I love the way you're going about making your sword! I made Cloud's FF7AC Buster sword for this year's NYC Comiccon out of the exact same base materials you are using! I did it to spec as well, but I think yours will be heavier than mine is due to how long your wood center support is.
I've gotta say though, yours is MUCH more clean than mine is. I made my edges by hand with a small coping saw and eyeballing it. Yours is very well done! I used the same board as a base, but I used Mod Podge as a sealing agent before paint. Also, I used dowels wrapped in hockey tape for the back handles, a rake handle for the hilt (w/padding), metal pieces from a broken lightsaber for hilt end cap and top, center gear from a nerf gun, and various other things. Mine isn't worthy of yours, but here are some pics from comiccon!
I know yours will come out much better than the one I created, but if you have any questions about my experience with it, ask away! Good luck with the rest of your projects!