Introduction: How to Make a Nice Wooden Sword

Picture of How to Make a Nice Wooden Sword

Why buy your kids a cheap, soon to break toy when you can make them a great hardwood sword that will be durable, fun to play with, and even look good?

This should not be considered the only way to make a nice wooden sword, but it definitely makes a nicer one than you can usually find. Most of the work can be done with hand or power tools. The blade itself requires the use of a tablesaw.

As such the usual disclaimers are invoked. The use of tablesaws and other power tools can be dangerous. Take appropriate safety precautions and if something seems unsafe to you, stop.

Step 1: Step 1: How to Make the Blade

Picture of Step 1: How to Make the Blade

The blades are best made from a hardwood. I used white oak, but you could use maple, ash, cherry, red oak, etc.
Rip a piece 1 3/4" x 1" x whatever length you desire (I ripped 48" pieces and later cut them down to 24").

When you've cut all your pieces (if you're making more than one sword) change the angle on the tablesaw to approximately 15 degrees.

You will be making four (4) rips.

Follow along with the picture (crude, I know).
1st cut will give you your first bevel. It should be exactly in the middle for the part of the sword blade in the air, and slightly past the middle for the part of the sword blade resting on the table.
The idea is to get a crisp bevel on what will be the side of the blade and a small (1/8") flat spot on the "edge" of the blade. Less chance of a horrific injury when the kids are playing with the swords later. For the purpose of clarity we'll call the end now towards you "A" and the end that will be cut first "B".
For the 2nd cut, flip the piece so that the 1st cut is up and towards the fence. "A" is towards you.
For the 3rd cut you will flip the piece end-to-end so that "A" will now be cut first and "B" is towards you. 1st cut is still up, but away from the fence.
For the 4th (and last) cut, flip the piece so that the 1st cut is down towards the table and against the fence. You may have to adjust the fence a small amount so that the cut matches the other side.

You now have a sword blank. Cut it to the desired size.

Step 2: Step 2: Make a Hole for Doweling the Pommel

Picture of Step 2: Make a Hole for Doweling the Pommel

Center a hole for a dowel.

Step 3: Step 3: Finishing the "pointy End"

Picture of Step 3: Finishing the "pointy End"

Finish one end. I use a disc and belt sander, but you can do what ever you want. If you're making a number of swords you might want to do what I did and make a template to slide over the end of the blank to aid in speeding up the shaping process.

Step 4: Step 4: Making and Attatching the Crossguard

Picture of Step 4: Making and Attatching the Crossguard

The crossguard is very simple. Take two pieces of approximately 1"x3/4"x6" wood and place them together as shown. Mark a matching line at the middle (here at 3"). Scribe the actual cross section of the blade blank you just made on the wood. Cut out the waste (I used a bandsaw, but a scroll saw, coping saw, chisel, whittling knife, etc. will work).

Glue and nail the pieces together. Sand, or otherwise shape the crossguard to it's final shape. The side of the crossguard is a good place to write a name on with a dremel.

Slide the crossguard onto the blade (you may have to do a little more waste removal).
For these relatively small 24" swords, I choose a hilt length of 6". If you're making a longer sword, feel free to make a longer hilt.

Step 5: Step 5: the Pommel

Picture of Step 5: the Pommel

For a pommel I chose to take a cross section of an old maple bannister. You could also use a wooden ball or egg. Be creative.

Follow the sequence of pictures to get an idea of what part of the bannister I used.

You can make the pommel as plain or fancy as you want. I choose to stamp the sides of the pommels with some old embossing tools I had.

I chose to dowel the pommel on. To do that drill a hole centered on the blade and on the pommel. Cut a dowel to length, test fit, and then glue.

Step 6: Step 6: Have Fun

Picture of Step 6: Have Fun

Take the time to go over the finished sword and sand any sharp edges.

Feel free to finish the wood anyway you want. I mostly don't finish the swords unless I wax them.

You can also shape the hilt to be more comfortable to hold (whittle, sand, etc.) and also cover them. I've used leather (one piece cut and sewn to fit and even strips) and even Gorilla duct tape. An old belt will work.

JUST ADDED - I just tried a new way to wrap the handles. I used a piece of old heavy wool blanket and wrapped it around the handles with black cotton hockey tape (any sporting goods store that sells hockey equipment will sell you some. I bought three rolls for $6.99 from Dicks Srorting Goods and used one roll to wrap twelve sword handles, with some tape still on the roll.

As you can see I also make longer swords. All four of my kids enjoy using them (And their friends!) from my 13 year old down to the 3 year old, although her "two-handed" sword is much smaller.

If you have a lot of young relatives, consider making a batch of these for Christmas. These also make nice "craft fair" items for the holidays. The process lends itself very well to making multiples at the same time. You can take a few minutes for each sword and personalize the pommel and crossguard.



Traogen (author)2016-11-17

I know this is resurrecting an old one but I can't for the life of me figure out how to make the edges on the table saw. Without some kind of jig how do keep the sword flat against the fence without teetering? Hmm.. suppose I'll have to create a concave piece of wood that it could either slide against or get clamped to as I slid it. I'll be sure to post some pictures if I figure it out.

Are you crazy?! What if your kids kill each other with those swords?!

its a learning experience, if one of them hurts the other BAM life lesson learnt

captplayerlag (author)deus ex2016-08-03

I agree, if we all just baby our kids they will never grow up with the ability to over come obstacles and pain.

BobbyMike (author)deus ex2016-04-29

They survived :)

Almost 10 years now. Worse injury has been a couple of rapped knuckles.

Hi! Thanks for the concern. My 4 kids are all fine now, almost 10 years later. The oldest boy (seen in the pictures) is 21 and his sister is 11. They still fool around with the swords, no one has ever seen any injuries worse then a rapped knuckle.

AlentoS (author)2016-01-19


RaviT23 (author)2015-10-26


BobbyMike (author)RaviT232015-10-26


pizza1 to (author)2015-09-29

Ringer1633 (author)2013-11-10

have you thought about adding fullers or making the pommel out of a heaver material so that the swords are better balanced?

m4iler (author)Ringer16332014-04-16

Why balance them out? Personally, I would like a tip-heavy sword to be able to parry better, without a counterweight. But most of my point comes from Lindybeige:

Ringer1633 (author)m4iler2015-04-01

Yes I have seen that video as well, but from some experience with actually swords, they are much nicer to use with the balance point 2 inches from the cross guard than 6.

KnightOfKingsLanding (author)2014-12-01

Ahhh, better start out with this. Any duel-weilders here?

philocirapt0r (author)2014-08-30

wow! Really excited to make this! Great easy to follow 'ible!

BobbyMike (author)philocirapt0r2014-08-30

Thank you, share your results!

lotrsam11 (author)2010-07-15

Hey! awesome instructable! i was wondering, since i dont have a table saw with an easy way to cut wood at an angle, do you think it might be possible to try to use a hand plane for shaping out the sides of the blade? thank you!

BobbyMike (author)lotrsam112010-07-15

You definitely could. You might also look at using a drawknife.

drodge (author)BobbyMike2014-08-04

My kids love to make them themselves with softer wood. You can find white pine or other soft woods a Lowes or Home Depot. They use a sander for form the blade themself. It's definitely not as nice or refined as using a table saw to form the angles, but they really enjoy doing it themselves. If you have a belt sander you can turn it upside down and sit it on a bench to make a steady sanding surface. The softer woods don't hold up as well, but they love making new ones anyway.

BobbyMike (author)drodge2014-08-04

Neat way to get your kids involved in making things!

lotrsam11 (author)BobbyMike2010-08-01

ahh i see! thanks a lot!

MakeItWithJason (author)2012-08-08

This is a cool little tutorial. I put a tutorial on here on how to make a real sword, but this one is something my kids can actually play with the result without armor :)

Thanks for the kind comments Jason.

I checked out your tutorial, looks like you had fun making yours. Which is really the point, right? That's an accessible way for a lot of people to make swords, would be good for cosplay or renaissance fairs, neither of which I do. i'd be more likely to make one just in case of zombies ;)

My kids have really enjoyed these and are still using them. They've really held up over the years - and no trips to the hospital either ;)

Oh man, you wouldn't believe how sharp my sword got. I actually had to dull the blade edge! It could cut you down to the bone with no effort.

pitcherda (author)2011-12-27

We made 5 swords using your instructions out of a 10 ft long red oak strip. We screwed the cross piece together then used a belt sander to smooth off the screws. It mad them look like shiny rubies across the cross piece. Our kids loved them.

Thanks for this.


BobbyMike (author)pitcherda2011-12-27

Thanks for the nice comments Doug. I'm glad your kids enjoyed them (and I enjoyed checking out your blog).

Looks like you live a very similar life to us. My wife does a similar blog at but she doesn't keep up with it as well as you!


Raykyn (author)2011-07-30

While I agree that these swords did turn out very nicely i suggest that in the future you DO NOT use separate dowels for the handle of your swords. Constructing swords in multiple pieces is just asking for trouble. By using dowels you are weakening the overall hardiness of your swords. It is safer, more efficient, and easier to simply cut the handle out at the same time you make the blade. Other than that major liability you have done an amazing job with these weapons :) have you ever considered doing rapiers so you don't need to worry about injured fingers :P

BobbyMike (author)Raykyn2011-07-30

Thanks for you comment, but I think you might want to read my Instructable again.

When you do, I hope you'll notice that I used the dowel to secure the pommel to the sword, not the handle to the blade. The handle and the blade are all the same piece.

As a professional woodworker (and knifemaker - I've had to make custom knives for my leatherworking) I consciously decided to make them the way that I did specifically so they would stand a lot of abuse and not break.

As a point of interest, 4 1/2 years later all of these swords are still being used (and abused) by my kids and their friends.The only breakage had occurred at the pommel, but I did expect that and was willing to accept that as they're decorative elements. The breakage happened to one of the pommels itself, which happened, I suspect, because their was a prior split in the pommel that got worse when exposed to the elements (my kids leave them outside).

As to the rapiers - since I don't have the inclination to make masks I purposely didn't make swords that required lunges ;) The thought of my kids poking each others eyes out kept coming up.

Raykyn (author)BobbyMike2011-07-30

My apologies :( Now that i look again i do see where I misunderstood :P as for the idea of your kids stabbing their eyes out, i suppose a rapier was too specific. I meant just about anything with a cover over the fingers. Something like a Greek Kopis or a saber. A slashing weapon with a guard for fingers :P

zombie1212 (author)2011-07-23

these are great i cant wait to make one

Camisado (author)2008-07-14

I would not suggest letting your little daughters have these. These Wooden Swords CAN be dangerous, and let me tel you that it is NOT a toy. Have you ever experienced a full-strength blow from one of these? They can hurt. Like hell. I myself had experienced a few bruises and a broken arm or two ( though that's not common ) while training/fighting with these. Let me have you know that these swords were used for ACTUAL combat practice, and is definitely not a child's toy. Sure, if your son is responsible and does not wreck stuff with these, he is old enough, and he can have them, but for your daughter...... just, no. P.S: Nice swords! I can see that you are very good at this.

BobbyMike (author)Camisado2008-07-14

Hmmm.... how to respond? Are you implying that my daughter is in danger, or dangerous ; ) Thanks for the advice and nice comment. She's been using them for a few years (about three) now with no injuries. My kids enjoy playing with them most every day and use remarkable restraint. They also have pellet guns and are able to use my .22 (well, the five year old doesn't shoot the .22 yet). I believe that kids can be very responsible with potentially dangerous things if they are trained properly and supervised.

Camisado (author)BobbyMike2008-07-14

I understand what you mean. I am a kid myself ( 12 yrs old ), but at least I didn't get my first wooden sword at the age of 2-3. Well, maybe I am a little overreacting, because if you think about it, she doesn't have enough strength to clobber someone with a blunt weapon. Yet. And I guess her type of duels is the ones where you hit the sword, not the body, so as long as you supervise her, it's safe.

As for the pellet guns, I don't really think she should be using that. Wait until she's at least seven. This is different from the wooden sword, where you would need strength to kill someone with it, a single finger movement can make it go BANG!!! and poke an eye out.

For the Info, I got my first Wooden sword and pellet gun when I'm 8.

Hraefn (author)Camisado2009-01-30

DNTOTP, you are surprisingly good at writing for a 12 year old. Considering how education goes these days, I'd guess that maybe you are using an alternative to the public school system. I agree with the author, that kids can be taught responsible use of potentially dangerous items at a young age. There's no reason to use age alone as a guide for what kids can be allowed. Rather, the best way is to give kids privileges as they are able to handle them, depending on their level of maturity. I was homeschooled, and had very flexible and wise parents and grandparents who for instance allowed me to learn how to drive at the age of 9.

Camisado (author)Hraefn2009-01-30

Thanks. First time anyone complimented my writing at I'bles. And yes, I am schooled at a private school called Mentari. My mother forced me to speak English as early as when I'm still 3 years old (FYI I'm an Indonesian), and I guess it's not without it's advantages :-P. I am somewhat enraged towards the prejudiced adults believing that kids can't write good or kids who used their age as an excuse (e.g: wat am i suposed to do man im only 13 ur like wat?)...... So yeah!

BobbyMike (author)Camisado2009-01-30

We do homeschool our two youngest (5 and 10) and the two oldest (13 and 15) were homeschooled until this current year. We're sending them to a small private school so they can get ready for their NY State Regents (school has strong Math and Science credentials. My wife and I are stronger in the arts and we wanted them to be challenged. I get irked also when people are ageist. I know many younger people than me who are way more talented in many areas than me.

lop145 (author)BobbyMike2011-07-11

Is the educational system in america really that bad?

BobbyMike (author)lop1452011-07-11

Short answer - yes.

Long answer is too long to fill in here.

If you have doubts about my short answer just look at the decreasing scores of students who have graduated from HS here in the US. The literacy rate is also decreasing every year. My belief is that there has been a decision to focus on social issues instead of focusing on basic educational precepts. The kids only have a limited amount of actual "learning" classroom time, but an ever increasing load of things to learn.

We also pulled our kids from the private school after one year as they actually weren't challenged in class. Our oldest just graduated from HS (as a homeschooler) and will be moving onto college soon.

 Yeah you are pretty good at writing in English. Your mom forced you to speak English? Well that's not very effective. You could think you are expected too much of at that age and you might force yourself to learn so that you please your parents. But the heck with that, you learned anyway. 

Braeburn (author)Camisado2008-08-20

I got mine at 6.................

Camisado (author)Braeburn2008-08-20

So what? My point is that the object can be dangerous for a two year old to handle. I've been practicing martial arts that uses these ( Kendo, Aikido, ) for about seven years, and from my experience they are too dangerous for two year olds to repeatedly whack each other with.

kalor_alros (author)Camisado2009-09-08

You are absolutely right. Two year olds should not have a three foot sword of any form to repeatedly whack each other with. However, younger children under adult supervision and instruction, could more easily pick up the rules, reasons, techniques, and "right" reasons to utilize a martial art in any form (practice blades are still dangerous, in the wrong hands), than an adult learning the same things.

Camisado (author)kalor_alros2009-09-09

Good point.

BobbyMike (author)Camisado2008-08-20

I agree with you. A three foot sword is a bit much for a two year old. Parental responsibility is a must. I also believe that kids (actually all people regardless of age) will rise to the level of responsibility that they are handed (within reason). the important ingredient is supervision. Charlotte's sword was much smaller than the boys, about 20" long, more like a dirk.

thepelton (author)Camisado2009-02-25

I read that according to legend, a kendo master was killed by a bokken (Wooden sword).

tmos540 (author)Camisado2008-12-30

a four year old probably" would not have the strength you do, and she would most likely not be using it for combat practice. besides, the author sounds like a perfectly responsible adult who would probably never let his precious childeren near the swords, much less make them for his kids if he did not think they would be safe with them.

gingersftw (author)2011-05-08

dude these are frickin awesome!!!!!! any chance i could buy a couple from u?

woodenwarlord (author)2011-02-01

oh shut up its totally epic! <(=_=)>

daelith (author)2010-10-07

Excuse me, but if you are being hit by one of these sword, then you need to work on your defensive skills. that is all there is to it.

cranberys (author)2010-07-25

um make any buster swords?

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