Wand Makers and Whittlers Help Required


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Established Member
3 Nov 2017
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Kinver, Staffordshire, UK
This morning I collected a pile of Hawthorne and Elder from a Freecycler. His two young daughters help and the youngest asked what will I do with it all. I said some of it I will turn into pots and small bowls but much of it will be for next years fire. She asked if I would be making any wands because Harry Potter's wand is made from Elder (news to me).
So guess what I've been roped into. I have only two weeks before I have to return to collect more and all of the pile is fresh cut.
Do I pick out some straight bits and remove the bark to speed up the drying?
Leave the bark on and leave them on the top of the clear and warm covered wood store in the hope of them not splitting?
Whittle them down while they're wet to a basic shape then finish them off closer to the time I have to present them?
Or, whittle them down to the finished shape and sand them down nearer the time.

I'm quite sure they won't be ready to take a finish in two weeks so I will use the excuse that I left them bare for the girls to paint them
Just come back from the clinic (not that one) and the nurse suggested that it might just be called the Elder wand so might not actually be made of Elder. I'm feeling a little more comfortable with deceiving these small children. After all the six year started it by saying do I to see her four leaf clover but it turned out to be two two leaf clovers held together. Haha!
Seriously though. Tris has just made a good point. I'll use some Yew or Laburnum. Joking again. I have some pieces of ebony with shakes in them that I can't sell so I think I might use that.
Folklore tells us that elder can protect you from witches but also that witches can turn into an elder tree, and therefore an elder can be a witch in disguise. I guess that's why it's bad luck to burn elder, I was taught not to burn it as a child. I don't know Harry Potter but imagine that the elder wand is referring to a wand made from elder wood with it having such a folklore, surely it's not coincidence.

If I were you I'd make a couple of wands out of the elder, what have you got to lose? Depending on what diameter the pieces are I would split them down the pith and then split each half again. Whittle them down with a drawknife or spokeshave or if you want something really fancy you could try turning them.

I wouldn't worry too much about drying them, a section as small as a wand is unlikely to split and will probably dry in a week if you put it somewhere warm. When I carve spoons etc I usually put them on a shelf by the wood burner for a week and then give them a wipe over with walnut oil.

Do a bit of research into the folklore and when you give the kids the wands tell them why it's a special wood, I think that will make their day. Even if it ends up a bit wonky ultimately it's just a stick for kids to play with!
I wouldn't worry too much about drying them, a section as small as a wand is unlikely to split and will probably dry in a week if you put it somewhere warm. When I carve spoons etc I usually put them on a shelf by the wood burner for a week and then give them a wipe over with walnut oil.
I'll look through the pile again today. There might not be a piece thick enough to split down the pith. If there is, the making of it shouldn't take me long and I was hoping that someone was going to tell me what you said in the quote. I watched a couple of YouTubes and I liked the hand carved effect of the Jack Mack video.
Also looked at my ebony stack and the couple of split pieces are not long enough so I think I'll see what I can get from the wet Elder and go with folklore. If it doesn't turn out then it should only take an hour or so to make two and I'll use dryer wood and I will have acquired two new experiences. One, making wands and two, be wary when being questioned by children, there's probably an underlying agenda.
According to Wikipedia........

The Elder Wand, also known as, Deathstick or the Wand of Destiny, is an extremely powerful wand made of elder wood with a core of Thestral tail hair. In the book it is a thing of legend and is believed to have changed owners throughout history.
The bad luck for burning thing is ironic Since it’s name is from the Saxon “Aelder” meaning fire as it was used as the pipe for bellows. Much more likely origin for being bad luck than witchcraft is you wouldn’t want to ruin the bellows by letting the pipe catch fire
This is my first one. It's soaking wet and is a bit thicker than I'm hoping the finished wand will be. Once it's dry enough to sand I'll use a 75mm disc sander to enhance the hand carved look, use the rotary tool again to come a little further up the shaft and re carve the handle base where I stippled it when I should have carved grooves. I couldn't split a thick enough piece of Elder to make the Elder wand so I've used the Hawthorne. It will turn a toffee brown very quickly and I'll then decide on if to stain it. I've propped it up in the nook near the stove - not too close that it splits I hope.

Point of order.

It's not Harry's wand. Technically it bends to his will by him punching malfoy in the face. Unbeknownst to everyone the wand was malfoys because despite never actually getting it he was the one who defeated dumbledore. It's one of the reasons the Voldemort couldn't defeat him with it because it wouldn't work again it's true master.

Harry's wand is holly and he only uses the elder wand to repair it. The wizard chooses the wand and the wand chooses the wizard.

You lot need to understand wand lore