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In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Griphook the Goblin tells Ron that wizards have (selfishly) kept other magical beings from learning wandlore:

Wizards refuse to share the secrets of wandlore with other magical beings, they deny us the possibility of extending our powers!

It seems to me that the finer points of wandlore might be extremely esoteric, but the fundamentals of wand creation and utilization should be pretty basic, or at least easy to reverse engineer with a stolen wand. Is there any in-universe explanation for why non-wizard magical beings have had no success in making and using wands? Is there any evidence that they have even tried?

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Wandmakers are few, and have individual techniques

The magical world is not like the modern one. There are only a handful of wandmakers, and only one who is any good:

“But wands — what’ll people do for wands?”

“They’ll make do with other makers,” said Lupin. “But Ollivander was the best, and if the other side have got him it’s not so good for us.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Garrick Ollivander, for example, was the one who decided to use only certain cores in his wand production:

Early in my career, as I watched my wandmaker father wrestling with substandard wand core materials such as kelpie hair, I conceived the ambition to discover the finest cores and to work only with those when my time came to take over the family business. This I have done. After much experimentation and research, I concluded that only three substances produce wands of the quality to which I am happy to give the illustrious name of Ollivander: unicorn hair, dragon heartstring and phoenix feather.

Other wandmakers have other techniques, and may well be secretive about them, particularly when it comes to sharing them with scorned groups (such as goblins). It is this last point, I think, that Griphook references: it would seem that no wandmaker to date was been willing to share sufficient details of wandmaking with goblins to enable them to make a working wand, and it is difficult to attribute this to anything but widespread prejudice.

As for figuring out how to build a wand given the finished product….

Compare this to say, the real-world task of building a emulator for the 3DS. It took years from the the release of the 3DS to get to a stage where the best working emulators could barely play modern games. Now imagine if the secret of building a 3DS had been developed and passed down in only a few families. We’re dealing with a far smaller scale here than modern industrial production.

I’m not aware of any evidence of non-human magic users successfully creating a wand in canon, though.

It’s also not totally clear that the details of wandlore can easily be “reverse-engineered” from a stolen wand, and, even if they could be, the results would likely be far less than a wandmaker such as Ollivander, with all his tricks of the trade, could accomplish. For example, goblins also keep their secrets of magical metal-working from witches and wizards, and I am not aware of any wizards successfully reproducing, say, goblin-made silver.

But the main obstacle is legal

It’s not impossible that a goblin might successfully create a wand (though, without the knowledge imparted by a wandmaking family, it would probably not be quite as good as it could be). The problem is that such a process would probably be illegal. We know that no non-human can use a wand:

“Here, look.” Mr. Diggory held up a wand and showed it to Mr. Weasley. “Had it in her hand. So that’s clause three of the Code of Wand Use broken, for a start. No non-human creature is permitted to carry or use a wand.”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

It is highly likely that it is also illegal for a non-human to attempt to make a wand, or for a human wandmaker to share the details of wandlore with a goblin or other magical being. In other words, the the refusal to “share the secrets of wandlore” is likely codified into law, which would add to the reluctance of goblin to try to make a wand, or a human wizard or witch to share secrets about wand-making.


As a side note, even in the modern world, there are secrets of engineering that are successfully kept secret from the majority of people (besides the previously-mentioned proprietary systems, such as the 3DS). For example, this answer suggests that the principles behind building a thermonuclear weapon are at least partly secret (an ordinary atomic bomb, though, is a apparently trivial).

  • I'm not sure that the comparison of a 3DS is a good one. We don't really know how hard it is to make a wand, only that it is an art of which Olivander and Gregorovitch are 2 of the best in Europe. And no, Wizards cannot make Goblin silver, but they can still make silver. And while making a 3DS without specific knowledge is nigh impossible, making a personal gaming system is not. I feel like they should be able to figure out a rudimentary wand. – BlackThorn May 23 '17 at 18:54
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    +1 for all except the last part... We can assume that a unicorn hair inside of a stick does not a wand make (even a rudimentary one), so the closely-guarded secrets become vital to the process. However, I highly doubt that legal issues concern goblins overmuch-- Gringotts employees might care about Ministry laws, but surely there are goblin communities that would be willing to risk a little law-breaking in order to make wands for their fellows. – PlutoThePlanet May 23 '17 at 19:01
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    @PlutoThePlanet - Ah, but the penalties could be severe. Also, wizards might well be subject to similarly harsh penalties for sharing wandlore. – Adamant May 23 '17 at 19:12

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