Wood (see these instructions for more information on the subject)
Craft knife (or small chisel)
Note: As you can see, the author used no specialty tools for carving wood, though these tools undoubtedly exist.
For a two-piece wand:
- Construction glue
- Thoothpicks or nail
- Wand core
- Paint or stain
WORD OF CAUTION
These instructions include the use of a number of potentially dangerous tools, like craft knives and drills. For those under age, always ask your parents for permission and/or help. Always make sure there's someone around to help you in case of trouble and no matter how old or experienced you are, be careful and stay alert!
Other Useful Tips
So, now you have your wood and a design for your wand in mind (see here for tips). How are you going to make the first look like the latter? You can use sanding paper, which is the safest way, but also takes the longest. Or you can use little files for the rougher shaping and sand it smooth later, which is faster, but still takes a lot of time. The author has chosen carving as the way to shape her wood. Advantages of carving are that you get clean, sharp lines where you want them, and it's nice and fast.
Seeing as carving is done with sharp objects, there is some danger involved. So once again, for all you kids at home: ask your parents for permission and/or help, and be careful no matter how old you are. Also, ALWAYS cut away from yourself. Keep your fingers out of harmsway in case your knife were to slip.
Scared yet? Good.
Another note on the carving: do a few test pieces to get the feel of the material and tools before you start on your good wood. Also, if you don't feel comfortable doing this, then you really shouldn't.
The author harvested her own wood, so her pieces were already sort of round to begin with. 'Sort of round' and 'just a bit too thick' is good enough at this point.
Carving the Handle
If you have a wand in the style of PS/CoS (the silhouette stays the same if you turn it around), there are 4 sorts of curves in your design (see Figure 1). You always work towards the nearest deep point in your design.
If your nearest deep point is on the tip, that's easy, of course. But what to do when it's not? Take a knife and put the end of the blade where the deep point will be, at a 90° angle with the wood (see Figure 2). Slowly push the knife forward while maintaining the 90° angle. If all goes well, your wood will roll around, while your blade stays at the same height, making a straight slit all around the wand-to-be. You know it's straight when you end your slit exactly where you left off. After just one round the slit isn't deep at all. Just go around a few times until the slit is deep enough to start the next step.
You are now ready to cut into the wood toward the slit (see Figures 3 and 4). If you go all the way around cutting out little chips of wood, you'll end up with a nice clean, straight edge where you made the slit (see Figure 5).
Now of course, if you keep the knife straight, the chips too will be straight. There are two ways to make the curves. For curves 1 and 3 (see Figure 1), start with steep cuts close to the slit, and make them shallower as you get further from the slit (see Figure 5).
For the 'hollow' curves 2 and 4 (see Figure 1), follow the shape you want to make with your knife, instead of just cutting straight. Start out shallow and gradually deepen the curve (fig. 6)
If the slit you made isn't deep enough for the curve you want to make, you can make it deeper as you go along. Just cut into the wood toward the slit as described before and separately cut off the chips that don't come off on their own (see Figure 7). Make sure that you have to cut the last chips of every curve off like that; this way, the slit isn't any deeper than necessary, which makes for a stronger end result.
Assuming you don't have a lathe, there are two ways to make your wand even. You can either just estimate how deep to cut, or you can use a vernier calipers to measure the circumference of your wand in different places and directions. The latter's a bit more work, but it's also more accurate.
Now of course, one can only be so precise with a knife. You'll never get a really round curve by chopping off little bits of wood. You can choose to leave it at that, though; it's a style too and it has it charms. If you choose to do so, however, be sure to sand down any sharp edges, and use a round file or gently folded piece of sanding paper on curves 2 and 4 (see Figure 1); if you don't, you're almost certain to get splinters either breaking off or working their way into your hand (ouch!). You can also file and sand your wand until the curves are perfectly smooth. Takes a bit of time, but makes for a nice elegant look.
Carving the Wand
But that's all about the handle. What about the rest of the wand? Most wands gradually get thinner towards the tip. To get there, put your knife (again the author assumes that nobody has special tools) on the wood, almost horizontally. Instead of cutting with the knife in the same direction it is in, push it straight forward, toward the tip (see fig. 8).
If all goes well, you'll chafe off a long, thin curl. Start chafing at the tip and gradually work your way back. As with the handle, you can either leave it this way or sand it smooth. But whatever you do, make sure you round off the tip, so it's blunt enough not to hurt anyone.
Connecting the Two Parts
If you have a two part wand, this is where you connect the handle to the wand and insert a core if you want. I did this by drilling a hole in both parts and then gluing a toothpick into them to act as a connection.
You could also use a nail with the top cut off as the connecting bit; pretty much anything will do, as long as it's not too thick (a wide hole in your components won't do them much good) and strong enough. If you're using a metal part, put a few slits in it, so the glue will stick better. What kind of connection you choose determines the size of the holes you have to drill; the connecting bit should fit as tightly as possible and reach to about the end of the holes. It's advisable to practice the hole-drilling before starting on the actual wand. This way you can check the fit of the connector, plus, it's a bit tricky to drill a hole straight down.
Once you've got the holes in, put a temporary connector in and see how the pieces fit together. They probably won't fit too well. You then have to go back to filing and sanding, until the two pieces connect in most places. Then glue the connecting bit into the wand. Let it dry thoroughly. Put the core in the handle if you're using one and glue the wand and connector to the handle. If you have it, use construction glue; it's waterproof, super strong, will fill up any space between the parts and works on just about everything.
All you have to do now is remove the visible bits of glue, add any finishing touches like painting, staining, guilding, adding gemstones etc. and polish your now completed wand.
© Elisabeth Theodora's pattern was taken with permission from costumebeginner.com.