Turning Archive 2005

Re: a little magic
Response To:
a little magic *PIC* ()

William Duffield, on the Cohansey
>A great story, John.

My lathe's too big to carry to the library, but your method of conjuring up a smaller one is inspirational.

This week, I only turned one wand, and gave it away to the son of a good friend. I wasn't paying close attention to the Harry Potter schedule, but LOML had recently introduced him to the Merlin books by Mary Stewart, after we found out he is a Harry Potter fan. He read The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills, and really enjoyed them, so my wife hunted down The Last Enchantment and The Wicked Day at a library far from the banks of the Cohansey for him. Anyway, when his mom showed up to pick up the two books, she found the wand with them. The timing was perfect, and serendipitous, as he was going to a Harry Potter event that evening at our local library. (If I don't get a "Thank you" from him, I just might turn him into a frog.)

I have turned a few other wands previously. I use a different method, which I find works OK for me. Handle and shaft are different woods, joined with a couple inches of 1/4" or 5/16" dia. round mild steel stock. The bit of steel magically adds a lot of mass and improves the balance of the wand, so I prefer it to wooden dowel rod, and the steel is about the same price. I just cut it to length with a hacksaw. Making the wand in two pieces also reduces the whip while turning, so I can more easily use more fragile wood and turn wands that appear lighter.

I drill a 1" deep hole to accept the steel dowel in the handle stock and another in the shaft stock. I mount a Jacob's chuck in the headstock, and make a mandrel with a 4" length of the same steel stock, and chuck the mandrel in the Jacob's chuck. After turning and finishing either the handle or the shaft, I can back off the tailstock and finish the end right on the mandrel. Then, the budding magician can independently choose the shape and species of the handle and the shaft. Twice the magic, right? A couple drops of CA (Call it what you like, maybe griffin tears, and make a label) quickly assembles the three pieces. If I cut the steel dowel a bit short, there is room to insinuate a phoenix feather or dragon scale or eye of newt within the assembly, and even do it while the apprentice wizard is watching.

If I could remember the right incantation, maybe I could get the wand images out of the camera and onto WoodCentral, but mine surely don't carry any more powerful spells than the ones John turns.

Ain't it great that kids are reading again!?!

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