Assuming anyone reads the last pages here, I just wanted to give input to the tutorial instructions. FW, I don't know if you're aware, but there's a simpler alternative to getting a dowel that you (if needed) cut up. at Rona (and possibly home depot) there are steel stakes in the plants & garden section in the FAR back. They a VERY strong, are bendable to shape into nearly any slight curve you may need; they're hollow steel bars that are wrapped in a green plastic casing w/lots of slit openings running down them. best way to cut them is bending back and forth on the desired spot if you don't have a hack-saw.
They come in 3 sizes varying in thickness (6, 8, 12mm), length and price, from [3' for $1.50] to [4.5' for $2.50] to [6' for $3]. I'm gonna go with that for my katana.
on a more related note, I made a gundam shield based on this tutorial:
I just need to figure out how I can attach it to my arm so that it anchors on my shoulder rather than just have wide fabric elastics wrapping around my forearm.