This whole thing happened better than a month ago, I just didn’t get around to writing it up until now. One of my friends is an avid Harry Potter fan. I say “avid fan” because I like understatement. If Harry Potter was a real person who she could stalk, she’d be incarcerated. That’s the level of her interest in all things Harry Potter.
I decided, since I was working on my burn bowl project, anyway, (which involves a lot of sitting around outside by a fire pit) I might as well go ahead and carve her a wand while I was working on that, since I was headed to her birthday party that night. I found the best branch I could on our pine tree, but I’d recommend a straighter one with fewer twigs if you try this yourself.
Now, she is a Hufflepuff, apparently, which we all know is a lame house–although they hold the House Cup for most avada kedavras caught–but there’s no need to hurt her feelings by pointing that out in the comment section. When I picked branches, I picked a thicker one than I needed, which meant extra carving time, but I wanted a nice dense piece of wood so that it wouldn’t snap or break and would have a solid feel to it. I used a hatchet to strip off the park and soft outer layers.
In their defense, I’ll have you know that Hufflepuffs are very important. The world needs Hufflepuffs, so that there can be a team for the people we don’t hate, but know aren’t about to go winning anything. Yes, nerds, I know that the Hufflepuffs won a Quidditch match, but this is more metaphorical. Besides, it only happened because a Gryffindor was being attacked by soul-sucking monsters. The next step was to pull out the trusty K-bar, and start to shape the wand and handle.
Carving is really very relaxing. Some care should be exercised not to amputate any fingers; this really ruins the zen aspects of the experience, as pain and blood will tend to do.
I finally finished with the main shaping of it, so the next step was start carving the badger, because this is Hufflepuff, and their coat of arms is a smelly creature with notoriously anemic social skills that lives isolated in a hole in the ground. This was really fun, as I’ve never done any real wood carving before. Luckily, I do have some carving chisels I picked up about five years ago for another project.
Michelangelo once said that sculpting was about finding the shape within the object, as if he were just freeing a shape already contained within the stone. He was a lot better at carving things than I, but I was actually fairly satisfied with out it turned out. I considered carving in some little badger legs, but I was afraid I’d mess it up. I’d pushed my luck far enough. Plus I had blisters and I was tired.
The final step was applying stain. Dark for the stripes and the handle, a nice subtle sealant for the tip and the light bits of the badger.
A work of art? Hardly. A pretty cool birthday present? I think so.