Easy Toy Sword

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Introduction: Easy Toy Sword

About: I love writing, leather working, cooking, and playing board games. My short stories have been appeared in Spark, Abyss and Apex, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Stupefying Stories, Punchnel's, Kids 'Magination, a...
This is a fun, quick, and easy way to make a toy sword for your kid (or for yourself). It's roughly the size and shape of a gladius. I gave one to my toddler for Christmas, and he loves it*. All you need is:
  • A piece of wood about one inch thick (a fence board, for example)
  • A band saw
  • A sander and/or files & sandpaper
  • (optional): a chisel/gouge, wood stain, clear finish
I made it at TechShop (www.techshop.ws), which has some nice band saws, a bench sander, and a scrap bin where I found the piece of wood I used.

*no guarantees on the survival of furniture, antique vases, or crystal sculptures if you give one to your toddler.

Step 1: Cut Out the Sword Outline With a Band Saw

Draw the outline of the sword with pencil, then cut it out with a band saw. If you've never cut something with a band-saw, the picture with the numbers shows a good order to make the cuts in. You can't turn really sharp corners with a band saw, but you can make two cuts that meet at a sharp corner.

I drew the sword free-hand on the wood. You could also find an image of a real sword, print it out, blow it up to the correct size, and trace it, but that's leaving "easy" far behind (and is probably overkill for a toy sword).

Step 2: Use a Sander And/or Files to Improve the Sword's Shape

  1. Lay the sword flat (the way you cut it on the band-saw) and sand to improve the sword's outline / silhouette. Mine wasn't perfectly symmetrical coming out of the band-saw, so I improved this a little on the sander.
  2. Lay the sword at an angle and sand to "sharpen" the blade. Leave a nice sharp edge between the grind and the ricasso (the unsharpened part of the blade). This goes a long way toward making the sword look nice.
  3. Use files and rough (like 60-grit) sandpaper to smooth things out, define edges, smooth the handle, etc.

Step 3: Use a Chisel or Knife to Make a "blood Groove" (optional)

This is really optional, but it does make the sword look a little more real.
  1. Use something sharp (like a straight-edged chisel or a knife) to score the edge of the groove you want to make.
  2. Use a spoon-shaped chisel (or a knife, if you're good) to carve out a groove. Sand to smooth.

Step 4: (Optionally), Stain / Finish the Wood

I used a paper towel to apply two coats of some dark stain, then used a paintbrush to apply three coats of some Deft polyurethane clear-coat varnish. My toddler will probably ding this all up anyway (actually he already has, as you can see from the close-ups), but at least I'll know that it looked schazzy at one time. 

That's it!

Notes:
  • For a more durable sword, use a harder wood. Pine is very soft, and dents easily (although it is also easier to shape/sand, so there's a tradeoff between how easy it is to make and how durable it ends up).
  • I wouldn't recommend making it much sharper than I did, because A) it'll be more dangerous, and B) it will be less durable.
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21 Comments

Very nice looking sward. I am just wandering what is the reason you started your cut on the opposite side of where the pattern starts and instead of turning it around to start on the closer side and saving a piece of wood for possibly making a second sward?

1 reply

You're talking about cuts 6 and 7? No reason really... it was a little
easier, and I wasn't worried about saving the wood I guess. It'd
definitely be smarter to come in from the side and save some wood
though, as you say.

Thanks for the line diagram of the direction of the cuts.

nicely done.

1 reply

thanks!

Nice and simple! This is similar to one my grandpa made me over 30 years ago. Can you post length or a scale reference? The one I had was small, light, and nearly incapable of breaking toddler forearms as mentioned here. I imagine the same for this one.

1 reply

The length is about 18 inches, and it is pine (so pretty light).

Nice sword. My grandson loves playing with swords but we usually just use a tree branch. This looks nice and can definately see a shield for protection in your future. LOL.

1 reply

Thanks! Yes, a tree branch works as well.

Yes, the operator needs to understand the harm a wooden sword can cause, such as a broken fore-arm during a blocking maneuver!

The same happens with a good stick, too.

1 reply

Sounds like you're speaking from experience.

Wrap your swords and light sabers with the foam pipe sheathing insulation from your local hardware store and spray paint it to a desirable color.

good job :) Check out my sword scabbard instructable here:

www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Scabbard-for-your-Sting-Sword/

3 replies

thanks!
that link didn't work for me... is it broken?

https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Scabbarad-for-your-Sting-Sword/

Not bad at all. As to the wisdom of handing it over to a toddler, a bit iffy. It would be easier on the furniture etc, if you made him a toy rifle, an imaginary bullet does less damage. I do like the way you followed the knot grain for the hilt, makes it a bit stronger and less likely to break off. However, when using a bandsaw to cut out a pattern, you will find it easier to do the short cuts first.

1 reply

Good idea, thanks!

I sense a replica of Sting in my future... :D Nice 'ible!

1 reply

Definitely! My next project may be Thorin Oakenshield's sword, which is pretty awesome.

As the parent of a four year old Dragonborn I see only injury in the near future, most likely to others. I make my boy's weapons out of foam because of this. Awesome looking sword though and looks easy to create with the proper equipment.