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About our Wands: Info and FAQ

Michelle Gruben grove and grotto tools wands

I'm excited to present a new line of handcrafted wands for Grove and Grotto.  Our wands are made from solid hardwood for durability and continuity of energy.  The wands are turned on a lathe and lovingly finished by hand.  I use a simple natural finish to bring out the unique beauty of the wood. 

Lengths vary from 9.5 inches up to about 14.5 inches.  Each wand is an individual creation, and will never be exactly replicated.  My wands are made with beautiful woods, loving energy and exceptional care.

Want to know more?  Here's some frequently asked questions:

Are these "real" magic wands?

These wands are as real as they get!  They're crafted by a Pagan Witch with consideration of the energetic properties of the wand's shape and materials.  Our solid wood wands are free of unicorn hair, artificial ingredients, and gimmicks. They can be a useful aid to your ritual and magickal work, and their effectiveness will improve as you form a bond with your wand.

Not magically inclined? You're welcome to purchase a wand for a display, prop or costume. Just be aware that some of them have pointy ends and may not be suitable for small children.

How do you make the wands?

I start by making a roughly square "blank" of wood, a couple of inches longer than the finished wand will be. If the wood is uncured or "green," I set it aside for a few months so the finished wand won't warp or crack.

When the blank is ready, I measure it to find the center, then mount it between the centers of a lathe.  Starting slowly, I begin to round off the corners with a chisel or roughing gouge.

After it's round, I take a look at the grain of the wood.  I decide which end is the handle and which is the tip.  I see if there's any patterns or flaws that would lend themselves to a design, or that need to be worked around.  I turn up the speed on the lathe and begin marking the different areas of the wand with a pencil.  (Sometimes I already have a sketch that I'm working from, and sometimes the design will reveal itself spontaneously as I go.)  Then I shave away everything that doesn't look like a wand. I make the design with a variety of tools, saving the tip for last.

When I'm satisfied with the shape of the wand, I smooth out the rough parts with four to six progressive grades of sandpaper.  I use a hand saw to remove it from the block, hand-sand the base and the tip, and apply the finish.

What's in the finish?

The colors you see is the natural hue of the wood--I never use any sprays, varnishes, or lacquers on my wands.  (They seal in the wood's energy, age poorly, and smell yucky!)

After sanding, the wand is rubbed with a couple of coats of a natural beeswax and orange oil blend.  This brings out the grain and imparts a subtle sheen.  It protects the wood while allow it to "breathe" and acquire additional character.

Your wand will acquire a beautiful patina with use.  You can re-condition it at any time by applying a natural wood polish or oil with a soft cloth.

Where do you get your wood?

It depends on the wood.  The exotic and tropical woods are obviously imported--Ebony and Purpleheart just don't grow in my part of Texas. I only purchase these woods from reputable suppliers, and avoid buying threatened woods.

The domestic hardwoods are generally sourced or salvaged locally.  I have Oak, Ash, Pecan, Mesquite and many other native trees in my neighborhood. 

I belong to an artist's co-operative where woodworkers bring in fallen trees, storm branches, and extra wood from their own projects to share.  A piece of wood may have been a part of someone's landscape, then put out on a street corner for the garbage, then trimmed from a table leg in the woodshop, and finally made it into my hands to become a wand!

The bottom line is, I don't know the history of every piece of wood that I use.  But I always strive to obtain wood responsibly, to limit waste, and to create my wands with respect for the Spirit of the tree.

Do you do custom work?

I stay so busy with Grove and Grotto that I'm not able to do custom wands.  I don't keep a large stock of wood, but instead work when I'm inspired with wood that becomes available.  If you see something you like, then snap it up!  If not, check back with us, as I'm always creating new things.

How do I pick the right wand for me?

Here's an earlier article about selecting the perfect magic wand.

Can you tell me more about the different types of wood?

Sure!  Here's a list of the woods I work with, and some of their physical and metaphysical properties:

Ash

The noble Ash tree grows abundantly across North America and Europe.  The Druids considered it the most magickal of all trees.  Some people also say that Yggdrasil, the World Tree of Norse cosmology, is an Ash Tree.

The wood of the Ash is quite hard but also resilient, as it bends to resist shattering.  The wood is pale beige to medium brown, with a wavy grain that somewhat resembles Oak.  An Ash wand will amplify and enhance just about any kind of magick: Protection, power, knowledge, love, justice, wisdom, and prosperity.

Box Elder

Some taxonomical confusion plagues the Box Elder, which is genetically not an Elder, but a type of Maple.  (The leaves resemble Elder leaves.)  It is known by various other names including Ash-leaf Maple, Sugar Ash, and Elf Maple. The tree was extensively used by Native Americans for its wood, sap, and sugary bark.

Box Elder is a light, relatively soft wood defined by its unusual "raspberry swirl" patterns.  The red pigment comes from the tree's defensive reaction to injury.  All of the magickal properties of Maple also apply to Box Elder.  Box Elder is a good choice for a Witch who wants the gentle strength of Maple, but with a hint of Fire.  This tenacious but giving tree is also good for protective spells, overcoming adversity, and Elven magick.

Bubinga

An exotic hardwood native to equatorial Africa, Bubinga is a strongly magickal and luxurious choice. It is reddish in color and heavy, with a prominent dark-brown grain that may be wavy or straight. Bubinga carries the energy of the Moon and Jupiter, with a hint of fiery Mars. A Bubinga wand is excellent for bringing about positive changes, especially in matters related to the emotions.  Its attributes are passion, courage, intuition, creativity, charisma and influence.

Cherry

Nicknamed "New England mahogany," Cherry is one of the finest woods North America has to offer.  It has a distinctive light reddish color and beautifully figured grain.  (A lot of "Cherry" furniture is made from Maple that has been stained to resemble this elegant timber.)

All fruitwoods are sacred to the Goddess.  Cherry has an especially harmonious, feminine energy and is good for healing, love magick, unity, and community.  (A Cherry wand will not react badly to being "shared," so it's a good choice for teachers.) Divination, mediumship, and the detection of magick are also properties of Cherry.

Hickory

One of the densest woods available, Hickory is synonymous with strength.  Hickory is hard, stiff, and heavy and yields tough, inedible nuts.  It is structurally sound even when cut thin, and is popular for tool handles and golf clubs.  (In Texas, we treasure this slow-burning wood for the barbecue pit!)

Hickory wood is an ideal choice for the stubborn or resolute mage. Protection, power, and direction are its magickal traits.  A wand carved of straight-grained Hickory is an apt symbol of the unbending Will.

Mahogany

A luxurious hardwood prized for its straight grain and luscious, reddish-brown color.  Mahogany conducts vibration well, which has historically made it a favorite wood for fine musical instruments.  It has a deep, warm, energetic tone that matches its rich color.  Spiritual growth, guidance, and strength are the magickal properties of Mahogany.

Maple

A quintessentially North American tree, Maple yields both sweetness and strength.  It is a smooth, blond-colored wood that sometimes shows semi-translucent or chatoyant effects.  It is hard, but not excessively heavy or brittle.  Some of our wands are made from "curly Maple", meaning that the grain has irregularities that form a desirable wavy pattern. 

Maple conducts energy exceptionally well.  Magically, it is versatile and forgiving and is said to contain both masculine and feminine energy.  Known as the "traveler's wood," Maple aids in many spells including healing, communication, learning, creativity, beauty and abundance.

Purpleheart

An exotic wood from Central and South America with a dramatic natural purple color. When first cut, it’s often greyish-brown, but the color deepens to wine as the wood is exposed to ultraviolet light. Purpleheart is among the densest of all craft woods. It is an ideal partner for the imaginative, the spiritual, and the creative magick worker.  Purpleheart can feel different to each user, but its main attributes are divination, aspiration, knowledge, spirituality, and transformation.

Yellow Poplar

Yellow Poplar (also known as Tulipwood or Whitewood) is a creamy yellow timber, sometimes tinted toward grey or green.  Lightweight and supple, Poplar wood has little visible grain and grows very straight.  The fast-growing Poplar tree has an affinity with the element of Air.  Versatile Poplar is suitable for most magickal applications. It's especially known for attracting money, bringing eloquence, and adapting to changing circumstances.

Walnut

Walnut trees are large, hardy and slow-growing.  (An old Dutch proverb says, "By the time the Walnut tree is tall, the planter will surely be dead.") A Walnut wand is ideal for the magician who wishes to cultivate patience and strength.  Walnut contains the combined energies of Air and Earth: clarity and intelligence, confidence and wisdom. In Italian tradition, it is said to shelter dancing Witches at their Sabbats.

American Black Walnut has an unmistakable chocolate-brown color.  It is durable but also fairly light, and for these reasons it is much sought-after by fine furniture makers. The grain is highly figured near the roots, but becomes straight as it travels up the tree's trunk.  Neither "zingy" nor sluggish, the energy of a Walnut wand is a good balance between the two.

White Oak

The strong and hardy Oak tree and has been known as an ally of humans for millennia for its wood. Oak has long been regarded as one of the most sacred trees. Sometimes called the "Lightning Tree," the Oak tree is associated with sky Gods. Its magickal attributes include authority, leadership, focus, wisdom, truth, and personal sovereignty.

White Oak is light to medium beige, with an olive-yellow cast.  It has a mostly-straight grain with some swirls and rays.  Its watertight properties make Oak historically valuable for boat-building and vessel-making.  Oak has a strong, friendly energy that is comforting and empowering to handle.



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