Sunday, November 22, 2020

It's Like Magic

 I love family.  Frankly, my greatest joys are family, and if not family there are some who would be close enough.  Sure, machines are awesome, but these people are a priority.  What's probably weird is that it is an antisocial guy who is making those statements.

When your niece asks you for a wand from the Harry Potter books, do you stop working on stuff and focus on that?  The answer is a resounding "yes".  My niece is a fanatic of "Luna Lovegood".  She asked me to make Luna's wand for her.  That silly niece knows that she can ask, smile, and I'd make something for her.  (The others do, too - which doesn't bode too well for me as they ALL have me wrapped around their little fingers.)

This was actually the most technically challenging thing I've ever done, and I've done some things to within five thousandths of an inch.  Turns out, this was a piece of wood done to within 5 thousandths of an inch.  Not knowing about the wand, I took to the Internet.  I found a picture of the wand and a brief write up about it (a Harry Potter fandom page), obtained the overall length from another Google search (34cm), and scaled and printed the wand.

Next I set out with calipers to get the dimensions (distance between features, diameters, etc).  That gave me a "machinists drawing" to work from.  I could not find any rosewood, all the wood shop stores had were maple blanks, so that's what I had to use - white, untainted, plain maple.

I broke out the wood lathe, and....

...promptly hosed the first one.  I learned that with that much flex, I needed to do the ends first, and work my way to the middle.  If I turned down the middle and then did the ends, there was too much flex in it and it would likely break.  I also found that you need to use a support with where you are cutting the wood - and since follower rests don't exist for wood lathe tools, you have to use your hand.

I do not recommend using gloves on a lathe.  I do NOT NOT NOT! But that's what I had to do.  Friction from the gloves and the wood got hot enough that my nerves were damaged (it still hurts typing this up and it's been a few days).  But, any sacrifice is worth it for me nieces and nephews.

I finally got a reasonable replica of the movie one (which looked like dark walnut, actually, not rosewood) in shape.

Next was indexing the grooves on it.  It was the first time I'd done indexing on the wood lathe.  It turned out okay, and I was excited to do it.

For the finishing, I used stains (I was starting with plain maple, right?).  First were two layers of "sedona red", followed by a couple of coats of dark walnut.

The final result still has yet to be done - I need to part the end off to length, and I need to cut the pommel side into the wand.  But the interim result looks fabulous!