Turning Archive 2005

a little magic *PIC*

John K Jordan
>For those who missed it, last night was the new Harry Potter book release. There were big parties at the larger bookstores before the book was sold at one minute after midnight. I bought a Jet mini lathe earlier this week just for this and set up on the sidewalk in front of Books-a-Million and turned magic wands last night.

Wow, I thought people might be interested in seeing some woodturning, but I did not anticipate the response! I took a bunch of blanks for the lathe and about 30 wands I'd made earlier. I hoped to sell a few but since I've never tried selling anything, I was prepared to just have fun turning.

I sold every wand, sold every one I could turn in about five hours, and have a page full of orders!! With no experience in this, I struggled with deciding how to price and ended up pricing from $10-$35 depending on the wood, how much detail/effort it took, and how much I liked the result. No one argued over the price although a few left when they heard the price. Some people bought two or three.

At times there were 30 or more people crowded around, many clutching their choice of blanks, waiting patiently for their wand to be made. Some people waited patiently for over two hours. The lady at the end of the queue begged me to stay until her's was done - she would pay anything, just name the price!

I'm pretty slow and never imagined myself as a production turner, but I got a lot faster as the night went on. I heard someone in line say it was taking about 7 minutes per wand, but I think some took at least twice that long. (I also heard someone say, "hey, watch this guy carving magic wands" :)

I haven't added up all the orders yet, but from the cash sales alone I made enough money to pay for the Jet mini and stand (plus enough for a few more Jets just like it!) There were a number of large and small people interested in learning to turn who took Woodcraft class literature with them. Some had come to that bookstore because they had heard about the woodturning on the news. BTW, I had some other turnings with me just for display (bowls, pens, gavel, tops) and could have sold all of them if so inclined.

The TV station was there and the woodturning got front page mention in the newspaper this morning. A good time was had by all!

Here are some photos in case anyone is interested. For those looking to make some money with this sport, turning wands might be the touch of magic you were looking for. I think the next Harry Potter movie comes out this fall.

JKJ in East TN

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