View Full Version : Tutorial: How to make a naginata

05-23-2007, 11:58 AM
Someone asked me about this a little while ago, and they recommended I put it up as a tutorial. So, for anyone looking to make a naginata/spear, this is for you!

Keep in mind that the naginata I made was just a wooden practice one, but it's design should still help.

Firstly, for the staff of the naginata, you'll want to choose a sturdy, rounded piece of wood trim. You can usually find everything you'll need at Home Depot, or a similar store, so start there.

Choose the wood based on your height- you want it to be just a bit shorter than yourself, because the blade will extend over your head. Also, choose a piece that fits comfortably in your hand. Something not too thin or thick. Ideally, I'd recommend a 1.5 inch width, it fits comfortably in the hand, but is still thick enough to secure the blade.

The other pieces of wood you need should be a 1/2 inch thick wood square, with a length and height of 24 inches, all around. This is the wood you're cutting the blade and tsuba (little round cross-guard) out of, so it needs to be significantly thinner than the staff.

Here are some other things you'll need;
1.) Wood glue
2.) Wood putty (for filling holes)
3.) A hand saw, preferably small-bladed for any fancy curves. An electrical saw is best, though.
4.) A pocket-knife-sized saw.
5.) At least 30-grit sand-paper

Now then, here are the basic steps;

A.) On the 24x24 wood square, draw out the design of your blade. Try to keep it simple, but keep your blade-length at a minimum of 18 inches and its width at 1.5-2 inches, unless you planned on a wider blade to beging with. Leave an additional 2 inches of length on the non-tipped end, that must be no wider across than the width for your selected staff (in this case, 1.5).

B.) Cut the design out using a hand saw, preferably an electric one, as it allows for greater flexibility in the blade design. If you don't have an electric saw, use a thin-bladed hand-saw to cut out the shape. You want to allow for as much flexibility as you can, in the cutting, especially if you're doing something intricate.

C.) Save any of the decent-sized pieces left of the 24x24 to make the Tsuba, later.

D.) Into one end of your staff, use the hand saw to create a near two-inch slit, equal in width to the 24x24. When completed, the left-over two inches on the blade should fit into this slot. DO NOT GLUE IT INTO PLACE, YET!

E.) Using one of the left-over pieces of the 24x24, draw a circle at least 2.5 inches, all around. Cut it out, using the hand saw, then draw into its center a slot for which the blade bottom can fit through. You will not be able to cut out this slot with the hand saw, you must use a much smaller saw, the "pocket-knife" saw, to safely cut out the slot. Alternately, you could simply split the tsuba apart, then cut out the slot to fit the blade, and glue to two halves back together, afterwards.

F.) At this point, all seperate pieces should be cut out, and fit roughly together. Before gluing, take the time to sand down all pieces, from the blade, to the tsuba, to the staff. Sand down all edges and slots, and sand the blade to look like it has an edge. Once you are done with that, you can stain the pieces, if you so choose. Staining is entirely optional.

G.) Now that all pieces have been sanded, (and stained/dried, as optional) fit them together. First, connect the tsuba to the blade, then insert the blade into the staff via the slot you have created. With the tsuba, the blade should now fit a bit better. Fasten all three pieces with wood glue, and leave to dry for at least 24 hours. Be very careful with how you leave it to dry, as you do not want anything to slip out of place.

H.) Once things have dried, examine closely. Glue again, if needed, then sand away the excess once it has dried.

I.) If there are any remaining holes, after the gluing process, use wood putty to fill them. Let it dry for a few hours, before sanding down for a smoother finish.

J.) Once all these steps are complete, once again sand the weapon. Smooth out any juts or rough edges that remain.

Painting (optional)

To paint the naginata, first complete the steps above, and select your colors. Spray paint is recommended for the staff and blade. Also, make sure to use protective edging tape, to prevent over-lapping.

1.) Prime the entire staff with white paint. White is recommended, to bring out the best in metallic paints. However, if you are planning on making a more "evil"-looking weapon, then black is the recommended primer. For either color, paint the entire weapon once, then leave to dry. Paint with a second coat of primer, once the first has dried.

2.) After the primer has dried, tape off the base of the staff, where it connects to the blade. Cover it for at least three inches, and do not worry about the tsuba. Once the staff has been taped, paint the blade with your choice of metallic paint, use at least two coats.

3.) Once the blade has dried, remove the tape from the staff, and tape off the base of the blade, at the tsuba. Once that's done, now paint the staff in your choice of color. 2 to 3 coats is recommended.

4.) Finally, the tsuba. Once the other parts have dried off, get a small art paint brush and small amount of paint in your choice of color. Tape off the blade and staff, leaving about an inch of free space on either side before the tape and tsuba. Use the diagram below to get an idea;

|| ; tsuba
- ; tape
= ; free space


5.) With the tape in place, use the small brush to paint on the exposed areas. This gives the effect of the securing pieces for the staff, tsuba, and blade. Use at least two coats. Remove the tape, when dry.

6.) Free-style! Seriously, from this point on, whatever you do is up to you. If you wanna add designs, or a cap to the alternate end of the staff, or maybe segment the staff so it connects, it's all your decision.

I hope this helps. I know I'm not the best at describing stuff, so I can only hope that what I said makes sense. Mata ne!

05-23-2007, 03:16 PM
:skidude2: Interesting....I need more time to look this tutorial over. I will give you my full review my Ninja Friend some time today. Now, of to the gym!

/smoke bomb


I'm reading this and WOW that is a major tutorial here. Do you have any photos of your progression?

06-10-2008, 10:35 AM
I've been wondering the best way to make a naginata, and this is gonna be the plan i follow. THANKS! =D