Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sword Prototype

My other major creative project from first semester: my shop project. I chose to make a sword. :D

It is more a prototype, than anything else. My original plan was to use it for a costume, but I am unhappy with the end result for this design. As it is my first time using power tools, I felt that it's ok that it's not perfect.

So lets get cracking. :D

I decided to draft this out at half scale and blow up the drawing to fullsize, so I could trace out the design onto the wood. This made it much easier to get the proportions to a place where I was satisfied with them. For some reason I decided to put WAY more of a curve into the blade than my original intention, to the point where it's not functional as a normal sword. My advice to all of you: When you have too many people you don't know giving you different advice, chances are you will be most satisfied if you don't follow anyone you don't trust completely. That's where you go wrong before you even leave the design phase. >:/

 I picked a piece of maple. Hardwood is necessary for a sword (or any piece) this thin, or it will snap supper easily. I traced it onto the wood, then clamped it to the table, having the handle overhanging.

 Here is my draft after I blew it up to full size and cut it out.

 I began slowing cutting away at the handle with a jigsaw. Doing the most complicated, tightest inwards curve first is important. (Because it ensures that you actually have enough wood to camp it down.)

 The I cut out the blade on the bandsaw.

I continued cutting out the handle.
 I wanted to make the blade thinner, but I wanted to shave off an equal amount from each side, so I took the sword and stuck it in a clamp so I could draw a center line down the blade's edge, and then 2 more guide lines showing how much I needed to take it in by. 

 Once I finished that, I began shaping the blade using sanders. Then I added the edge. :D
I cut out the other side of the crossguard and used epoxy to glue it all together. Then I sanded down the edges to smooth it out.
I then measured how much aircraft cable I would need for the 'basket'. I had a friend drill a hole in the handle for the cable to go into. 

Masking and painting came next. :)

Then end paint result I am not happy with... I picked a 'hammered' effect spraypaint for the guard, but decided I wasn't a huge fan of it.

Then I had my good friend Emily help me attach my aircraft cable. Believe me when I say it was a two person job.

I wrapped the handle with a leathery rope, then sprayed the blade.
Not bad for my first time using power tools. ;D I will probably only ever use it to decorate my wall though.

(And special thanks to Emily for all the pictures she took for me when I misplaced my camera.)


  1. Nice tutorial! I'll have to make sure I consider Maple wood for any future swords!

    1. Thanks! I made some bad decisions in my process, but I learned a lot from my mistakes. I'm hoping to make a more challenging sword next now that I have the skills! I recommend maple, it was a really nice material to work with, but it is more expensive. Really any hardwood would be better for a sword than a softwood.

  2. I agree with the use of Hardwood,

    A soft wood is to easy to dent, scratch, snap, crack, and generally destroy, and although the cost does increase, if you dont buy exotic hardwoods, and use a wood such as maple the cost will not be too extreme. Also remember that when buying hardwood, you dont need to go for the highest quality stuff for this kind of work, if you buy the same wood people use to make hardwood floors, you will bankrupt yourself.

    On a side note, drilling into that Handel for you was one of the hardest things I have ever done with a drill.