Making a Wand

Wouldn’t it be nice if these worked?  This wand was made for my wife who went as Mad Eye from Harry Potter for Halloween last year.  She made the rest of the costume herself, but was nice enough to let me maker her the wand.

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handmade wand

This is a solid piece of Walnut, turned on the lathe and finished with a dye stain and a buffing of Carnauba Wax.  The process was fairly simple, and anyone who has turned before should be able to make several of these in an afternoon.

Start with a piece of wood that is at least 3/4″ square, and 16″ long, which can be a lamination of woods or a single species.  Most wands are around 10″-14,” so having a 16″ blank allows for room at the ends for turning between centers.  With the piece in the lathe, turn the blank round, then begin using a pencil to line out the areas where fancy decorations will reside, as well as establishing the handle area and the tip length.  Turn the piece, and sand on the lathe without removing it.

The finish on this wand is a Dark Walnut dye stain, and it should be applied right on the lathe until the wand is very dark.  Remove the wand from the lathe after coloring, and saw off the ends that were waste.  Sand and smooth the ends until they blend in with the rest of the wand, and touch them up with the same dye stain to darken them.

A trick I learned on accident is to go directly to the buffing wheel at this point, rather than add a shellac or oil to seal in the coloring.  Use Tripoli compound on the wheel, and use a wheel that will be designated for this type of buffing, as it will rapidly tun black.  Buff the wand, and you will notice that the finish comes off the flake areas, but remains in the grain, adding contrast.  The flake will retain much of the coloring, much more so than if it were sanded off as part of the contrast staining process.  Instead, the wood takes on the hue from the stain, and has very dark grain lines.

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After the buffing is complete, and the wand has a uniform look, buff some Carnauba Wax on the piece to add shine and seal in the dye stain.  The wand is ready to use at this point, and should have a soft patina that has a nice aged look to it.

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