Our Visit To Orchard Work Wands
Over the past weekend Hayley and I had the pleasure of traveling to New England to visit our wonderful friends Shelby and Savanah (who you might know as the Tipsy Wizards on Instagram and from their website). The trip was utterly magical from beginning to end, and one of the most magical parts was our visit to Orchard Works Wands in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Ed, the creator of Orchard Works, was kind enough to invite us to his home and workshop to give us a demo of his wood working.
Ed was so friendly and generous with his time. In his upstairs workshop we got to see his extensive collection of wand woods. Ed knows his woods and showed us some of the more exotic ones including naturally occurring purple and green woods that even smell differently when exposed to the sun. He acquires woods from all over the world, and as a Ravenclaw I really appreciated his organization and labeling method for each piece.\\
We then headed downstairs to where the actual woodworking occurs. His entire basement is dedicated to wand creation with all manner of machines and tools. Ed does not use a lathe to make his wands but instead relies on belt sanders, dremels, and other tools to craft his wands by hand. Wood working is a fascinating art to me and I was so impressed by his ability to see the shape of the wand within the block of wood he was working with while sanding it down into the proper shape.
For this demo, Ed made my Pottermore wand, which is ebony, 10 3/4 inches, phoenix feather core, and slightly springy.
You can see in the pictures below that the wand started as just a squared block of real ebony wood. Ed marked off a few measurements using a pencil then got to work. Right before our eyes the wand materialized out of the block. Ed showed us how he achieves the characteristic curve of the wand by angling the wood in different directions, as well as using different grades of roughness on the belt sander to remove wood or to carefully define shape. He then took out his dremel (the wood was too dark to use a wood burning tool which he uses for lighter wands) and carved the handle shape into the wood.
It was fun and interesting hearing about his process. He made us aware that, especially with the Pottermore wands which he gets a lot of requests for, that he has to take a certain amount of artistic liberty with the design. The images on Pottermore are just 2-dimensional drawings; you only see one side, and a drawing does not always represent the reality of how something needs to be made. After polishing the wand using another tool he presented it to me, and had even included a tiny “M” on the bottom of the handle. It was truly a bespoke item.
Ed then proceeded to pull out another block of wood and showed us how he achieves the twirling, unicorn horn-like shape that features on many of his wands. This shape cannot be achieved by using a lathe and it was clear by the measured way Ed handled the block that his hands are practiced at using the correct amount of pressure and movement to create an even, clean swirl. After polishing, this wand became Hayley’s and we are so happy with both of them.
Thanks so much Ed, and check out the Orchard Work website here! Ed has a stock of wands ready to ship and also takes custom orders, including your specific Pottermore wand wood or original inspired ideas. Ed works with his wife to run their business, as well as a team of wood artisans that help keep the whole enterprise running smoothly. They also sell wand accessories such as display stands and travel boxes. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram! And thanks Savanah and Shelby for sharing your pictures!