Balsa Wood Sword

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ResinEren

New Member
Hello everybody :D

This is my second post, so please excuse me if it's not good. I am currently making a balsa wood sword, "Excalibur" from ALO. This is my first time working with balsa, and for the primer (and strengthening) I'm thinking of using this. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Automotive-11-oz-Filler-Primer-Flat-Gray-Spray-Paint-249279/202097276?N=5yc1vZc616Z1z0t5ii

Should one can be enough? And for the clear coat, can someone give a link of a good clear coat (satin finish) at Home Depot? I'm looking for a good quality spray that's cheap.
 

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novacat17

Active Member
Hey Resin,

Generally, one can should be enough for a sword; however, as I am not sure of the exact size, I cannot say for certain. Furthermore, Balsa wood may not give you a good, solid base for a sword, as it is a wood that easily dents (even with primer). Filler primer will add only a tiny fraction of help to strengthening Balsa. I would recommend a better wood, like red wood. The stuff is cheap and is sold at any home depot in small, hobby sizes. It is more a pain to finish (more sanding) but it is far stronger and can give better results. As for satin finishes, I have found almost everything at home depot is just about the same in terms of quality and results, at least when working with spray and woods. What will really help your finish is wet sanding the filler primer and doing numerous (sometimes 5+) layers, with wet sanding in between. This will give you a very smooth finish, especially if you raise the grit after two or three layers. If you are aiming for a metallic look, you want that thing to be smooth, so go to a grit of 400 at least.
 

ResinEren

New Member
Thanks for the reply, novacat!

Next time I make a prop sword, I'll definitely use a better wood. The sword is 36 inches long. And sorry for the newb question, what is wet sanding?
 

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ResinEren

New Member
Oh yeah, forgot to mention this in my other post, I worked with balsa because I don't really have any power tools, like a saw. I only have tools such as exacto, files, sanding block, and paints/primers.
 

robn1

Master Member
I recommend shellac to seal and smooth the balsa, and it might make it a bit harder too. Apply it pretty heavy and let it soak in and dry. Sand and repeat, at least five coats. Eventually it will build to a plastic like surface, though it will still be vulnerable to dents.
 

novacat17

Active Member
All the advice thus far is spot on. By the way, red wood cuts rather fast with hand tools (where I got my start). As for wet sanding, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBENX1uvZak, this shows a demo, but it is just a method of sanding. It is used in many areas, but it helps build up a super smooth finish. It does very well with filler primer. Robn1 claims about Shellac are also a good path for sealer.
 

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