.
It's an option that's worth looking into.
Yeah, I have 2 dogs myself. As I said - I live in a very small town (about 1300 people) and there aren't any butcher shops around here that can supply me with bone. I've tried.
Nice, Randy - will you be shipping that to me via UPS or FedEx...? Heh.