Step 1: Materials
Here's what I settled on:
1x3x8 spruce strapping - straight and knot free as possible - $1.54 at Home Depot
A few 1" finish nails - on hand
A hammer - on hand
A bow saw - on hand
A sharp knife - I started with an OLFA Construction Knife, but ended up using a Schrade Old Timer knife.
Sandpaper - wasn't concerned with grit, just wanted to smooth out some roughness.
Silver and Black Paint
Step 2: Cut to Length
I started by holding the board upright and determining where the butt of the handle should be roughly. I decided that it should end up around the bottom part of my sternum. I marked it here with a knife (no pencil around), placed the board in the vise, and cut it off with the bow saw (see pictures).
Step 3: Cut Out Handle
I decided that the hilt would start about 10-12 inches up from the base of the sword. This was just done by looking at the overall length of the board and deciding on what looked right, proportionally speaking, for the handle. I marked this place with the knife, and marked another place about 2 inches up from the bottom of the board, so that there would be a "knob" on the end.
After marking, I made cuts on either side of the board at the marked locations, The cuts were roughly 3/4" deep. I,then, using a series of relief cuts with the bow saw, cut out a rectangular section from each side of the board (see pictures).
The relief cuts were made by making a series of vertical, diagonal, and roughly horizontal cuts with the bow saw. This made a very rough handle, but I planned on wrapping it anyway, so this was not a big deal.
***All cuts were made with the wood securely clamped in the vise.
Step 4: Shape the Blade
I started by cutting the pointed end of the sword. I cut equal right triangles off either side of the board to form the tip. I saved these for later. I then used the OLFA knife to sharpen the end a bit.
I, then, eyeballed where the center of the wide part of the board was, and where the center of the narrow part was, and imagined a line connecting these imaginary lines. I attempted to remove woord to create the standard diamond profile you would expect of this type of sword.
***When carving, always carve away from yourself. If you cut toward yourself, you might get cut.
As I was shaping the blade, I snapped off the OLFA blade and realized that that was far too easy to do, so I had to think of something else to use. I remembered that I had my Car Emergency Kit in my car, and that it had a few knives in it. So I cracked it open, and grabbed my trusty Schrade Old Timer. This worked great, as the blade was a lot stiffer.
I kept the sword in the vise as I shaped it, and repositioned it to shape near the end. Once the rough shape was finished, I took the sword out of the vise and held it up in one hand and shaped it with the other. I found that this made it easier to refine the shape.
Step 5: Add the Hilt
The triangles cut off the tip of the sword were nailed to the center gap fillers to finish off the look.
Step 6: Finish Up
The guard and handle were painted black with cheap dollar store acrylic paint.
After the grip had dried, I used 3M Hockey Tape to wrap the handle. I put two layers down on the handle first, then twisted the tape and put down a layer while twisted, then two more layers of the tape (non-twisted). Think wrapping the top of a hockey stick. (See pics)
Thanks for reading. Instructions for the accompanying costume are here.