Help with a prop sword build!


New Member
Hello everyone! First time posting a thread to these forums, so please let me know if anything I do or say is uncouth in any way. I'm currently in the process of building a prop sword to look like the ones used in the anime Attack on Titan. Things were going pretty well, but then I got stuck. I opted to use craft foam for the hilt and balsa wood for the blade, but now that the hilt is finished and the blade is nearly there itself, I realize I never thought up a way to attach the two. I'd like for the means of attachment to leave the end product relatively sturdy, and I'm not averse to using nails and the like to get the job done. I'm fine using glue as well, but I don't believe that will do the trick as far as leaving everything solid is concerned. The hilt is about 3 inches thick where the blade is to be attached. Will post pictures as soon as possible. Any help? Thank you in advance!


Active Member
Well... without pictures it is a bit hard to get a clear idea of the issue. Does the blade have a full tang or does it just end at what would be the visible part of the actual blade. Generally, when constructing any kind of prop blade, I have found that it is best to build them like a real blade, with a full tang that can slide into the hilt or have the hilt built around it. If the issue is that you are trying to connect the flat side of the blade's shoulder to the top part of the hilt, then you will run into stability issues regardless. One way to address this would be to use metal pins, with holes drilled in each side; however, these would be very difficult to properly align. As far as glue, I would go with an epoxy regardless.

I'll check back for pictures to see if I can help any more then.


New Member
@novacat17 I think I more or less subconsciously assumed it would be something like a push-tang, but hopefully the pictures can explain it a little better.




This is where the blade is being inserted. At least, that's the plan. The hilt pictured is made up of three layers of foam board glued together with foam glue, and I am planning on removing part of the center layer in order to wedge the blade in and either glue or fasten it somehow. Any other suggestions would be very welcome, though I don't believe that just gluing the blade to the top of this hilt would be very stable. Haha



A side view of the layers in the hilt.



Frontal view of the piece of wood I'm using as the blade. As you can see, no tang, although I do have some give with the length. I'd be fine with sacrificing some length in order to make this all work.



Ideally, this is what it would look like once finished.



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Active Member
First off, nice work.

Now on to the issue. It seems that a good solution will require you to rework the hilt a bit. The pin solution may work, but balsa is probably not strong enough for that. Could you carve out the middle section of the foam a bit to allow the blade to slot in slightly?


New Member
novacat17 thank you! It could be a lot better, nothing on it's very clean, but it was all done with little planning and free-handed most of the way through. In the future I'll know to think things through a little more before I start working.

I had been planning to do just that actually, carve out some of the center to slot the blade in. Do you know of any reliable way of doing that? Also, what kind of pins would work for it? Is there a specific kind I should look for? Thank you!
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Active Member
Looking at those pictures, it looks like the hilt is made up of three identical pieces sandwiched together?

Really, what you want to do is remake the whole thing. I know it's a pain, but if you had incorporated the blade as the middle section of the hilt, you would have had a full tang and a very sturdy build.

With what you have there, it's going to be very difficult to get a join that will hold


Active Member
I sadly have to agree with CynderBloc (sad because it means redoing it, not sad because cynder suggested it:p), best way is to take what you learned and redo it all (a common feature of a replica-prop creation, I promise).

However, if you want to try and salvage what you have and carve out the middle, a good method would be to use a sharp exacto or utility knife and go very slowly (be careful). You may even be able to use a chisel exacto blade (most hobby stores sell them as part of exact and hobby knife kits).This is a dangerous prospect and I wouldnt recommend it. The possibility of cutting youself while working on the it is a bit too high in some respects, especially as the results may still not be anywhere near stable enough (a floppy blade). A dremmel sanding bit could also do this, but again with poor results.

As far as the pins, you could probably use finishing nails, which you can find at any hardware store. They are thin enough, dirt cheap, and might be long enough to work. However, there is a good chance they would just chew through the foam over time.

As cynder mentioned, safest and best way is to start over. If you plan on doing this, you could get a full paper plan sorted out first and then work from this plan. I use a vector drawing for any of the blades I plan on making and then print them out on thick cardstock to test the ideas, look, and size of the design. If you have questions on this method, feel free to shoot me a PM or search around the RPF for examples of blade builds.
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