Instructables
Picture of Foam covered wooden swords
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My kids wanted foam covered swords for sparring, and nothing on the market looked very good. So I made my own from swim noodles with wooden cores. And then the toddler wanted one, so I made her a smaller one, too.

Ingredients:

  • Swim noodle with 3/4" hole
  • 3/4" (or 7/8") dowel for core
  • 1/4" - 3/8" thick piece of wood or plywood, about 5"x5", for guard
  • Gorilla glue or equivalent polyurethane glue
  • tape for clamping things together
  • optional: wooden ball for pommel
  • optional: baseball bat or tennis racket wrap, piece of leather or drawer liner material for handle
  • optional: paint / wood finish

Tools needed:

  • saw
  • drill or drill-press with Forstner or spade bit sized for dowel
  • sand paper
  • optional: circle cutter, or else router with straight or spiral bit

Warning: These can give a good whack, so be careful to avoid injury to persons or property. Inspect periodically for damage to foam and replace foam in case of damage.

 
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Step 1: Buy

Buy a swim noodle. The narrower 2.5" diameter ones with 3/4" holes will make the sword less unwieldy. Consult kids on color. Ensure there are no rips and the holes are centered. I got mine at Academy Sports.

Get a wooden dowel. I went for poplar so it would have a bit of give and wouldn't be as heavy as oak. For durability, go for oak. You may consider rattan, which is what SCA uses.

You have a choice between 3/4" and 7/8". The advantage of 7/8" is that it will fit more snugly in the noodle. The disadvantage is that it will be 30% heavier, and even at 3/4" these swords are heavy enough that my 9- and 11-year-old like to use them two-handed. The 3/4" may rattle a bit in the foam (the hole in the foam tends to be a little more than 3/4") but the Gorilla glue should fill most of the gap.

that is great idea, i will just make a little tweak before making it for my child

dremmettbrown8 months ago
LIGHTSABER DUEL :D these are really cool... :)
arpruss (author)  dremmettbrown8 months ago

When my kids saw them, "lightsaber" is one of the first things they said. That doesn't quite match the guards on them. But they guards are important to how my kids fence--they prevent many "cut off arm" events.

cyberviper428 months ago

Very nice project. Looks like it is a lot of fun to play with.

tsmith1298 months ago
I have made a bunch of swords like these i call them boffers ( google it) but to make them more safe I wrap the whole handle pipe insulation and avoid solid hand guards so you don't have any hard surfaces on the whole sword
arpruss (author)  tsmith1298 months ago

Our kids aren't allowed to fence roughly enough for that to be an issue--a single contact to a body part disables that body part by the rules they play by.

But certainly a good idea for rougher play.

Misac-kun8 months ago

I make some of these some years ago, i was part of a group called Campal. Our swords were just a little less safe, it didn't have the hand guard so they often slip and some time the wood hit some body, but we improved this build over the years.

arpruss (author)  Misac-kun8 months ago

We'll see how these stand up. So far the big kids had them for two weeks or so, but haven't played all that much with them. The toddler has had hers for a day or two, but has been rougher with it.

These are great!

mechagen9 months ago
Brilliant!!!!

Ultimate Play Swords :D