MCW Dec. '15 Program
Dec 25, 2015Public
Photo: Mike Colella's Demonstration tonight is on making Harry-Potter-type magic wands.  He has a slide show and will make some curls.
Photo: Mike prepares to cast a benevolent spell on the proceedings.
Photo: He begins with the slide show, combined with passing around highlighted examples of his work into the audience for hands-on examination.  Luckily none of the audience were educated in arts of spellbinding!
Photo: Here is his booth at the Maryland Renaissance Festival where his wands became a big hit and moved his woodworking and turning into unexpected new directions.
Photo: Mike's wands show great imagination and have taken on a life of their own, possessing many different characteristics based on wildly varying shapes, colors, and textures, and added bits of decoration.
Photo: Some are shaped by turning; some are just carved and sanded, and some are both.  Mike's wife, Sue, shares in the artistic aspects of design and production.
Photo: Here's a sample batch that are all turned traditionally on a lathe before being textured and colored...
Photo: ...and a close-up look at some of the woods and handles.
Photo: Mother Nature often provides the raw materials for some of the more "natural", locally-sourced forms...
Photo: ...while some more-elaborate turned ones are made from store-bought woods.
Photo: These 'natural' varieties are very popular sellers at the Maryland Renaissance Festival where Mike and Sue have their booth.
Photo: Some of his "high-end" lathe-turned work involves the use of fine woods and other decorative materials for the handles.  These take a lot more work, fall into the "collectors item" category, and are priced accordingly.
Photo: Another example of some turned wands.
Photo: He makes his natural wands from branches processed by carving and sanding and coloring, sometimes augmented by turning of the handles.
Photo: Simple sanding is often the answer for roughing the natural forms.
Photo: Here's another tool of choice.
Photo: On the other hand, here's an example of an unfinished, lathe-turned wand.
Photo: To show how that's done, Mike breaks out his turning tools: a face shield, a spindle roughing gouge, and a heavy glove.
Photo: The sizing of the handle depends on the size of the hand.
Photo: In this screenshot off the monitor, Mike controls the tool with a steady grip, right hand into his body, left thumb guiding the gouge, and his gloved left hand acting as a spindle steady because these shafts are flexible and will bow and chatter if not supported.
Photo: Mike noted that he had to be careful to monitor his amount and duration of contact because the glove could get quite hot with too much of either.
Photo: Mike has a unique solution for how to hold a crooked branch so he can turn the handle.  He tapes a board to a live tail center cone and sets the end off center.  Great idea.
Photo: This way he can turn the handle on the "straight" part.  The remainder of the crooked part will be done by carving and sanding.