For this project, as with my Halloween stuff every year, I wanted something cheap and easy that I could make in a couple hours. I decided to be the Black Knight from Monty Python's Holy Grail, and I needed a sword that was big. In the movie, the sword, when stood on end comes up to the knight's midsection, and there was nothing in the costume stores that was big enough in the right style, so I decided to make my own.
Step 1: Materials
As I said, I wanted to keep this cheap and easy. I didn't have my tools with me, and I couldn't find most of my father-in-law's tools (whose house we were dog sitting at), so this was also made with minimal tools.
Here's what I settled on:
1x3x8 spruce strapping - straight and knot free as possible - $1.54 at Home Depot
A few 1" finish nails - on hand
A hammer - on hand
A bow saw - on hand
A sharp knife - I started with an OLFA Construction Knife, but ended up using a Schrade Old Timer knife.
Sandpaper - wasn't concerned with grit, just wanted to smooth out some roughness.
Silver and Black Paint
Step 2: Cut to Length
You will have noticed on the previous step that I didn't have a tape measure on the list. Normally I use a tape measure to keep everything as precise as possible, but I couldn't find one around. I have a pretty good eye for things usually, so I decided to wing it. The following description will attempt to explain how I did this, with help from pictures.
I started by holding the board upright and determining where the butt of the handle should be roughly. I decided that it should end up around the bottom part of my sternum. I marked it here with a knife (no pencil around), placed the board in the vise, and cut it off with the bow saw (see pictures).
Step 3: Cut Out Handle
I now had to decide how big the handle should be. Thinking back to the movie, I figured I should be able to put roughly two hands on the hand, since it WAS a longsword.
I decided that the hilt would start about 10-12 inches up from the base of the sword. This was just done by looking at the overall length of the board and deciding on what looked right, proportionally speaking, for the handle. I marked this place with the knife, and marked another place about 2 inches up from the bottom of the board, so that there would be a "knob" on the end.
After marking, I made cuts on either side of the board at the marked locations, The cuts were roughly 3/4" deep. I,then, using a series of relief cuts with the bow saw, cut out a rectangular section from each side of the board (see pictures).
The relief cuts were made by making a series of vertical, diagonal, and roughly horizontal cuts with the bow saw. This made a very rough handle, but I planned on wrapping it anyway, so this was not a big deal.
***All cuts were made with the wood securely clamped in the vise.
Step 4: Shape the Blade
I started shaping the blade by clamping the sword near the tip of what would become the blade. The purpose for this was to allow me to better blend the flat side of the board, above where the hilt would be, into a sharpish edge of a sword.
I started by cutting the pointed end of the sword. I cut equal right triangles off either side of the board to form the tip. I saved these for later. I then used the OLFA knife to sharpen the end a bit.
I, then, eyeballed where the center of the wide part of the board was, and where the center of the narrow part was, and imagined a line connecting these imaginary lines. I attempted to remove woord to create the standard diamond profile you would expect of this type of sword.
***When carving, always carve away from yourself. If you cut toward yourself, you might get cut.
As I was shaping the blade, I snapped off the OLFA blade and realized that that was far too easy to do, so I had to think of something else to use. I remembered that I had my Car Emergency Kit in my car, and that it had a few knives in it. So I cracked it open, and grabbed my trusty Schrade Old Timer. This worked great, as the blade was a lot stiffer.
I kept the sword in the vise as I shaped it, and repositioned it to shape near the end. Once the rough shape was finished, I took the sword out of the vise and held it up in one hand and shaped it with the other. I found that this made it easier to refine the shape.
Step 5: Add the Hilt
Again, the width of the hilt was eyeballed. It was approximately 8 inches wide. When I had one piece cut, I decided that I since piece of wood running across didn't look good enough, so I cut a second piece of the same length and attached them to either side of the sword above the grip with 5 nails each. 2 more pieces were cut to fill the gaps between the 2 pieces already attached. These were nailed in with 2 nails on either side.
The triangles cut off the tip of the sword were nailed to the center gap fillers to finish off the look.
Step 6: Finish Up
I picked up some silver Krylon Metallic spray paint. I laid down newspaper and spray painted the blade, as well as the "knob" on the end of the handle in silver. I let that dry, then flipped the sword and did the same on the other side.
The guard and handle were painted black with cheap dollar store acrylic paint.
After the grip had dried, I used 3M Hockey Tape to wrap the handle. I put two layers down on the handle first, then twisted the tape and put down a layer while twisted, then two more layers of the tape (non-twisted). Think wrapping the top of a hockey stick. (See pics)
Thanks for reading. Instructions for the accompanying costume are here.