Introduction: Bamboo Waster Sword
HEMA can be an expensive business, but it doesn't have to be.
These were made as training weapons for those on a tight budget, or on the end of the world where shipping is impractical.
These aren't the best, but they are good to get started and really cheap and quick to make. I think they cost me about $12 in total for the pair.
The Bamboo version is a bit light, but they will be good for getting basic movements down and maybe a bit of light sparring, though one did break after about half an hour. If you do plan to do sparing i recommend head protection and some for of hand protection, though nothing to robust is needed, gardening gloves would probably work fine.
It is also possible to use other woods, i have also made a version out of pine dowel, though i haven't sparred with it.
Also I have made single sticks to emulate sabers using flip flops as the guard.
Videos i took these ideas from:
Bamboo garden steaks. (Any other dowel can be used. Or other bamboo.)
Something to cut the Bamboo with. (I used i knife)
Tape (Masking and insulation tape work pretty good)
I had 1500 mm bamboo stakes, so i cut off 300 mm for the cross guard. When I chose the stakes i tried to find the thickest straightest ones i could.
The easiest way to cut bamboo that i know is to press your knife on it and then roll it all the way round, when its deep enough you can just snap it. Saws work to.
I rapped the long bits (now 1200 mm) in tape to get them secure. Trying to align them in a way that there was as little twist as possible. Unfortunately working with natural materials, it wont be perfect.
My initial plan for the cross guard was to use the two 300 mm pieces and tape them on each side, however one broke so i split the remaining one, which worked quite well.
I taped up one end of the cross then put it over the sword and taped up the other.
The guard i left at 250 mm.
It is then just a case of applying a lot of tape to the handle area in particular. I used tape to build up a pommel, by rapping it and going over the end. Applying tape adds weight, the more tape you add the heavier it will be.
Use lots of tape
Also note that with insulation tape, i have found that when you stretch it to tightly it tends to heat up a bit by some marvel of physics, and the glue can unstick.
This is a "singlestick" saber thing that i made using 900 mm bamboo stakes, again quite light, but descent for practice as it doesn't hit to hard. The flip flops work reasonably well as hand protection, but it is possible to get whacked on the hand.