Finally, the sanding was done and it was time for finish. Given the shape of the wands, I made a drying rack for them before beginning the finish. The rack is made of two pieces of .040 aluminum which were bent into an L shape in order to hold the wand on the 40 mil thick end of the aluminum sheets.
|My impromptu finishing station set up on my Dust Deputy.|
On advice from The Wood Whisperer I used Charles Neil’s Blotch Control (luckily I was able to order it before his store went on summer hiatus). It seems to have worked well (no blotches in the final finish) but did raise the grain considerable. I sanded after the first coat of Blotch Control with 320 grit and after the second with 600 grit.
|Between the coats of Blotch Control application.|
Next came the dye. I used two (2) coats of General Finishes Water Based Dye Stain in Merlot for the business end of the wands. I applied the dye using a foam brush and rubbed it in and off with a cotton rag. For the handles I started with two (2) coats of General Finishes Water Based Dye Stain in Ebony. As the tone lacked the depth I was looking for, I added India Ink to the dye for the third coat. This added depth, though if I was to do it again I would be much more liberal in my adding of India Ink to the dye. I was given the India Ink advice on Twitter, and I’m embarrassed to say I don’t remember who recommended it, so whoever you are, thank you.
|Merlot on the business ends.|
|Ebony on the Handles.|
Once the dying was done, I finally moved on to finish. In order to finish the wands I applied 12 coats of 1 lb shellac. The shellac was applied with a foam brush in a manner similar to the dye. The first 5 coats were done using amber shellac, hoping that the amber color would add a richness of tone. When it didn’t, I switched to a 1 lb cut of clear shellac I already had mixed up rather than mix a new cut of amber shellac for the final 7 coats.
|Eyeing down the wands, mid-shellacing.|
The rapid dry time of shellac allowed me to apply all 12 coats in less than 5 days. Once the final coat had dried for 12 hours, I buffed it out with synthetic steel wool and wands were complete. They were apparently the hit of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II screening that my family went to on the opening Friday night.
|The finished wands, ready for the movies.|
Over the following weekend my Sister-in-Law even told me how much she liked the wand, and all she needed now was a wand stand. Work on the stands began the following week.