Hi Everyone, I'm Jeremy Hoffpauir.
I constantly search for ways to get my kids to create things with me in my workshop. I feel it is important for them to learn how to use tools and work with their hands. In an effort to get some Father/Son time, I offered to show my son how to make a minecraft sword with real wood that glows in the dark.
My son has been into Minecraft for quite a few years now. While I think it is a cool game for kids to play, I do not like it very much - mostly because of the irritating and redundant sounds that come from the game. Those with kids who play Minecraft know exactly what I’m referring to - sheep baa’ing, cows moo’ing, wood being chopped &, most of all, the voice of ‘Stampy’ (the famous Minecraft Youtuber from England). Despite my personal feelings towards the game, I knew this project would grab my son's attention and get him to participate in this project with me.
I find it more beneficial to utilize the ‘design as we build’ strategy when doing projects with my kids. This helps them stay engaged because they are involved with each stage of the project by providing input/opinions instead of simply building something someone else designed. I had an idea of how I wanted to build the wooden sword based on a few examples I found on YouTube & Pinterest, but Shane took me in a completely different direction - of course. ???? I only had 1 rule: we had to build the sword with material I had in the shop. In other words, we couldn't buy anything to complete this project.
Shane and I agreed on a general design of the sword after about 20 minutes of discussing pros/cons & materials on hand. This part of the process is so valuable for Shane b/c it teaches him how to share ideas with a team, translate his mental picture into words, & negotiate possibilities.
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Step 1: Draw Outline
We drew the outline of the sword on a piece of scrap 3/4" plywood in a 'T' shape. I used my combination square as a guide to draw my lines. The plywood was 12" wide and 30" long.
Step 2: Cutout Outline
I cutout the lines we drew on the table saw & completely forgot about the 'T' shape at the top. Shane tried to tell me as I was ripping this piece of plywood on the table saw, but I didn't hear him. This was the only piece of 3/4" plywood I had that was large enough for the sword, so it was time to improvise.
I ripped 3 more strips of birch plywood: 2 - 6"x4" strips for the sword's cross-guard, 1 - 10"x6" piece for the grip (sword's handle). By the way, I had to lookup the proper names for the different parts of the sword with Shane to figure the proper name for the horizontal piece, which is the cross-guard.
Step 3: Second Layer of Sword
I found some leftover pieces of bamboo I used to replace carpet on my stairs with wood a few years ago at our old house. I also found some basswood scraps laying around as well.
I learned very quickly that bamboo is really really hard, so it is best to take very light passes when running it through the planer. I've since bought a new planer, but this planer is a very good planer for the money. I planed down the leftover bamboo flooring and ripped about 1/2" off the sides and ends to make it a straight board.
Step 4: First Glue Up
Shane and I used wood glue and glued 2 pieces of bamboo and 3 pieces of basswood together, clamped the faces together and let it sit overnight.
Once these dried, I cut them into strips to be the second layer of the sword that will sit on top of the birch plywood. More on this later.
Step 5: Draw Lines for Cutout
Once the glue dried, I ripped the bundle into 1" wide on my table saw, which left me with more than I needed.
I noticed Shane was getting bored, so I chopped up a few of the bundles into blocks to let him play while I worked through the boring steps. Shane was still paying attention to what I was doing, but I wanted to give him something to do before he completely lost interest. Needless to say, the blocks kept him very busy.
I used my combination square and drew 45 degree lines across the face of the sword going both ways to form a diamond pattern. This left me with 1 full diamond in the middle and 2 half diamond shapes on each end.
Step 6: Cut Diamond Shape
I took the sword over to the bandsaw and cut out the half diamonds to make it look more like it belonged in a Minecraft world.
Step 7: Second Glue Up - Top Layer
I ripped the the middle piece of basswood out of the wood bundled we glued together in a previous step on my table saw. These 2 end pieces would cover each side of the diamonds I cut out and leave a 1.5" channel in the middle.
I glued these in place, clamped them and let it dry overnight.
Step 8: Cut Out Top Layer
I took the sword over to the bandsaw and cut out the strips following the diamond-shaped lines I cutout in a previous step.
I used my Japanese saw to trim of the excess strips at the base of what would be the sword's cross-guard.
Step 9: Build Cross-Guard
Step 10: Paint Middle of Sword
Shane wanted the center of the sword to be blue, so I used left over chalk paint I purchased at one of the big box stores for a previous project to paint the middle of the sword.
Step 11: Drill Holes for Cross-Guard
Step 12: Epoxy Resin & Glow Powder
I should have added more glow powder, but all I had in my shop was this small packet. I used half on one side of the sword and half on the other and hoped it would be enough for the sword to glow. We continued to mix the epoxy with the glow powder for an addtional 4 minutes.
Step 13: Remove Bubbles
After pouring the epoxy in the middle cavity of the sword and in the holes on the cross-guard, I used my blow torch and heat gun to remove the bubbles.
I let this dry for 24 hours and then repeated the same procedure on the other side of the sword.
Step 14: Sand Epoxy
The disc sander does a good job of flattening & dull the side tips/points of the sword. The tips/points were really sharp due to the density of the bamboo.
Step 15: Plane Sword
I ran the sword through the planer to get a nice, flat surface.
Step 16: Clean Up Edges
Step 17: Apply Finish
Step 18: Final Product
Here are a few pics of the final product. It glows in the dark very well, but I couldn't get a good picture of it in the dark.
Be sure to checkout my video for this project.
I hope this project provided you with some value because this is, and always will be, my ultimate goal.
Feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions. I'm happy to help!
Until next time – Imagine…Create…ShareTools I used for this project: