Intro: How I Made a Curvy Fightin' Stick
A curvy stick for fightin', not a stick for curvy fightin'...okay, i think that joke's just about used up now, anyone agree?
Aaanyway, many thanks to TTF for posting the Bokken instructable (sorry there's no links but i have no idea...).
I think this isn't an instructable as much as a blog, but i'll put some instructions in so i don't have to move it to forums or whatever. Right, on to how i made it/how to make it.
Step 1: Find the Wood
If you live in a hardwood forest, skip this step, you'll have no trouble. The rest of us on a tight budget have to make do with what we find about the place. Basically, you need 3 bits of hardwood, i used a darker central strpie of wood, but you can use 3 different ones. It just looks better to me with the strip up the middle. Good sources for wood would be a woodyard, and ask for offcuts. Some furniture is made of hardwood, but that gets expensive. I used 2 bits of half round dowel about .75 of an inch wide and .5 inches thick, the strip was .25 thick and about the same width. Make sure to use hardwood. To test if your wood's hardwood, press youe fingernail to an edge. Does it sink in easily? is it doesn't, try bending the wood. Is it stiff, but still flexible enough to bend without breaking? if it passes both these testa, chances are it's suitable. Don't use pine.
Step 2: Sticking It Together With Sticky Stuff
Once you've got THE wood -infantile joke omitted- take a wird brush or some sandpaper to the bits that are going to take the glue. Rougher surfaces stick better. I used PVA glue. Because the bits of wood were half rounded, i had to tape them together when i clamped them down to stop them from slipping. Tape and febreeze solve all problems, it seems
Step 3: Clamp It Down
What is there to say? Clamp it to the bench over some bits of stuff to establish the curve. Generally, a clamp over each support'll be enough. I used 3 supports and 3 clamps. The 2 steel ones are to jack it up a bit and get a smoother, less angular curve. They won't be made into knives and daggers and possibly posted on this site later, i promise...
Step 4: Clamp It Down
Now's it's all taped up and glued together, clamp it to the bench. clamp it down good and tight, over some supports, to establish the curve. Having more supports makes a smoother curve. Also, i'd reccomend having a clamp over each support. The grey-looking supports in the piccer aren't going to be made into daggers and knives, honest. Aaanyway, the 2 steel supports are there to smooth the curve out a little.
Step 5: Smooth!
Once the glue's dry -make sure it is dry. It's a soul-destroying experience to undo a clamp and see it flex back into its original shape. Or you could just re-glue it- you have to shave off any high points. Use a plane or a file, whatever works best for you. Once that's done, sandpaper it. I only used 100 grit sandpaper, but you should go to about 360 grit. Also, if you're using light coloured woods, work with clean hands, or wear gloves. Smudge marks remain in it after the varnish is on. The picture for this step isn't the smoothed, planed one, it's the pic of the stick when it's fresh off the clamps, but i htink it serves to show what it should look like. But y'know....smoother.
Step 6: Now, the Varnish
Once it's smoothed to your satisfaction, it's time to varnish it. I tied a loop in a bit of fishin' line and hung the stick from it, and varnished it as it was hanging. You could just do one side then flip it and do another side, but i think it's better to do as much of it as possible, there's no overlap that way. The picture is the stick after 2 light coats of varnish. The strip of red wood really shows up. There's also a gloriously arty, out-of-focus type shot, showing exactly how well it shows up.
And now, we're doneski! as usual, if you're not prepared to be hit back, don't hit anything or anyone.