October 18, 2011

BuddhaRocks Project: Day 2

The Wandsmith

The wandsmith rapped the thin iron rod against his anvil and listened with a trained ear to the high-pitched “TING” it made.  Ah!  This was good stock!  He shook hands with the iron supplier, accepting his price, paid him in gold coins and watched him leave.

Gold.   Most people think it’s the 'king' of all metals.  Sure, it’s pretty - in fact, most of its value to people is simply because of its appearance - and it has great conductivity, which is usually a plus.  But gold is crap for wand-making.  It’s too soft in its pure form (pure metals work best for wands) and has a lousy tone.

A wand needs to be hard and resilient, able to handle the extreme demands of magical use.  Most wands are made of pure iron; it’s cheap, strong and has superior tonal qualities.  Other pure metals work well too, but most cost far more than iron.  He occasionally dabbled in other pure metals for special orders and such, but iron wands were his bread-and-butter.

Their only real drawback is rust.  But one of the first things they taught apprentice magicians was about keeping their wands clean and polished.  That’s Magic 101.  Alloys have been tried in the past, but with limited results.  It has something to do with the differing vibrations of each component metal, the need to perfectly harmonize them, the right ratios, tonal balance, etc.  That stuff is beyond his skills, and he lacked the time and patience to devote to discovering the right mixtures – after all, he has a family to feed - but he understood the principles behind it.

Each pure element has a natural vibrational frequency, and tapping into that vibration is the key to making wands.  To maintain the correct tone for each element, you need to fashion the wand with the correct proportion of length to thickness.  Which is why alloys don’t work well; their different metals cooperate to form a new solid, but when you draw magic into them they interfere with each other’s vibration - butting heads, as it were.  Using the right proportion of each so their vibrations harmonize is devilishly tricky.  It only works with certain length and thickness combinations, most of which just aren’t practical for wands.

Other elements, like liquids and gasses, can also be made into wands, but only the most powerful and knowledgeable practitioners can even attempt such feats, much less utilize the bizarre wands they yield.  He’d once saw a water wand when he was a boy – a marvelous thing to see working, magic flowing fluidly from it with almost hypnotic tones – but it took so much concentration to control it properly that it was just not worth all that effort and was strictly for show.

Occasionally a novice magician will come into his shop and ask him for a wooden wand, which always made him laugh.  Nobody has used wooden wands since the dark ages.  A tree had to live hundreds of years before it absorbed enough of the natural energies from the earth, water, air and sun to make it workable for magic.  And there just weren’t any really old trees around anymore.  Most wooden wands were in museums now, or in private collections.  They are extremely rare and valuable.  He could carve a wand from wood, but good luck getting it to do anything magical.  They’re only good as props for plays and such.

To his knowledge, no wandsmith had ever been able to create a wand from a gas.  Gasses are too difficult to manipulate properly, and their natural vibrations are of such high frequencies that it’s impossible to tune them properly without scientific equipment.  And when you start bringing science into the natural world of magic, problems are bound to occur.  He’d heard tales of ancient wandsmiths being disintegrated when trying to work with gasses.

That won’t happen to him though.  He sticks with what he knows.  And that’s iron.


  1. Hey, I once made a wand out of copper. It was pretty, but my fingers always turned green.

  2. ooo you know magic? smiles. nicely penned little short sir

  3. This was great! Ya know, I'd be cast into the dungeon for my rusty wand, all the time screaming, "It's beautiful!!!!"

  4. What a fun little post you penned here!

  5. Hehehehe... that was most enjoyable and could quite easily become an intriguing longer piece. Super.

  6. I liked the character of wandmaker Garrick Ollivander in the Harry Potter series.

    If I'd gotten any further with the storyline, I would have given the wandsmith a name. As it stands, it's more of a character study. But I deviated from the established wooden wand notion to give it a twist of my own.

    I think there's a whole line of stories that could be written from a wandmaker's (or wandsmith's) perspective.


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