Nevermind "weak opponents" - find an opponent who will teach you, regardless of skill. There are always people who want more challenge in their local area and who would be all too happy to help you improve so they, too, are challenged
I was under the impression that the spell and the miscast were simultaneous so you could choose to take the miscast wound and then heal yourself with the lore attribute if you like (or the other way if the miscast wound would kill you)
I know you asked about making them, but I have to say, the GW ones are solid. Pre-measured and (imo) a fair price. For the work I used to do making my own trays, it's well worth the money I think. To answer your question though, I used to use balsa wood for the tray itself and then for edges...
With reference to these boards, it means the "norm" for how Warhammer is played in your area. For example, there aren't many armies with canons in my area, so this consideration can alter how you build your list.
THanks for the tips - I'd figured those out elsewhere. Never-the-less, the comic value of the event makes me not care. With my general blowing up in the first 3 seconds of the game, it was probably over anyway so I'm glad it ended comically.