Introduction: The Liquid Blade of the Three Deserts

About: I am a British Graphic Designer and Photographer, when I am not working, I spend my time making an array of projects. I used to make a lot of props, but now I spend most my time building crazy cameras and shoo…
Be sure to vote for me in the Epilog contest. Cutting shapes out of card is pain, so I need a laser to do it for me!

I have owned a set of samurai swords for a short while now. They sit nicely on my shelf, and are a great display piece. I however wanted something unique. There are two ways to get unique-

1. Spend alot of money on getting a custom item built.
2. Build one yourself.

I opted for the latter.

I have never done any metal work in my life, so I chose to buy a cheap blade, then recycle that into my own sword. I faced a problem here, as I wanted my sword to be purely decoration, something someone can pick up and enjoy its aesthetics, but unable to cause major harm, I purchased the sword of ebay, but i struggled to find a listing with a 'non sharp' blade, most buyers ignored my questions.

Finally i found one, a shortish sword, straight, one sided, pretty much what i was looking for.


The Liquid Blade of the Three Deserts is made up from a poly-bicubit liquid metal held in place with gravitational magnetic fields. Based on the 'Melon sword' concept, the magnets hold the liquid in an impossibly thin alignment, spanning only a few atoms wide on the sharp edge. A small reserve of liquid metal in the handle allows loss and healing of the blade.

The blade is given extra functionality with the spear tip located on the scabbard. When sheathed the sword can be used as a lunging spear. It also then doubles up as a two handed weapon, sword in one hand, spear tipped scabbard in the other.

Located in the handle is a gravity modifier, this has several purposes, the first is regulate the blade, and hold it in place. Second is to provide a perfect balanced blade no matter what stance, or how the blade is held. Finally, it can be clocked into over drive to deliver a 37 fold blow.

The name of the blade comes from when the overclock feature was first tested, the sword was ramped up to full power, and one brave individual strode out into the test zone, a swift swing brought the sword down onto the desert floor, only to crack the entire coastal region into three, creating The Three Deserts.

Step 1: Materials and Tools (greeness)

Most of my projects are based around reclaimed materials. Before you go and buy loads of thick cardboard or leather, use your brain, ask around. Most places are happy to let you have a little card, even if they recycle it!

Materials (greeness)
  • An old sword (green if you recycle one)
  • Cardboard (no matter what type you use waste card is everywhere, I got mine from a Print works)
  • Leather (ask your local leather/furniture workers, no doubt they will have 'unusable' scraps)
  • Metal (all my metal bits came from my 'metal junk draw', a must for any recycler)
  • PVA glue
  • Epoxy Resin

  • A dremel esque tool, mine is a parkside from my local lidl
  • Stanley knife, and plenty of blades.

Step 2: The Ebay Sword.

The sword arrived quickly, the actual piece was very well crafted, straight, and sturdy. Thankfully also non sharp.

I had been watching the latest hellboy movie when I was thinking around the hand, and how it would work. You can see the swords from the movie below. I was somewhat influenced, and took a few design features to work into my own.

The first step was to cut off the handle from the sword, once I had the blank sword, I laid it on some paper, and drew around it.

I then went about sketching the shape of my handle, I wanted a slight curve, which was easily added into an extra section after the actual sword handle had finished.

The last picture is one that i cleaned up so that you can print out and adapt it to fit your own sword.

Step 3: Bulk Up the Handle.

Now we have the shape of our handle its time to start cutting out some shapes.

For mine I used a thick vellum cardboard, but one could easily use mount board, or plywood.

The first stage of the handle is made by using three sections of card, using your template cut out three bits exactly the same. Then, either using the template, or by placing the sword. Cut out a recess for the metal of the blade. For me, the thickness of the blade was the same as my card.

I checked everything fitted together ok, and that i was happy with the feel.

I then glued the three sections together around the sword, this was tricky as I used two glues.
Where card joined card I use PVA (Elmers) glue. Where card joined metal, i used two part epoxy resin.

Sandwich the card together, and hold it tight using a vice, or some clamps. I left mine over night to let the resin cure fully.

Step 4: Finish Bulking the Handle.

I wanted a good weight to my sword, now I had an extra 20cm or so on the handle, the sword need to balence better.

Firstly using your template mark where the bottom of the metal handle sits inside.

For weight I find that coins are ideal, they're stackable, so you can get the correct depth easily.
I dug out my hole cutters, and found ones suitable. I used three stacks of 2 pence pieces.

Carefully cut out the holes, make sure not to hit the metal handle inside, and that there is plenty of space around the holes.

Once cut, I then cut out two more sections from my template. I used epoxy to glue the metal coins in place. I then glued the two extra template sections, one either side. Tape or clamp, and allow to dry over night again.

Step 5: Scabbard.

Using the sword handle itself as a template. I cut two long sections of Vellum card. I then attached two long thin bits of card either side of the sword.

I glued all this together with PVA.

Next we need to make our spear tip, I drew up another template, this one specifically fitted into a grove in the top of the scabbard. I used three layers of card. The two outer layers had a full cut out to fit around the scabbard, where as the middle section had an extra tab left in place for slotting into the scabbard.

Don't glue the spear tip in place just yet, as it will make the next step easier.

Step 6: We Want Smooth!

Now we have the bulk of the handle done. Obviously the handle wants to be nice and rounded and smooth all over.

Two tools needed here, a stanley knife, and a dremal.

Essentially, were sanding off and rounding all the edge and corners, take it slow, if you take too much off, its a pain to re-build it up again.

On the spear tip there is alot of card to remove to get the shape we want, so i suggest taking a stanley knife and 'planing' most the card off before sanding it down with the dremal.

Once all is nice and smooth you can go ahead and glue the spear tip in place.

Step 7: Leather the Handle.

I decided to use some of my good quality leather on the handle.

I started off by glue a decent size piece to the area around the hilt, one the face is glued down, you can then carefully cut and shape the leather and fold it round along the edges. This will be tricky, so take your time, if you get gaps don't worry, as you can fill them in with little bits of left over leather.

I used PVA (Elmers) glue to hold this in place.

The rest of the handle is alot easier, I cut out strips of leather about 20mm deep. Starting at the top I wound the strips down and around the handle. At the very top i cut a slant onto the first strip, this allows it to follow on at the correct angle, and will differ depending on the depth of your handle, and your leather strips. Its best to wind this piece around dry before gluing, just to make sure all is ok.

Finish of the bottom of the handle by wrapping the leather round onto the bottom, trim and fit it to get a smooth finish.

Finally, I added the 'Gravity Modifier' this was made from an old perf wheel. I cut out a circle from the leather to recess the wheel into the handle. Mask off your leather and then epoxy the wheel in place.

Step 8: Leather the Scabbard

The bulk of the scabbard was made using a tanned leather.

I cut a rough rectangle out, and stretched it around the scabbard to check the fit. I glued this leather in place using PVA (Elmers) glue, while the glue was still wet I used a curved needle to stitch the join, a bit of tension here helps the leather fit and stretch around the scabbard easier.

At either end I finished it off with a bit of the handle leather, the PVA glue acts like water and gives the leather a slight give, enabling one to mould it around the shapes.

A final addition was to cover the spear tip with an aluminium duct tape.

Step 9: Three Deserts Emblem.

I took a piece of the darker leather and wrapped it around the scabbard. I then wrapped some paper around the outside of that.

On the outside of the paper a drew a simple symbol of three humps to symbolise the three deserts.

Once these two bits are taped around the scabbard, I then carefully cut through all three layers, the paper, the dark leather, and the original tanned leather.

Once cut out, i then inlaid the dark leather into the gaps of the tanned leather. Kind of like a leather 'veneer' effect.

I repeated the process using a metal washer further down also.

Step 10: The Completed Sword.

Thats it, a few further extras might be to etch your own design into the sword blade, or to add a tassle of sorts to the spear tip.

Personally, my favourite part is the sword handle, it has a great solid feel, and the leather work is visually, and physically very aesthetic.

I hope you enjoyed the read, and can get to work modifying those cheap swords into something a bit more special.

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