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Unread 11-13-2012, 09:46 PM   #16
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Well if you want to do a foam build go for it. I've actually written one of the foam board tutorials posted on this site. However typically I reserve this method for large volume pieces, and since 2006 I have updated this plaster tape and foam method to fiberglass & bondo. Granted fiberglass & bondo takes a lot of tool support to work (power sanders namely) so I'll just link the plaster tape method.

The downfall with foam methods is that it requires a lot of time to get a nice finish. A LOT of sanding goes into the coating process, so you have to put in more time but you work with less tools. It's a give and take really.

Best of luck!

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Unread 11-15-2012, 03:32 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by StabbityBlkMage View Post
I make all of my swords essentially only using 2 power tools.

Belt sander.

You can get both for cheap at http://www.harborfreight.com. Once you invest in that you'll be making some really awesome stuff. Remember, the more you put into your cos the more you'll get out of it.

I guess the most general tip I can give is to take your time, measure twice, cut once all that jazz. Take your time with fine hand sanding and your finish work. And if you have time do some wet sanding to give the piece some extra polish.
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Unread 11-15-2012, 02:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by 2DLogic View Post
I'm actually quite surprised that no one has recommended extruded polystyrene, or insulation foam. It comes in large 4x8 sheets in various thicknesses from any home improvement store, is relatively cheap, sands and shapes well even with hand tools, is very light weight, and is very accepting of a variety of hard coats once sealed.
There are tons of tutorials around the forum about insulation foam should you go that route. Also remember that mixing mediums will often provide the best results, so don't pigeon hole yourself into thinking that you can't combine techniques.

I would hesitate to make a long skinny sword out of pure foam; it would be way too easy for it to just snap in two. It would need some sort of reinforcing core - maybe a "skeleton" of thin MDF that's built up into shape with a layer of foam on each side?

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Unread 11-16-2012, 03:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
It would need some sort of reinforcing core - maybe a "skeleton" of thin MDF that's built up into shape with a layer of foam on each side?
Yes, that's the general idea and is covered in many of the tutorials I referred to; however I'd recommend using something other than MDF. Fiberglass or common threaded rods are popular choices, as well as PVC pipe if your sword's blade is thick enough to accommodate it.

MDF can actually be quite brittle as well when used in long, thing sheets and if you were willing to bear the weight of a proper MDF skeleton then you may as well go ahead and make the entire core piece from it for the sake of long term durability.
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