View Full Version : BIG ol swords. tutorial

06-28-2007, 10:38 PM
So about a week ago i was bored and after reading a few posts about the difficulties of making very large prop swords. I decided it was time to give it a shot.

Now my Materials i had all of them just laying around my place.
*A large piece of cedar plank.(used for shelves)
*A Long Steel Pipe.
*And a Piece of flat steel (about an inch wide, and how ever thick you want it.

Tools were a hand held circular saw, jig saw, belt sander, hand planer and drill.


Okay. so first pick what ever big anime sword i want.
I go with the Zabuza sword ala naruto.

First you take your plank of wood and measure out about a foot wide section. cut that off and that will become the basis of your blade.

Now i know it may not be perfect scaling, but i went with 1 foot wide at the tip, where it has the swoop, and about 8 inches wide at the base where the hilt attatches.

it looked roughly like this (http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b230/skelingtonking/DSCF0009-1.jpg) after some rough shaping with some hand saws and a rough cut jig saw.

Now unless your really REALLY good with your saws i would NOT go for final dimensions on the first cuts. leave about a half inch all around. you can always get rid of extra later. but if you cut to much off, then you wasted that whole piece of wood.

Now the plane, i used one with a 1 inch blade. i used it to literally sharpen the edge. the damn thing can almost cut. it takes alot of patience and a sharp plane, but just remember to only plane away half and then do the other (same as sharpening a knife).

The handle, I had a piece of large very heavy steel pipe welded onto the middle of the flat steel. now to attatch this to the sword, i drilled three holes in the flat bar.

This is very
very important.
in the wood, you line up the holes, mark them and drill pilot holes.

number 1 rule, of pilot holes. use a smaller dril bit then the screw/bolt you want to use.This lets the wood not split when you drive a huge bolt thru it, but still gives it PLENTY of wood to get the threads into.

Number 2, make sure it goes straight down. anything off and your compromising the strength of the wood.

now with that done. i used heavy duty 4 inch long wood bolts to attatch
seen here (http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b230/skelingtonking/D1.jpg)

now then if you have it i recommend sealing the gap and applying lock tight or gorilla glue to the screws for the extra umph.

Now i still have to cut out the hole in the top and the half moon in the middle, i will edit in the completed sword with details of how i will be painting it tomorrow. This is a work in progress. but even tho this will be heavier than a foam sword. the quality WILL show thru with this.

Here is the semi completed sword.
1 (http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b230/skelingtonking/DSCF0001-1.jpg)

and 2 (http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b230/skelingtonking/DSCF0002-1.jpg)

Nekkid Ichigo
06-29-2007, 01:20 AM
the quality can be good, but if it's not the proper size, it's still not a proper sword for the cosplay. Add to this that it weighs more than a fiberglassed foam sword, and you've made a small scale heavyweight display sword.

06-29-2007, 07:31 AM
maybe its all personal preference. and as long as you balance the weight of the sword properly its not hard to carry around.
before i got into cosplay i frequented ren fests. so i am used to carrying around large swords or axes and the like. so maybe i am biased

06-29-2007, 07:53 AM
Looks nice. :)

Not convention-friendly though, I'm afraid most cons won't let you carry solid wood big props like that because it'd be too easy to hurt somebody in a crowded hotel.

Nekkid Ichigo
06-29-2007, 05:07 PM
the weight wasn't the main thing I was talking about, it's the fact that the sword is too small for the costume, regardless of quality, and if it's too small, it just looks silly.

And I've yet to attend a convention that wouldn't let me bring any of my swords in as props, and wood's generally the only thing I use

06-29-2007, 08:10 PM
Nekkid Ichigo is right, this method produces heavy props at a fraction of the size. Wood is good because it's easy to work with, but solid wood is heavy and dangerous. I am not sure about what different cons say about solid wood (as I'm sure most of them have different rules about that) but it would make sense to not allow solid wood stuff over a size requirement.

Okami Yokai
06-29-2007, 11:24 PM
My friend would love you, he made a life size zanbatou from rurouni kenshin all from lumber, one long piece and a dowel rod.

Nekkid Ichigo
06-30-2007, 01:10 PM
I call bull on this last one. There'd be no way he could move it, much less that you'd nearly need a full lumbermill to do anything with the wood. And I've not seen a piece of wood (shy of a full tree) that would be able to produce the sword out of a single piece.

06-30-2007, 02:24 PM
I call chill on the last post. No need to turn this into an argument.

The tutorial here is good for smaller wooden swords as long as you don't mind the weight, and the results do look impressive. Just be sure to check with the convention if you plan to carry it to one and be aware that wood produces nice results but is fairly heavy.

07-01-2007, 01:21 AM
I call chill on the last post. No need to turn this into an argument.

The tutorial here is good for smaller wooden swords as long as you don't mind the weight, and the results do look impressive. Just be sure to check with the convention if you plan to carry it to one and be aware that wood produces nice results but is fairly heavy.

Nekkid Ichigo is right yet again. It would be impossible to get enough wood to make it (without taking down a whole tree), incredibly heavy, and just be too unbalanced. A dowel rod would not support the weight of the wood, much less with how unbalanced it is.

07-01-2007, 06:52 AM
only thing i have to add to this is to use a lighter hard wood than cedar (plus cedar is pretty frigin expensive) i would go with poplar or pine and then hit it with bondo to sand down to a nice finish. You can make a 6 foot zabimaru that dosen't weight really all that much ... well not as much as it would made from cedar or oak

and not to sound like a jerk but your back cut is not streight =P might want to look into that you got a big hump in the middle ^_~

07-01-2007, 06:53 AM
and also what cons won't let you carry solid wooden sword props? so far with the exception of acen (4 foot rule) i have had very little problem carrying around a 6 1/2 foot zabimaru (only complaints were about the teeth and some kid jumping onto them and impaling himself)

07-01-2007, 04:17 PM
actually the cut was straight when i did it first, but i ground off too much of it in the sanding process. its back to being flush now.
and yeah i do agree that most cosplayers esp younger ones would be better suited to use foam.
I just saw more than a few questions about using wood in their props. and everything in here is easily scaled down. i plan on doing a master sword next.

also, Bondo in this instance isnt really needed unless you have put some large gouges into the wood, i am using a highbuild sandable spray primer. works very well. cheaper too.

07-01-2007, 06:03 PM
For the convention thing. I went to Otakon carrying around a life-size Ichigo sword (even though it was taller then me XD) and it was made of wood but not solid. That would be a little too heavy. But they had no problem becuase I made sure it wasn't sharp. ^^ Good job on this tutorial. though for Zabuza's sword you are missing two features. 1. You're missing the whole near the top of the blade. 2. You are missing the C cute near the bottom of the balde. If you need some picture for what I'm talking about I'll be glad to give you some. ^^ Again, great job.

07-02-2007, 04:27 PM
It really depends on the type of wood. The wood i used for all my keyblades and Renji sword (From Bleach), I used a plank of white wood. It's light and easy to sand.

07-02-2007, 10:51 PM
yeah i know about the holes, they are in it now, i just wanted some pics from when i attatched the handle, i havent had time to paint it yet. but i can take a few new ones tomorrow.

07-03-2007, 05:03 PM
Mind if I ask if you actually ever worked with fiberglass and foam?
Hence if you even were allowed to a con with the weapons like you make them?

I know from over here you can get kicked from a con if your props are too dangerous...an your's actually are.

07-03-2007, 09:51 PM
i have done alot with foam, foamboard and resin. not done fiberglass yet.
i just love wood. its easy to work with. and very consistent. forgiving too.
and i mean i have seen some mighty big props. an i think that as long as you can prove its only dangerous if you swing it around like an idiot then youd be fine.
i mean fiberglass can be hard as a rock. even if it is light, it will still hurt like a bitch

07-04-2007, 08:29 AM
I think you never make the kind of Fiber & foam weapons I was thinking of:

You have a staff of fiber in the middle, surrounded neatly with foam you cut in shape.
LARP-Weapons are made like this.
I'd never dare to make a full fiber weapon, and I doubt a many people would (the dust from it alone is dangerous)
As said, I don't know the weapon-rules on Cons over in the US or in canada, but over here you'd have to give a weapon made off wood to the staff members and only get it back if you need it for a cosplay performance (walking around the con and having photos taken does NOT count as cosplay-performance)

As for wood-weapons. As said often before: It's pretty heavy the larger it gets and therefor not only hard to carry but also hard to wield...

07-04-2007, 05:18 PM
yeah i think all of this comes down to personal preference and circumstance.
for me the bigwooden sword isnt really hard to wield its pretty well balanced, which makes it easy to carry around.