First off, I would like to thank mrballeng for inspiring this instructable, specifically his Skelton Key project. There are many different tools and methods that I used to create the Mini Katana, and there are many OTHER tools and methods that could be used to perform just about every step. Use a method that you feel comfortable with, and be creative! There are so many different things you could do it's rediculous. Anyways, on with the show!
Tools I used:
- A flat file, or if you know how to sharpen the edge of a raw piece of metal whatever tools you would need.
- A Hammer
- A Sledge Hammer
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Wire Cutters
- Propane or butane torch
- Large Vice
- Bench Grinder
- Various drill bits and sockets for wrapping wire around
Consumable Items Used:
- Silver Solder
- Solid Core Copper Wire
- Paper Clips
- Various grades of Sand Paper and Steel Wool
- Wire Coat Hanger
Step 1: Prep the Hanger
I cut a piece of coat hanger to about 3", but you can change the length, just maintain the proper proportion size of grip to blade.
Put the hanger in your drill and using sand paper, sand off the outer layer of the coat hanger.
Do the same thing with your steel wool to help remove scratches from using sand paper.
Step 2: Form the Blade
I used a sledge hammer to start to flatten out one end of the hanger. Whichever hammer you decide to use, it is important to hit the hanger nearly perfectly on center. If you don't, the hanger will start to curl left or right. I found that a lot of the time if I hit the hanger off center, my next hit could be slightly off center in the other direction and the piece would mostly straighten out. The sledge hammer seemed to allow me to be less accurate while flattening. Also flip the hanger occasionally to prevent the hanger from curling up. Continue flattening the hanger until it reaches a thickness that you are happy with.
At this point I switched to a normal sized hammer and started intentionally hitting one edge of the flattened portion of the hanger. This edge will become the sharp edge of the Katana. Slowly work from where the guard would be down to the point of the blade. You will start to see the blade begin to curl. Once I had a decent curl in the blade, I formed the tip using a bench grinder.
Here you can choose to sharpen the blade with whatever method you choose, or you could wait until the very end of the project to finalize the blade. I did some prep work on the blade using a flat file to gain an initial sharp edge for the blade. Once I got the basic blade, I sanded everything down.
Step 3: Create the Grip, Guard, and Pommel
Get your solid core copper wire and strip any coating it may have. Wrap a portion tightly around the grip area. Extend the wrap into a spiral shape and then work you way back down the grip crossing the wire over itself forming an X. You can really do this anyway that you would like. This is were the Katana can really become yours.
Use your hammer to flatten the remaining bit of copper wire. This will be used to hold the oval shaped guard in place for soldering. Wrap the flattened peice of wire around the area just above the grip.
Cut another length of hanger and sand and prep it. Then wrap it around a 1/4" drill bit, or whatever sized socket works best. Using the wire cutters cut out a single ring, pinch it together and whack it a few times with a hammer to flatter it out a little bit. Put the guard around the flatted piece of wire and it should be held lightly in place.
Wrap a little bit of the remaining flattened copper wire around the end of the Katana to form the pommel.
Step 4: Solder Into Place
Solder the guard and the pommel into place.
Step 5: Clean Up Work
Step 6: Bonus: Stand
You gotta have a way to present your creation! Create a stand by drawing out a general idea on paper. Make sure that it is within the realm of possibilities. I made 2 identical pieces and then soldered them together with a straight piece of hanger.