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An Academic Mace for your College or University

Designing and making an academic mace for your educational institution may be easier than you think

As you can tell from the other articles in the right-hand column under News, I have made an academic mace for several schools and my customers have been overwhelmingly pleased with the result. If you are interested in having an academic mace for your college or university, or even for a high school or prep school, please contact me by phone at 540-338-1718 or by e-mail at redoakhollow@gmail.com so we can discuss your needs. The process of mace-making is long so let me explain the steps. This may help you understand how we need to proceed and how much we need to work together on your project.

Dr. Bonicelli carries the school's academic mace for the first time for graduation.
The first step is to let me know of your interest. I will ask a number of questions such as any design you may have in mind, what kind of wood you would like for your mace, and if you have a deadline.

The design is most important, but I have only had one customer who actually had an idea of the design for a mace for his school. Generally, I look at the school web site to try to learn what is important to you. Usually the mission statement, vision statement, and history will reveal those answers. I then will highlight those points to my contact at the school and confirm those elements which should be included in the design of the mace. I will do a full-size pencil drawing of my proposed design and mail a copy to you for review. Once the final design is approved, I'll start working on the mace. The main thing which takes up time in this process is the need for one or more committees to meet, review the drawing, and approve it. I certainly understand that need, but if this is a last-minute thing for you, you may need to find a way to short-cut that part of the process.

So far, all but two of my customers have wanted a mace with a design similar to those pictured in the mace articles under News, with a 5" ball near the top, flattened on one or both sides with a 4" recess into which a 4" brass medallion is bonded. The college or university is responsible for designing and having metallic medallions made. I know of a couple of companies which make metal medallions and can provide that information. A much less expensive alternative is a wood medallion, laser-engraved with the school crest, logo, mascot, or other art work. A friend does laser-engraving as a hobby and has helped me when I have a customer who wants a wood laser-engraved medallion or two.

Some maces may include more than one kind of wood. Most are of the same kind of wood throughout. I have used mahogany, white oak, red oak, cherry, walnut, and maple. Some customers have requested that some elements of the mace be made of woods of contrasting color, such as a walnut mace with cherry highlights. Three customers have requested a wood ring, or band, which can be engraved and then included in the final assembly of the mace. This one pictured for Antioch University

The brass medallion and the engraved walnut ring for the Antioch mace
shows a walnut ring into which the university had a tribute to a favorite retiring professor engraved. Maces are made in at least two parts in order to be able to flatten the face of the ball at the top to receive the medallion. I have also made maces with medallions on both sides of the ball, which are very attractive. Some schools have different medallions on the two sides and some have used two identical medallions.

The two, or perhaps more, pieces of the mace are joined together with mortise and tenon joinery and glued. The mace will be varnished with several coats of high quality varnish and then buffed to a nice finish.

Generally, customers also want a table-top stand for the mace. The mace rests horizontally on two uprights, as in the picture. The stand can be used to display the mace when not in use and can be placed in a prominent place in front of the audience during ceremonies so the mace can be set in the stand when brought in and then picked up and retired at the end of the ceremony.

The cost of a mace varies considerably with type of wood, design, and so forth and it is much easier to discuss your ideas before giving you a price. Once we talk a bit, I will be able to give you a pretty good estimate if you need that information for you or your committee to decide if you should proceed.

I consider it a high honor indeed to be selected to make a mace for a college, university, or even high school and I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to do so. Please contact me so that we can discuss what you have in mind for your school. My phone number is 540-338-1718 and the e-mail address I prefer to use for academic maces is tboley@erols.com. I look forward to speaking with you.