While worrying about my costume and decided to make a racing broom three days before the party! Luckily I am wood working wizard and can make anything out of wood!
Here is what you will need to make one of your own:
- A tape measure
- A pencil
- Eye protection
- A single 2x4 about 40 inches in length
- A bandsaw, or jigsaw
- Sand paper, automated sanding tools work better
- Some dark wood stain and the chemicals to clean it up
- Some decorative stems found in a home decor store to make bristles
- String or twine to tie the bristles
Step 1: Cutting the Broom Handle
The first step is to do some research on what exactly the broom looks like and find the shape you want to make. I drew the design out on some graph paper, then drew directly on the 2x4 material itself.
Cut the shape out using a bandsaw. This design requires making curved cuts here so traditional table saws do not work well in this application. If you do not have a band saw a jigsaw will also work.
Once the board is cut make sure you are statisfied with the shape. It is easier to fix problems in this step while the board is still square and uniform, once you start sanding making straight cuts will be more difficult.
Step 2: Cutting the Tip
The Nimbus design has a pointed tip. It is much faster to cut this while the board is still square on the top edge. I marked the middle of the board with a pencil and tape measure. Then cut from either side to make them even.
Step 3: Sand and Stain
The rough cut 2x4 will need a lot of sanding. I used a belt sander and that removed a lot of material very quickly. Be careful that you do not go overboard with powered sanding tools, you could take off more than you want.
Even with the belt sander the sanding step took me the longest time. Sanding is very hard to get just right. Start with a more coarse grit (like 80) and work your way up to finer grits (like 100 and 200).
At some point you have to put the power tools down and sand by hand to remove the tool marks. The rule here is to: sand until you can sand no more ... and then sand some more! You can never be done sanding, trust me keep sanding!
After you give up sanding (you really should do some more) then it is time to stain the board. Vacuum off the work piece before you stain and check for scrapes or tool marks. The stain will show any scrapes or tool marks so correct those problems before you stain.
I found some stain that would work for this project (and it was on sale). It was a stain and polyurethane all in one can. I have used this stuff before and the clean up requires mineral spirits.
The stain took several coats to look good. I sanded with steel wool after the coats of stain were dry. The steel wool creates a lot of debris and dust, ensure you clean this all off before applying the next coat of stain.
Step 4: Make the Bristles
OK this step is where I needed help. While the broomstick was cut and sanded I wanted to get started on to the bristles. At this point I was unsure about how make the broom bristles, so I searched on Instructables.com for inspiration.
Someone else created an excellent instructable: How to make a Nimbus 2000. Wow is this guy is good! He looks to be more of a perfectionist than I am (I bet his sanding skills are formidable)! He used long bristle brushes for his broom bristles.
I could not find long bristle brushes but this inspired me to find some long straw like material. I went to a home decor store named Pier One and bought some "stems and spray" to use for the bristles. The bundle I purchased had some curved stems and straight ones. I sorted out only the straight ones for the bristles.
Next I wrapped the very end of the broomstick with foam, so the bristles would fan out and take on some shape. I used a bit of tape with the sticky side up and laid the bristles on the tape. I wrapped the tape around the broom stick just above the foam. This pushed the bristles outward. Shift the bristles around until there is full coverage.
Wrap the base of the bristles with string or twine. I only had white butcher's twine at home so I tied a knot and wrapped several times to make a thick section of twine. I also put a loop of string at the end of the bristles to make the pear shape.
The string was white and that will not do. Stain the twine a nice dark brown color using the wood stain. The string absorbed the stain very well and dried very quickly.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Finished Racing Broom!
The broom was finished just in time for the party. It was a hit at the Harry Potter themed party, some people refused to believe I made it myself. The secret is you can make one too!
I hope this instructable was useful and helps someone else create a Harry Potter inspired racing broom.