Introduction: Easy Toy Sword

About: I love writing, DIYing, Crossfit, and playing board games. My fantasy novels are available on Amazon and my short stories have been appeared in Spark, Abyss and Apex, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Stupefying Stor…
This is a fun, quick, and easy way to make a toy sword for your kid (or for yourself). It's roughly the size and shape of a gladius. I gave one to my toddler for Christmas, and he loves it*. All you need is:
  • A piece of wood about one inch thick (a fence board, for example)
  • A band saw
  • A sander and/or files & sandpaper
  • (optional): a chisel/gouge, wood stain, clear finish
I made it at TechShop (www.techshop.ws), which has some nice band saws, a bench sander, and a scrap bin where I found the piece of wood I used.

*no guarantees on the survival of furniture, antique vases, or crystal sculptures if you give one to your toddler.

Step 1: Cut Out the Sword Outline With a Band Saw

Draw the outline of the sword with pencil, then cut it out with a band saw. If you've never cut something with a band-saw, the picture with the numbers shows a good order to make the cuts in. You can't turn really sharp corners with a band saw, but you can make two cuts that meet at a sharp corner.

I drew the sword free-hand on the wood. You could also find an image of a real sword, print it out, blow it up to the correct size, and trace it, but that's leaving "easy" far behind (and is probably overkill for a toy sword).

Step 2: Use a Sander And/or Files to Improve the Sword's Shape

  1. Lay the sword flat (the way you cut it on the band-saw) and sand to improve the sword's outline / silhouette. Mine wasn't perfectly symmetrical coming out of the band-saw, so I improved this a little on the sander.
  2. Lay the sword at an angle and sand to "sharpen" the blade. Leave a nice sharp edge between the grind and the ricasso (the unsharpened part of the blade). This goes a long way toward making the sword look nice.
  3. Use files and rough (like 60-grit) sandpaper to smooth things out, define edges, smooth the handle, etc.

Step 3: Use a Chisel or Knife to Make a "blood Groove" (optional)

This is really optional, but it does make the sword look a little more real.
  1. Use something sharp (like a straight-edged chisel or a knife) to score the edge of the groove you want to make.
  2. Use a spoon-shaped chisel (or a knife, if you're good) to carve out a groove. Sand to smooth.

Step 4: (Optionally), Stain / Finish the Wood

I used a paper towel to apply two coats of some dark stain, then used a paintbrush to apply three coats of some Deft polyurethane clear-coat varnish. My toddler will probably ding this all up anyway (actually he already has, as you can see from the close-ups), but at least I'll know that it looked schazzy at one time. 

That's it!

Notes:
  • For a more durable sword, use a harder wood. Pine is very soft, and dents easily (although it is also easier to shape/sand, so there's a tradeoff between how easy it is to make and how durable it ends up).
  • I wouldn't recommend making it much sharper than I did, because A) it'll be more dangerous, and B) it will be less durable.
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