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What tools would I need for making wands?

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  • What tools would I need for making wands?

    Hi - a couple of days ago I decided to carve my son a 'harry potter' wand from a branch we found on the ground. I'm actually finding it theraputic and think I'll make him a few.

    I've been using normal woodworking chisels, sandpaper and a dremel but I get the feeling I'm not using the right tools. Maybe some whittling knives or gouges would be right but, having spent hours surfing, I've come to the conclusion there are lots of tools I could by only for them to be suited to other work and not making wands from branches / dowel.

    There are lots of size variations too but I have no perspective on what size would work for wands.

    I appreciate that it kind of depends on what designs I'd find myself doing but I thought I could do worse than ask some knowledgeable people on a forum like this one. I don't want a low-quality (false ecomony and dangerious perhaps) but don't want to go extravagant ultra-pro level because I'm certainly never going to reach such dizzy heights. Comfort, keeping an edge, ease of sharpening when needed and durability are the key (probably obvious!) things I'm looking for.

    I'm in the UK if it helps make suggestions.



  • #2
    What do you do to make a dowel into a wand except cut to length and paint it? I'm not familiar with H. P. particulars...maybe more info or a picture would be helpful.
    Arthur

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    • #3
      Welcome. I'm positive that you don't need to make one which is square. How un-Potter-like.
      A wooden dowel is a bit unearthly for this. Needs to be a root or a branch.

      You need a spoke shave. Otherwise known as the tool for making round wheel spokes from square stock.
      Also good for removing thin bark and so on.
      I use several of them for smoothing round surfaces and spoon handles. One cuts thickly, the next one shaves thinly.
      I have found that the economical Samona brand (S Korea) $15.00 is easily adjustable and far better than a Stanley $50.00 POS.
      Brian T

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      • #4
        The pic below is the kind of thing I'l be making. I won't be copying these exact types but they give an idea.

        This guy suggests using flexcut knives:

        This guy seems to be using ordinary wood chisels, at least in part:

        50pcs-craft-arts-harry-potter-wands-harry.jpg

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        • #5
          I would think a blade type if "clip point" or "Sheepfoot" about 2" long would be a good wane carving knife. The blade is long enough to get rid of the stuff on the outside of the twig that you don't want and you got the point to do some detail work. More of a bench knife but lots of uses. My 2ยข.
          . . .JoeB

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          • #6
            I used my lathe to turn the basic shape, then a little hand carving to decorate.

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            • #7
              Welcome to a great forum and as you can see there are many great answers to questions. Just want to say I'm glad you are doing the carvings and it is therapeutic. Any carving that you enjoy and relaxes you is a great one. Carve for what you enjoy...glad to see you are taking that approach.

              It seems the US/Canada carvers like a lot of knives and the UK fellows like gouges, so answers here will likely be skewed towards knives.

              I've done a lot of wood burning, inlays, ornaments, etc. in the past and recently (last 3 years) on carving natural sticks. Basically, I saw off the twigs, then file them down. Remove the bark with a knife or whatever will remove it. Then sand it through grits until I finish with 400-800 grit. Carving I then usually do with a roughout knife and then a detail knife to trim into details. Usually a 2" Flexcut knife and then a finer 1+ inch knife.

              You have to hack away until you find the proper procedure and knife to accomplish what you want and enjoy.

              Whittle away and carve to find the best technique you enjoy...then it is the right one.
              Bill
              Living among knives and fire.

              http://www.westernwoodartist.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I should add I have made buckets of "talking sticks" and they are basically the same as walking sticks and/or wands. Canes, walking sticks, and wands all use the same techniques, so any of the techniques for one is also useful for the other. Totems are great, runes and inlays also...don't forget wood burning.
                Last edited by woodburner807; 06-25-2019, 07:07 AM. Reason: spelling correction
                Bill
                Living among knives and fire.

                http://www.westernwoodartist.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would start with a small draw knife or spoke shave to get the basic shape then a basic whittling knife for the details. There are many suppliers of knives, Flexcut, Drake, Helvie just to name a few. Search around the forum and you'll find many opinions as to which one is best, they all will work for you. Some of the sample wands pictured have some wood burning on them, so if you want to replicate that, then a burner would be in order.
                  Last edited by Steev; 06-25-2019, 06:08 AM.

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                  • #10
                    I would think materials would be more problematic than tools- dragon feathers and Gryphon hairs are hard to find.......
                    Buffalo Bif
                    bflobif.com

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                    • #11
                      Many thanks for all of your replies folks; both the helpful ones and the humorous ones too. Picking-up on just a few of the points:

                      Lathe
                      I don't have access to one of these and I'm happy to just do it all by hand. I did look at making a drill lathe but, to be honest, I don't think I need it.

                      Spokeshave
                      A couple of suggestions on this thread about this. Problem is, I don't have a vice or work bench. Is it possible to use a spokeshave whilst balancing the wood between one's legs or is that stupid?

                      Knives
                      I've decided I'm going to get either one or two knives. On this thread there is one suggestion to get a 2 inch roughout + a 1 inch detail blade. That seems sensible enough to me. There's another suggestion though from joepaulbutler to get a 2 inch "clip point" or "sheepfoot" - the idea being that it would be multi-purpose (I guess in lieu of a 2 inch + 1 inch). I need to decide one way or the other - I certainly don't wish to cause offence to either members who kindly made the suggestions ... but if anyone could help to convince me which way to jump I'd be glad of that.

                      To be honest, I'm not sure what a sheepfoot / clip point really is. I am wondering whether it might be harder for a dummy like me to re-sharpen?

                      Pyro/Burning
                      I may try some of this but wouldn't want to invest in a proper wood-burning kit. I do have a good soldering iron though - any reason why I couldn't/shouldn't use that to achieve the same ends as a wood-burning tool. Granted, I may have to sacrifice the soldering tip but that doesn't matter to me.

                      In a day or two I'll check back for any replies to this thread and then draw a line under it and take a decision - I won't want to fall into analysis paralysis lol!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think you need a C-clamp, 4-6" size, to clamp the end of the wood to the edge of a table.
                        Then you can smooth and taper the wand with pull strokes ( you gotta count to keep it even!)
                        The clamped end could be a sacrifice to saw off near the end.
                        Brian T

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hyperion, His is a chart of some of the different styles of blades, hope this helps you now and the further. This is one of the reason this site is so special to me
                          . . .JoeB

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hyperion View Post
                            The pic below is the kind of thing I'l be making. I won't be copying these exact types but they give an idea.

                            This guy suggests using flexcut knives:

                            This guy seems to be using ordinary wood chisels, at least in part:

                            Hi! I'm also a beginner in woodcarving, and I want to thank you for these links. They are really helpful.
                            Last edited by jammiemanning; 06-26-2019, 06:55 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hyperion View Post
                              Many thanks for all of your replies folks; both the helpful ones and the humorous ones too. Picking-up on just a few of the points:

                              Lathe
                              I don't have access to one of these and I'm happy to just do it all by hand. I did look at making a drill lathe but, to be honest, I don't think I need it.

                              Spokeshave
                              A couple of suggestions on this thread about this. Problem is, I don't have a vice or work bench. Is it possible to use a spokeshave whilst balancing the wood between one's legs or is that stupid?

                              Knives
                              I've decided I'm going to get either one or two knives. On this thread there is one suggestion to get a 2 inch roughout + a 1 inch detail blade. That seems sensible enough to me. There's another suggestion though from joepaulbutler to get a 2 inch "clip point" or "sheepfoot" - the idea being that it would be multi-purpose (I guess in lieu of a 2 inch + 1 inch). I need to decide one way or the other - I certainly don't wish to cause offence to either members who kindly made the suggestions ... but if anyone could help to convince me which way to jump I'd be glad of that.

                              To be honest, I'm not sure what a sheepfoot / clip point really is. I am wondering whether it might be harder for a dummy like me to re-sharpen?

                              Pyro/Burning
                              I may try some of this but wouldn't want to invest in a proper wood-burning kit. I do have a good soldering iron though - any reason why I couldn't/shouldn't use that to achieve the same ends as a wood-burning tool. Granted, I may have to sacrifice the soldering tip but that doesn't matter to me.

                              In a day or two I'll check back for any replies to this thread and then draw a line under it and take a decision - I won't want to fall into analysis paralysis lol!
                              You can get a cheap Walnut Hollow wood burning pen for about $10 including a few tips. Later you can buy a temperature controller. Even a cheap single temperature soldering iron type of burner works fine for outline type of burning with some fill in dark shading. Not ideal, but certainly good enough for simple wood burnings...even some mid-tone shading. Of course, that can be augmented with carvings, inlays, etc.

                              Regardless, OCC knives are fine and will do all you need and in fact many use one knife for all aspects of carving. Generally an inch or so. Once you get used to it then you can select other knives.
                              Bill
                              Living among knives and fire.

                              http://www.westernwoodartist.com

                              Comment

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