The Stormwood Staff  

Posted by Christopher W. Geis

Obviously I haven't posted anything in a while.  It isn't that I haven't been doing random projects, but there was that business with the coffee and the time machine and what with one thing and another (mostly the zombies, really), I haven't bothered to write any blog posts. You don't care about any of that, though.  Me?  I'm boring.  My projects?  Less boring.

I give you: the Stormwood Staff!

This all started back in spring when one of my friends found a pretty great walking stick while we were all clambering around down by the Mississippi river and Minnehaha falls area.

He decided it would make a great mage staff, and got right to work, removing an awkward stub of a branch with a really big knife, and then proceeding to strip the bark with the selfsame knife.

That being a slow and awkward process, he only stripped about a third of the branch before I got involved, form which point I sort of took over the project. (Sorry, Wood.)

The rest of the bark was removed with a Dremel drill and a sanding drum attachment, and then smoothed further with a couple of sanding pads, which are absolutely lovely for this sort of thing.

We wanted the staff to have some sort of runic script on it, originally intending to carve an verse from Proverbs down the staff in a spiral in Sarati.  Due to time constraints, we decided to leave that particular project for another time, and instead inscribed the words "Swift Justice" on the staff, in a somewhat stylized Sarati script.

Now a smooth wooden staff with strange inscriptions is great, but it's really just a cool stick.  A mage staff needs more.  This is where the glass cube at the top comes in.  I really have no idea what this piece of glass was made for originally, but they have bunches of them at the Axe-Man, and is seemed a likely candidate for the staff, so we bought one, and mounted it point first in the staff, secured in place with clear silicone and wrapped in copper wire.

Of course, if it's really going to be  mage staff it should light up, you say.  I totally agree.  So that's what we did.

In order to provide a recess for the wires, I drilled a hole in the top of the staff with the biggest drill bit I could find in the house, in this case a fairly hefty 1/2" bit I'd bought a while back mounting some tow hooks to the corners of our garage.

The Dremel was called back into action to route out a battery compartment and and recess for the switch.  There are probably better ways to do this, but the fast cutting bit on the Dremel worked decently well.

This one is kind of blurry, and I don't seem to have any other pictures of this stage of construction, but it gives you an idea.  The final wiring was a lot neater than this test wiring.

Here you can see the LED's recessed into the top of the staff.  Two are white LED's from Radio Shack, and the other is a blue LED cannibalized from a light-up pen I had in my Junk Drawer. Several other LED's from little lights we picked up at Axe-man were sacrificed while trying to get this wired up properly.  The switch came off a circuit board from something else that had ended it's life in the Junk Drawer.

Once everything was carved, the staff was stained with two colors of stain, a lighter, orange-red oil stain and then a darker gel stain.  The battery was hidden with  a wrapping of leather cord with the switch poking through between the wraps.

To protect the base of the staff, we drilled a hole and mounted two washers to the base with a long screw.  The bottom was wrapped in more leather, which I then got wet in hopes that the force it would exert on the base of the shaft when it shrunk would help keep the bottom of the staff from cracking or splintering.

In case you were wondering, the name comes from the last names of my friend and his fiance.  He's Wood, she's Storm.