All wood used for wandmaking has been ethically sourced. No tree or shrub has been cut for the purpose of whittling wands.* This means that the twigs and branches used have either been gathered from where they’ve fallen on the ground (e.g. through wind) or they were taken from general maintenance off-cuts that would otherwise have been thrown away.
I do this because I love trees and I love to see them grow and prosper. A fallen branch is a gift to be cherished, and if it’s cut off to give the tree or shrub new life, light and space to breathe and grow, that’s also a positive. Cutting a tree down just to satisfy a crafting desire feels wrong to me.
Because I couldn’t use the same kind of branches I use for whittling to make turned wands, I’ve had to purchase commercially lumbered wood, but it’s from FSC approved sources.
* To my knowledge, I’d like to point out. I sincerely hope that when I’m given twigs by friends, they’ve not gone and cut them just to please me, but rather because the trees could do with a trim anyway.
All whittled wands are made from natural branches and twigs, so the shape, size and colour of every wand will vary – and no two wands will ever be exactly the same.
Most of the wands I create have some sort of pattern burned into them. This is because I like to use the natural properties of the wood rather than adding something synthetic, like paint or decorations. There are exceptions, of course, as I like to experiment. The patterns or symbols I use are either made up on the spot depending on what feels right, or I trace it with a pencil first before burning, if it’s something that requires a bit of planning.
All wands are burned at the bottom end, as I like to think it “ties the wand together nicely”, but also because it would be very difficult get smooth with just sandpaper. And besides, it’s sort of become “my thing” now.
Free customisations available on request: Oiled wands can be burned with e.g. a name or a symbol, and/or they can even be lacquered. Customisations will mean at least a couple of days delay in shipping, as they need some time to do.
From 2015, I am using a mixture of beeswax and linseed oil (“Behandla” from IKEA). Before 2015, most of them were finished with a coat of clear mineral oil (“Skydd” from IKEA, which is apparently a paraffin oil), but I also have some linseed furniture oil.
The lacquer I use is a clear “poison-free, half-matt” lacquer, and is water-based rather than oil-based, basically.
For painted wands, I’ve used some form of standard acrylic paint, unless otherwise specified.
The tools I use are a Mora knife (Erik Frost 73/164), some sandpaper, and a Black & Decker Ci500 Craft & Soldering Iron Station. As of mid-June 2012, the B&D has been upgraded to an Axminster Variable Output Woodburning Station, using a bit of CFH Wood Burning Iron when required. Most of the photos were taken with a Fujifilm FinePix S9600, but going forward (September 2012), I will most likely be using a Canon EOS 1100D instead, as the picture quality is a lot better.
I do not own, nor do I have access to, a lathe. Actually, I do as of 8 September 2013. It’s a WorkZone 40″ wood turning lathe. It would be fun to have one and experiment with, but they cost far too much (unless they’re a special buy at Aldi!), take up a lot of space (if I want to make turned wands longer than about 20 cm, I’d need a big one – although the one I got can be adjusted in length), and I don’t like loud noises … but I do like experimenting, and for noise, use ear protectors.
Using a lathe definitely isn’t as relaxing as a bit of quiet whittling in front of the telly of an evening! I still need to learn the best techniques with it.
Unless you count bouts of whittling twigs for fun when I was a child, I started making wands properly in 2008, when I had to cut back a self-planted ash tree in the garden. I thought it was a shame to just throw such beautiful wood away, and decided to make a wand for a friend and fellow Harry Potter nerd. That way, I discovered it was actually a lot of fun making wands, and made a few more, and since then, I’ve come across more wood and haven’t been able to stop!
Aside from being into Harry Potter, I’m also a big Jane Eyre fan, hence the name Thornfield. I class myself as a Pagan, although when asked which Path, my response is invariably “erm … sort of … secular?” I’m very passionate about nature and care deeply about the environment (it’s a Swedish thing), but the whole religion thing just doesn’t sit right with me. However, my general beliefs slot in under the big umbrella of Neo-Paganism more than anything else.
My grandmother was big on embroidery and sewing, and my mother followed in her footsteps and started knitting at a very early age. My two older sisters both do that sort of handicraft, and … I’ve never taken to it. I know how to knit, crochet, sew and embroider, but I’ve always had more fun doing woodwork. Mum insists handicrafts are “good for the soul”, and as long as I get to do it with a stick of wood, a knife and some sandpaper, I couldn’t agree more.