A few weeks ago my wife's cousin John phoned to ask my help making claws to go with his Wolverine costume. (Yeah, Enough said!) He is attending ComicCon here in Calgary and wanted cool looking claws for the event. His idea was to make them out of wood however I thought the cool factor would be much, much higher with metal.
· 6ft - 1/8 by 1 metal flat stock (not galvanized)
· 18in - 1/8 round stock, (not galvanized)
· Several Cutoff wheels
· 1 HD 4 x 36 metal belt
· Metal sandpaper
· Angle grinder with cutoff wheel
· Bench Grinder
· Flat sander (I have a Robi 4 x 36)
· Mig Welder
Materials Cost - The flat plate and rod only cost $12.00. Consumables would easily be that much or more however the end result is much nicer than what you can buy. Very much worth the effort.
Safety - Obligatory safety talk here. Especially since my wife is a safety officer. Be sure to use proper PPE. Gloves, goggles etc are mandatory. During this project I found out that a cutoff wheel will in fact go right through your glove. It did stop when it hit the bone though.
Step 1: Cut Flat Stock
1. Cut the flat bar into 1 foot sections. It came as 2 - 4 foot pieces so we had a lot left over.
2. Measure your palm and cut 2 pieces of flat stock to fit in your palm with nothing showing from the outside . We cut ours 2.5 inches long. You need this to hold onto as the claws weigh a fair bit.
Step 3: Grind Claws
3. Grind the claws to suit, had there been more time I would have liked some nice grind lines and made them more knife like. If you are using a flat bench sander/grinder like mine be sure to get high quality belts ment for metal work.
Step 4: Cut a L Shaped Notch
4. At one end cut (using the cutoff wheel) a L shaped piece off. The idea is to have the long L fit on top of the hand. The pictures show this part better than the description.
5. Grind a gentle curve on the top of the claw and clean up the sharp edges.
Step 6: Cut the Rod
6. Cut the 1/8 rod into 6 - 4inch pieces. Since the rod came in 4 foot sections we had a lot to play with. Using the vise make a 90 on one end of the rod. This is the piece that gets welded to the small flat stock.
The rod will fit between the fingers and connect the claw and flat plate. We used a vernier caliper to measure the length of the short L. Don't forget the thickness of the hand varies between each knuckle as well as each hand. The distance from the bottom of the claw to the rod will be a lot more than you think when your hand is clenched in a fist shape.
Step 8: Weld Rod to Blade
7. Place the rod and the blade into the vise and weld the two pieces together.
Step 9: Fit Claws to Hand
Once all the claws are welded you need to fit them to the hand. Holding the short piece of flat stock in your palm place the claw in position and mark where the rod hits the plate. All the claws will have different positions because the hand varies in thickness as you move towards the little finger. Since we made it to fit Johns hand I cant even get my fingers in there. There must be lot of variation in hand size.
Step 10: Weld Rods to Plate
Weld the rods onto the plate. I had real trouble with this since I have zero experience at welding. (Yeah I know, I own a welder. Hey! Every guy has to have a welder in his garage. right?)
That's it. The first claw took a full afternoon since we had a lot of thinking to do. I would expect someone to be able to do this in a weekend if you don't do a lot of grinding. It would be nice to have knife like grind lines and mirror polish the blades. That would add a LOT more time to the project though.
Step 12: Finished Product
Here is a picture of John wearing the finished claw. Pretty cool eh! Notice how the blades seem to be coming out of the skin.
Good luck with this project, it was a lot of fun to do. I have no plans to make my own set although my son Jayme says "Who wouldn't want Wolverine Claws!" Good Point!