This instructable will show you my method for making Cloud Strife's Buster Sword from Final Fantasy VII. The basic plans and my final product are shown below. Now, let's get started, shall we?
Step 1: Plans
It would be a good idea to take a look at these plans ahead of time if you're going to make this, mainly so you don't end up making everything up as you go along like I did. 3 sets of diagrams are shown below to help you better understand the structure of the prop. Sorry for the lack of metric units.
Step 2: Getting the Materials Together
Wood (plenty, pine will probably work best)
Ply wood (like 2 of those big sheets at the hardware store, make sure they are not broken!)
Gorilla Glue (recommended!)
Wood Glue (any, Elmerâs is good)
Elmerâs White School Glue
Fabric (I used white, I suggest it since it has no dye in it)
A couple of long, thin, wooden dowels
On big dowel (for the handle)
Nails for nail gun
Sand paper (both for the sander and just some sheet sand paper)
Wood Filler (like the white wood filler)
Water (hopefully you donât have to buy this)
A roll of large brown craft paper (or some other large paper you can draw the whole blade on)
Air compressor + nail gun (or just an independent nail gun)
Saw (various different types will work, as long as it works for what you need â look at tutorial)
Step 3: Getting Everything Ready
Time to draw out the whole blade of the brown craft paper. Measure it all out and then draw supports about 10in apart, maybe a little bit less. This is where you will put wood supports on the inside of the sword. One you have all that measured out and drawn then take your wood and cut it out in measures, one for the big long back and various for the supports. Now on the big long piece for the back draw on the point and cut that out with the saw.
[see first picture]
Once you are done with that, sand it down a little bit. Take one of the small pieces and make them to a point from where you want it to slant down into a blade (take a look at the plans if you are doing it to scale). After you draw that on it cut it with the saw and sand it down.
[see second picture]
Step 4: Cloning Supports and Realizing We're Horrible at Cloning
Well now we have one support finished! Well then, pull out your carpenterâs pencils and put that on another piece and draw the lines you used on it too, keep on doing this so you have a whole bunch ready to cut.
[see pictures 1-3]
Now the problem is that the supports turned out like mineâ¦. Meaning they arenât equal. We have to fix this. Take all the supports, line them up by the part that they go to point. After that take the saw and even out the other ends (hopefully you made them a bit longer anyways). Now take the power sander and sand down the points to make them even.
[see pictures 4-6]
Take one more support and at the back end you are going to cut it to a point, on the skinny side. This one will go near the tip to support the plywood up there.
[see picture 7]
Step 5: Putting Together the Frame
Now that you have all that done then you can sand them down so they are nice. Now take the back and the supports, you are about to put them together. Take the gorilla glue and follow the instructions on the container and glue the supports in intervals on the back, take the nail gun (probably connected to an air compressor) make sure that the pressure is not too high since that will just go through the wood. It would be a smart idea to test it out a scrap piece of the same wood. Once you get it right then you should put them together. That is quite enough work for one day, and you need to let this dry for AT LEAST 4 hours, but you should let it sit a full 24. If you still want to do more work or you have come back after a day then youâre ready for the hand guard and handle. Take some large pieces of wood (if youâre lucky like me they should just bee sitting near where you do all of your work and you wonât have to buy them). Mark the center; this is where you are going to drill the hole. Now use a bit that is a bit bigger then the large dowel you are using as a handle. Drill them through both
[see pictures 1-3]
Go ahead and glue them in place, clamp them and take the handle, cover the part of the handle that will be inside the sword with some gorilla glue, not too much but enough. Now put in the handle and cut it off a bit longer then you need it for the sword, at least that is what I suggest.
[see picture 4]
Now let that dry over night. You can move on to a different part but leave that part dry, you should now have a nice looking drying frame.
[see picture 5]
Step 6: A Frame Needs Something on Top of It
Now the drawing of the sword on that craft paper will come in very handy. Put it on the ply wood and start transferring the design, donât dispose of the paper or damage it, you will need it for the other side. I do, however, suggest cutting it into parts so itâs easier to cut the opposite side.
[see picture 1]
Sand down the edges of the plywood, we need to prepare it for when you apply it. Take some of the expanding foam and get the two small pieces for the ending part that is the blade. Get the two pieces to stay together with a nice little rig by gluing it, after that take a little bit of the expanding foam and put it inside, since this part doesnât have much support this will support it a bit better. Take a look at the support I have set up in the picture.
[see picture 2]
Step 7: Securing the Handle
So then the next day you can continue working on the sword. You should start by securing the handle a little bit better. You will drill some holes to put screws in. you will have to remember about the materia slots, mine is slightly inaccurate since I put the materia slots off to the side a little bit and then handle in the middle. You can choose how to do it, but keep the materia slots in mind when you put the screws in. now that you have the screws in and the frame is dry you can start adding different parts to the frame. Start with the hand guard; take some small pieces of wood (you should have some left over from when you cut the supports. Increase the size of the hand guard a little bit with the wood and glue. Let that sit ad clamp it, you can do other things but be mindful of that hand guard.
[see pictures 1-2]
Step 8: Now It's Starting to Look Like a Buster Sword
Now we need to prep the large ply wood pieces to get them on the frame. Sand the edges and then take the fabric and white glue. Line up the two larger pieces of wood how they should be and then water down some white glue a bit and cover the fabric in it. Put it in between the two pieces of the wood so that they connect. While itâs still wet (make sure it stays on though) put some glue on the supports, back, and that big piece of wood so you can put the big pieces of the plywood on. After you put it on nail it in place with the nail gun. Turn it over and do the same thing to the other side. Now take your wood filler and fill all the holes where you put nails, fill all the little parts that you need to and you can also put some on the buster sword to make the transition between the two pieces of plywood look a bit better (after painting of course). You now should put the final medium pieces on the ends just like the others, you should have a nice buster sword shape that looks (and is!) almost done.
Step 9: Final Things
So that we have a nice buster sword looking thing there is still some things we need to do. Clean the surface of the sword, I used an air blower to get rid of all the little particles from sanding and such. Now you need to mark where youâre putting your materia slots if you havenât already. Now take the bit you want to use (I used some weird attachment to drill good circular holes) and drill away! Since you will also be drilling through that big piece of wood you will probably burn some wood with friction from the drill, this is normal. Take some sand paper and start sanding on the inside of the holes, if you have some gaps I also suggest wood filler, but you probably wonât since you put glue on the big piece of wood. You should now have an unpainted buster sword with materia slots!
[see picture 1]
I went out and happened to find these small half sphere pieces of wood at hobby lobby that had a flat looking round bottom that came out. So I drill these indentations into the hand guard for the 5 half spheres on it. One I put those in with glue it just lit it sit over night. Now, the problem with plywood is that itâs not a natural wood, making it hard to make it nice and smooth so it looks good with paint. The top part (not the blade part) was easy since I used paint that gave it a hammered look; all I needed to do there was fill holes and indents with wood filler after sanding it by hand. Since the blade needed to look a bit different I used a metallic paint to make it look a bit more like it was sharpened. This kind of look is hard to get with plywood so I needed to make it smoother. After sanding it down by hand I took some wood filler, I watered it down, and spread it all across the bottom of the sword. After it dried I sanded it down so it would be level and made sure the rest of the sword was level. Get some masking tape, plastic bags (of just some sheets of plastic), and your paint. Usual painting on wood thing. Make sure anything you donât want painted in that color is covered. And always keep the handle covered. Once you paint everything (like 2-3 coats should be good) you should notice some weight gain in the sword. After it dries then take some acrylic paint and paint the handle, obviously red and the end gold or yellow. Now I am adding a part to this that I did NOT do, but I am telling you so you donât make the same mistake. After you paint the whole sword (handle included) put a clear coat on top of it all so that the paint job does not get damaged, I did not do this just to save money and now my buster sword needs a new paint job, just costing more money. At the end you should end up with something like in picture 2.
[see picture 2]