Introduction: Making a Wooden Sword

By following these instructions, you will learn how to build a wooden sword. The sword will contain four separate major sections: blade, guard, handle, and sheath. Wooden swords of this type are more difficult and time consuming to make than other, more common types. Following instructions will help to make the process much easier and faster. Before attempting this project, it is recommended that you have a moderate amount of experience in woodworking. The sword can be created either with or without power tools, but using power tools will greatly decrease the amount of time necessary to complete the project. Using a mix of power and hand tools, it should take approximately ten hours of work and around 12 hours of drying time to complete this project. Using purely power or hand tools will decrease or increase the amount of time needed, respectively. By personally making a wooden sword instead of simply purchasing one, you will feel a much higher sense of accomplishment.

Step 1: Tools and Materials Required

In order to complete this project, there are a number of tools that you will need to use.

If you wish to use mainly power tools, you will need:

  • Band Saw
  • Drill Press
  • One 7/32" Drill Bit
  • One 1/4" Drill Bit
  • Belt Sander
  • Router
  • 120 and 220 Grit Sand Paper
  • Two to Three Half-Round Files
  • Small Triangular File
  • Coping Saw
  • Wood Glue
  • Bench Mounted Vise
  • Clamps

If you wish to only use hand tools, then you will need:

  • Wood Cutting Saw
  • Hand Crank Drill
  • One 7/32" Drill Bit
  • One 1/4" Drill Bit
  • 120 and 220 Grit Sand Paper
  • Two to Three Half-Round Files
  • Rasp
  • Small Triangular File
  • Coping Saw
  • Wood Glue
  • Bench Mounted Vise
  • Clamps

The Materials that will be used in this project are:

  • 2 4' x 3" x 1/2" Wooden Boards
  • 2 4' x 3" x 1/4" Wooden Boards
  • 1 1' x 6" x 1/4" Wooden Board
  • 1 1/4" Diameter Wooden Dowel Rod

Note: You can use any type of wood that you wish. Using harder woods will cause the project to take longer to finish.

Caution: Safety glasses should be worn at all times, especially when using power tools.

Step 2: The Blade

The blade will be made using one of the 4' x 3" x 1/2" wooden boards. The tools that will be used are:

  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape
  • Band or Hand Saw
  • Belt Sander or Rasp
  • Files
  • 120 Grit Sand Paper
  • Vise
  • Clamps

1. Draw an outline for the blade on the wooden board. The total length should be 37 inches long.

The blade is divided into two parts, the tang and the blade. The tang is the portion of the blade that will extend into the handle.

The tang should be 9.5 inches long and 7/8 of an inch wide where it meets the blade. The tang will taper to 5/8 of an inch wide 1/2 of an inch from the end. The last half inch comes together to form a point.The blade should be 27.5 inches long, 1 and 5/16 inches thick where it meets the tang. Beginning 2 inches from the tip, the front of the blade curves more severely to meet up with the back edge at the tip.

2. After tracing the blade onto the wooden board, use either the band saw or the hand saw to cut the tang to the proper size. The cuts don't need to be perfect, you will sand the edges later.

3. Before attempting to cut out the blade, cut notches into the wood perpendicular to the lines that outline the blade. The cuts should be at most 1/8 of an inch apart and come as close to the outline as possible. These cuts will help you to make the curved cuts to create the blade.

4. Cut out the blade, only as close to the outline as the cuts made in the last step extend.

5. Once the blade has been cut out, sand everything close to the outlines that you drew. If you are not using a belt sander, you should use your rasp for this part. If you are using a rasp, the blade should be inserted into the vise at this point.

6. If a belt sander was used in the last step, put the blade into the vise and tighten it. Using a half round file, file the blade the rest of the way to the outlines.

7. Using the 120 grit sandpaper, sand the cut edges smooth. For this step, it may help to wrap the sandpaper around a file in order to make sure that the edges stay flat.

8. Measure and mark 5/16 of an inch from the edge on the back along the entire length.

9. Cut the blade along the line that you just marked 5/16 from the edge using either a band saw or a coping saw. If your band saw does not have a guide, it may be easier to use a coping saw to complete this step.

10. Sand the side that you just cut flat. It may help to clamp the blade to your workbench for this step, otherwise use the same procedure for sanding as before.

Step 3: The Hand Guard

The hand guard will be made using the 1' x 6" x 1/8" wooden board. The tools that will be used in this part are:

  • Pencil
  • Vise
  • Coping Saw
  • Drill Press
  • 7/32" drill Bit
  • Small Triangular File
  • Half-Round File
  • 120 Grit Sand Paper

1. Trace a circle 4 inches in diameter onto the wooden board.

2. Mark the approximate center of the circle.

3. Around the center of the circle, draw a box 1 inch long by 5/16 of an inch wide.

3. Place the board in the vise and use the coping saw to cut out a circle along the outline that you drew onto the board.

4. Using the same method as in the previous section, use the 120 grit sandpaper wrapped around the file to sand the guard smooth to the circle.

5. Using the 7/32 inch bit in the drill bit, drill three holes into the board, one at the center, and one immediately on either side of the center hole.

6. Using the coping saw, cut out the inside of the box around the three holes.

7. Use the small triangular file to smooth out the interior edges of the box that you just cut.

8. Attempt to fit the tang of the blade through the box that you cut out. Continue filing the inside until the guard is able to fit all the way to the spot where the tang meets the blade.

Step 4: The Handle and Sheath

This part of the project will use the remaining 4' x 3" x 1/2" board, the two 4' x 3" x 1/4" boards, as well as the 1/4 inch dowel rod. The tools that will be used in this section are:

  • Band or Hand Saw
  • Wood Glue
  • Half-Round Files
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Drill Press
  • 7/32" Drill Bit
  • Coping Saw
  • Router or Rasp

1. Place the blade on top of the 4' x 2" x 1/2" wooden board close to one end and trace the tang.

2. A few inches from the end of the tracing of the tang, trace the blade, stopping where the width changes as the blade meets the tang.

3. Using the band saw or the hand saw, cut the two tracings apart.

4. Cut along the inside edges of the tracing of the tang until the last 1/2 inch, taking care not to stray outside the lines. This tracing will become the handle.

5. Cut along the tracing of the blade, ending just after the tip. Cut along the outside edges of the lines. The front edge should stop sooner than the back edge (as illustrated in the picture). This tracing will become the sheath.

Caution: For this section, it is not possible to cut lines to help you make the turns. Cut slowly in order to prevent damage to your saw blade.

6. Using the 7/32" bit in the drill press, drill a hole at the end of the cut along the front edge of the tracing.

7. Turn the blade of your coping saw so that it is perpendicular to the frame.

8. Use the coping saw to cut out the last 1/2 inch of the handle tracing, making sure to follow the lines.

9. Use the coping saw to connect the hole that you drilled in the end of the sheath to the end of the cut on the back side of that tracing.

10. Test the fit for both the handle and the sheath. Make sure that the guard is in place on the tang when checking the fit for the handle. Sand or file down the blade until it fits both the handle and the sheath. The handle should fit snugly around the tang while the sheath should be slightly looser.

Tip: The sheath will tend to collapse on itself at this point, as long as the blade can push the sides apart and fit comfortably, it is sized correctly.

11. Sand down the sides of the handle piece until it is as thick as the tang of the blade.

12. Mark the lengths of the handle and sheath pieces on the 4' x 2" x 1/4" wooden boards.

13. Cut the 4' x 2" x 1/4" boards to the lengths that you marked.

14. Place the handle and sheath pieces on top of the corresponding pieces of the 4' x 2" x 1/4" boards and check that they are approximately the same size.

15. Glue the 1/4" thick boards to the corresponding sheath and handle pieces. When gluing the sheath, make sure that the blade is inserted in order to insure a proper fit. When gluing the handle, insert a 1/4" spacer to represent the guard.

16. Clamp the glued parts together and allow them to dry overnight.

17. After the glue has dried, remove the sheath and handle from the clamps. Insert the tang of the blade into the handle and the blade into the sheath, just to check that everything still fits.

18. Cut off the very top and bottom edges of the sheath and the handle.

19. Measure 3/4 of an inch from each edge of the handle, and cut down the length. This will allow the handle to fit into your hands better.

20. Measure around 2 inches all the way down the length of the sheath. The line should be two inches from the side of the sheath that corresponds with the back of the blade.

21. Cut down along the line two inches from the back side of the sheath using the band saw or a hand saw.

Note: This will cut into the cavity that is meant to contain the blade. If you would like the blade to be completely encased when sheathed, then skip this step.

22. If you are using power tools, use the router to shape the edge corners of the sheath and handle. If you are not using power tools, then use your rasp and files.

23. With the blade completely inserted into the handle, drill two holes into the handle, making sure to drill through the tang of the sword.

24. Insert the 1/4 inch dowel rod into one of the holes you just drilled and cut it off so that it does not extend past the sides of the handle. Repeat the process with the other hole.

Step 5: Finishing

Now that your sword and sheath are completed, it is time to put the finishing touches on them. the only tools that you will need for this step are 120 and 220 grit sandpaper.

1. First use the 120 grit sandpaper to smooth out any roughness on all parts of your sword.

2. Sand down all corners and edges to ensure a comfortable grip on all surfaces of your sword.

3. Using the 220 Grit sandpaper, sand the entire sword, sheath, and handle a little more. This step will simply make everything smoother and look nicer.

You have now completed your own wooden sword. Congratulations! Retain these instructions for reference in case a future repair is needed.