Introduction: A STELLAR Longsword (plywood Construction) || MIM-I Ep. 9
Most medieval long-swords (pronounced 'ss-worde') weighed from 2.2- 3.3 lbs (1-1.5 kilograms for you normal people), and were generally two-handed weapons, with a larger pommel than other swords, and wider hilts (thanks Wiki ).
Welcome back the Make it Medieval (ish), where we take the things you've seen a thousand times and do it again, in similar-if not the same-methods. It's a collaboration though, so don't worry.
There's actually a stupid amount of terminology with long-swords, but in layman's terms, it's a longer, bigger sword. It originated in the 15th and 16th century, for those who are taking notes. Swords actually dropped out of Melee combat because of plate armor, but still remained the most classic and praiseworthy weapon in nearly all of history. They were used outside of warfare, however, by ordinary Joe's who needed protection on the way to the supermarket, where they would get their ground beef and chips.
So let me show you all how I built one, on this magical school bus tour.
Let's get rollin'.
Step 1: Some Tools I Used
First off, I'm going to list of the weirdly long amount of tools I used, in no particular order.
Chisels (I used v-shaped and a broad-head. 1/4 inch is fine)
Rubber Mallet (best used in combination with a spiked object, either to cut wood or to slaughter undead vampires. Your choice)
Belt Sander (I used it for some of the bevel work, and shaping the sword pommel)
Angle Grinder (the belt sander is helpful, but a flap disk and a grinder can be great for rough work)
Dremel Tool (My chisel work wasn't great, so the dremel did a dandy job sanding out the rough work. It's also really helpful for tight corners)
Some Clamps/ A Vice (I used the clamps to hold the wood while I cut it, and the vice for engraving work)
Rasps and Sandpaper (While intended for use on fingernails, both are surprising helpful on sanding wood)
A Jigsaw (To cut wood???)
An L-Square Ruler (Super-duper helpful for drawing straight lines and getting correct measurements. There's gonna be some of that stuff.)
Enough Cheesewizz, let's build this thing.
Step 2: Getting a Blade From a Board
So, disclaimer, this is actually the third sword I've made, but the first one to use a plywood blade. I had this huge piece of 1/2 inch plywood that seemed like a great piece to make it out of, so I slapped it on that table, drew up my design, and cut it out.
These are the dimensions I used:
32 1/2 inch blade (longer blades are better, btw; you can't lengthen the blade if it's too short, unless your a wizard and your name's Harry).
1 1/2 inch blade width.
I forgot the measurements or the handle....
Fun tip; make sure all your lines are perpendicular to each other, other wise you'll regret your existence until you fix it.
Step 3: Cut It Out and Sand Like Crazy.
Once I had the design out, I realized the blade was curved. Fun fact; wood bends. So I soaked it in water for forever amen and put some heavy concrete bags on it. I waited a day, and voila! The blade was somewhat aligned.
With the piece of plywood I was using, there were a million and ten imperfections, but I knew that after I grinded out the blade, most of the imperfections would be gone.
When I had cut out the tip, the plywood had gotten all splintery, so I took the liberty of sanding it down. Then I sanded off any rough edges with some more sandpaper.
Step 4: Forging the Blade.
Confession time, I forgot to take pictures of the actual bevel grinding. Yes, I know, I swore an oath, I'm sorry.
But I took pictures of the results!
So here's what I did; I drew a line directly down both sides of the blade, exactly in the middle (since the blade width is 1. 5 inches, half is .75, yes, I can do math). This is where that angle grinder came in so helpful. I clamped the sword to the table, and used a flap disk for the basic bevel work. I had to keep the edge of the flap disk on my side of the center line, so I didn't mess up the other side.
Pics 6, 7 and 8: to prevent the tang from accidentally tapering (Which would effect the sturdiness of the hilt), I removed a portion of the blade, after I was done with the beveling.
The pictures are a lot more helpful, sorry.
Step 5: Livin' on a Prayer.
This is how I got a design for the hilt, which is more or less as simple as grappling hangliding cows.
I'm just going to run through how I got the design, but I'd recommend looking at the photos.
I traced around the tang to get the basic shape, then traced the maximum width and length I wanted from the hilt (pic 3). Next, I got the exact (vertical) line, aka the center. I found the center of the Tang Rectangle, then figured out the design I wanted.
Does it sound complicated and tedious?
Because it was.
Don't forget to keep everything perpendicular, because you're going to hate yourself later if you don't.
Step 6: The Hilt: Part 2
In case you can't tell, making hilts is my least favorite part of this.
Use that nice chisel and start cutting out the Tang Rectangle (I use CAPS to jAzZ uP thE seNTenCE). I actually drilled two holes through it, to speed up the process (pic 2). I purposely cut out the rectangle before I cut out the hilt; It's a lot easier to keep a giant block of wood steady, compared to a relatively small hilt.
Also, I intentionally didn't use plywood for the hilt, because I figured chiseling through plywood would be pretty hard. Obviously, you can get around this problem if you have a scroll saw or a band-saw.
Once all that hoopla is done, I cut the thing out with the jigsaw. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. The thing came out looking like it had seen the wrong side of a WARHAMMER, but I got it done and started cleaning it up.
Have I ever mentioned making hilts is my least favorite part?
Step 7: The Hilt; Part 34,195,582.
Oi oh vey, it's been a a trip, but hey, we're almost done.
With Part 1.
I used 150 grit sandpaper and two rasps to sand out the hilt, including the Tang Rectangle. Fun tip; check both sides of the work to make sure each side is equal to each other. It's like Algebra. Whatever you do to one side, you do to the other.
I hate Algebra, btw.
Once you've sanded your fingers away, head to the store, trade your used pair for some new ones, pop them in their sockets, then go back and finish the rest.
After AAALLLLLLLL the sanding was done, I drew out my design and mirrored it on the other sides. This step is totally unnecessary, but I wanted mine to look nice, so I figured it's better to put in another 10% effort for 100% success. Okay, so that didn't make sense but I felt like saying it.
The hilt came out 9 inches in length and .75 hilt width.
Step 8: A Little Sneak-peek Into the Future
When I slid the hilt onto the tang, I got a little to hyped. For real though, I had way too many photos and this step seemed kind of necessary.
But doesn't it look AWESOME??!!!!!!
Step 9: Engraving for Eternity and Painting.
For some weird reason I painted the sword, then engraved, but it actually helped a lot. I doubt I would have been able to see the pencil without the paint.
Because I'm weird and 'adventurous', I decided to skip the usual paint job (like THIS), and branch out a little. So I painted the blade white.
But seriously, what were the Jedi thinking, getting blue lightsabers. White looks much cooler.
All right, let's continue.
I used a small engraving bit on my dremel to...engrave. Shoulda seen that coming. Not a whole lot to this part, just go slow and take your time. I used the v-head chisel on the broader cuts, but the dremel worked best. And keep your piece clamped TIGHT. Also, if you make a mistake, make sure you do it on the other side, so it looks like it was intentional.
Step 10: Build It Rightly....
WAAAHHHHH-HHHOOOOOOO!!!!! We're almost done! Aren't you excited? I'm not, because as soon as you're done reading this, the little voice in your head ceases to exist........thanks.
Anywho, I found a 2/2 block of wood and got to work. I drew out the Tang Rectangle (gotta love dem CaPS) on the end, and used my dremel bit to sink the rectangle. I refined it with my chisel, then drew out the basic design with a sharpe.
I didn't get real fancy with it, it's literally just a knob for balance. I used my flathead chisel to round out the corners, then went to the belt sander.
5 minutes later, and voila! A pommel to end all ages. I didn't get fancy with it, but I made sure it's symmetrical.
Step 11: Last Paint Job and Some Painting.
So the paint job can be SUPER frustrating, so just take your time and be patient. Life advice I don't listen to enough.
After painting the blade, hilt and pommel white, I dusted them with metallic black REALLLY lightly. I'm not sure which metallic paint job I like more, each one has it's benefits. Kind of like M&Ms and Skittles. Both look similar, but both are different on the inside. Someone write that down.
Once the paint is done, I did a dry assembly, to make sure everything fits. I used wood glue on the hilt, slid it into place, then hammered two small nails from either side. I took extra care to put them in solidly, without bending.
After that was done, I got the hot glue gun going, and used it to attach the leather. This part's really not rocket science, I just dumped the handle with glue and wrapped it with leather as tightly as I could.
Step 12: A Sword Is As Only Good As It's Master (or I Like to Think So)
Boo-ya, it's done! The thing came out 42 inches in length, which isn't very large, but I like the length. It's grip is surprisingly comfortable (whaddya expect, it's leather), and the pommel came out much nicer than I thought it would.
All in all, I like this build. It took me over a week, and I think I learned a lot. Engraving with a dremel is tedious but nice, pommels aren't that difficult to make, soda is a great energizer and Finland PhD graduates get top hats and swords.
Real talk for a second; I know this is my first Instructable since April, but I'd like to thank those 25 people who subscribed. I came back for ya'll, and I've got some more projects in the works, so don't you worry.
This is the 9th Make It Medieval (ish) project, but you can find all the others HERE. Thanks a lot for reading--may fair winds be at your back and a shining sun at you face.
Please subscribe for more of these projects, it would really keep me motivated. Thanks.
Peace out, Brokk.
4 years ago
Awesome job! Good idea using the angle grinder with flap disc for the bevels.
Reply 4 years ago
Thanks. I had just gotten it, too, so I was happy to take it for a spin ;)