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CarbonaNotGlue

New Member
Those of you who like to build lightsaber props for dueling/choreography/fan films may find this interesting.

I just discovered that if you go to screenused.com, click on "Archive" and search "lightsaber", you'll find several lightsaber props from the prequels that were auctioned off some time ago. They even had a few of the stunt blades used in Episode III, and I noticed that these were described as 37.25" long. The length of the blades in the movies has been a point of confusion for some, so I'll get back to this.

tNz6nsI.jpg
Stunt Blade from Episode III

NOTE: The next two paragraphs contain information I've gathered from various sources that may vary in reliability.

The saber prop hilts in the prequels were either made out of resin and/or machined metal (usually). They were then finished with paint, chrome plating and extra pieces where necessary. The stunt saber props used for the actual duel sequences also had very short, thin metal rods extending out of the hilts. The full length stunt blade tubes were simply attached to these rods. For filming, the stunt blades were painted bright colors to help them show up on camera, and then a clear heat shrink tubing was applied to protect the paint.

CZnpLcr.jpg
Episode I stunt saber

In Episodes I and II, the stunt blades were 3/4" OD aluminum tubes. This led to problems, as the tubes would bend and deform after a bit of use. For Episode III, the aluminum tubes were replaced with carbon fiber tubes that were around 1/2" OD (exact sizes varied), produced for the prop department by Kilwell Fibretube. These particular tubes were manufactured with an outer layer of texalium, setting them apart from regular carbon fiber tubes. Texalium has an almost silver color compared to the darker look of regular carbon fiber. These new stunt blades were lightweight, but they didn't bend like aluminum or break easily like other materials might.

i9f3YjA.png
Episode III stunt sabers

Anyone interested in building their own stunt sabers might want to look into texalium carbon fiber tubing for stunt blades. I have personal experience with this stuff, and I can't recommend it enough. Both randomsabers.com and sabershop.com have been known to sell texalium stunt blades, but the former seems to have disappeared, and I'm unsure if the latter is still active. Currently, thecustomsabershop.com sells texalium tubes that are almost exactly 1/2" OD. They aren't cheap, but they'll outlive a million wooden dowels. All of the websites I've mentioned also obtained their tubes from Kilwell Fibretube and sold/sell them as "carbon fiber" rather than specifying texalium specifically.

bXViojL.png
Texalium carbon fiber tube

Now, back to the Ep. III stunt blades on screenused.com. I mentioned these were all 37.25" long. I mentioned they were attached by being fitted over short, thin metal rods extending out of the hilts. This leads me to believe that the stunt blades might have retained their full 37.25" length even when attached to a hilt. It is possible that they fit into the emitter slightly so that the blade would be an even 36" once inserted, but in all photos I've seen of the dueling hilts with the blades removed, there is no recessed area in the emitter for the blade to fit into, just a metal rod sticking out of a flat emitter. Either way, in photos of the actors holding the props, the stunt blades do look pretty long.

fQHu4H3.png
Nick Gillard and Ewan McGregor

Anyway, I hope some of you find this information interesting or useful. If any of you have any more info to add, please do.
 
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StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This ought to be stickied. Great info here.

SB

EDIT: Also, can you post your source about how the Ep. III blades are attached? In all my research I had found that only the EP. I & II hilts had the rod protruding from them. I had always thought the EP. III blades were secured in the hilt somehow. Just curious.
 
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thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Can confirm. Texaluim blades, threaded rod inserts cast into resin hilts (III). Most metal hilts were belt hangers (III) and I and II had both metal stunts (with inserts) and belt hangers made.
 

CarbonaNotGlue

New Member
This ought to be stickied. Great info here.

SB

EDIT: Also, can you post your source about how the Ep. III blades are attached? In all my research I had found that only the EP. I & II hilts had the rod protruding from them. I had always thought the EP. III blades were secured in the hilt somehow. Just curious.
I appreciate the positive feedback from everyone here, I just felt like I had enough collected info that it was all worth putting somewhere.

I don't actually have a specific linkable source for how the EP. III blades were attached, it's just that everything I've read in the past always said the stunt blades were attached to metal rods for the prequel props in general. I've actually wondered if some of the Ep. III props just had the stunt blades secured into hilts instead, but I can't actually find any sources for this, which is why I didn't mention it in the main post.

Perhaps the different Ep. III props had blades attached in a variety of different ways? In the photo of the Ep. III stunt sabers I posted, you can see some Obi hilts without stunt blades, and all I see are holes in the emitter, no metal rods. At the same time, those Ep. III stunt blades that went up for auction had paint/heat shrink all the way down the length of the tube, and I personally think that you wouldn't attach a stunt blade by securing it into a hilt unless you had several inches of bare tubing to insert into the emitter. I feel like there's some missing information out there. Perhaps someone should contact Thomas Van Koeverden and ask him if he remembers how he did it...
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I feel like there's some missing information out there. Perhaps someone should contact Thomas Van Koeverden and ask him if he remembers how he did it...
I agree. Anyone have his contact info?

Also, I was just re-watching the Ep. III featurette "This Weapon is your Life," and noticed that there are some blades on his workbench that are not covered the entirety of their length with green/red.

bare texalium.PNG

Maybe this means that the bare portion of the tube was indeed embedded into the saber hilt?

SB
 

CarbonaNotGlue

New Member
I agree. Anyone have his contact info?

Also, I was just re-watching the Ep. III featurette "This Weapon is your Life," and noticed that there are some blades on his workbench that are not covered the entirety of their length with green/red.

View attachment 445380

Maybe this means that the bare portion of the tube was indeed embedded into the saber hilt?

SB
Oh hey, good eye. Those might even be threads on the very end of the tubes, too. I'm definitely starting to think the Ep. III props may have varied in construction. As for Thomas Van Koeverden, I believe this is his website http://www.tvkfx.com
 

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StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Who wants to contact Thomas? I think we should coordinate our efforts so as not to annoy him.

SB


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

CarbonaNotGlue

New Member
I don't know that I want to contact him through his business email/phone just to ask questions about lightsabers he built more than 10 years ago, as I don't really want to annoy him either... but who knows, he might not mind and simply offer his best recollection.
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Also, I was just re-watching the Ep. III featurette "This Weapon is your Life," and noticed that there are some blades on his workbench that are not covered the entirety of their length with green/red.

View attachment 445380

Maybe this means that the bare portion of the tube was indeed embedded into the saber hilt?

SB
I think I heard somewhere the threaded rod sticking out of the handle (I've seen these) was an early version and for Ep. III there was also a tapped insert developed, so the blades/rods could be screwed in.
 

CarbonaNotGlue

New Member
I think I heard somewhere the threaded rod sticking out of the handle (I've seen these) was an early version and for Ep. III there was also a tapped insert developed, so the blades/rods could be screwed in.
That sounds right. Looking at that last screenshot again, I noticed that the bare rod coming out of the red/pink blade looks considerably thinner than the colored stunt blade part. Perhaps a threaded steel rod was epoxied into the texalium stunt blade rather than the hilt? This would also explain why the blades that went up for action had no bare or threaded areas -- they could just be stunt blades without the threaded rod attached.
 

thd9791

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I'm currently exchanging emails with a guy who apparently used to work on set. I was skeptical at first, but every bit of information he's mentioned checks out - and he specifically has talked about and shown me inserts that are cast within a handle before chroming. The Texaluim blades here thread onto that. I'll have to clear with him if I can share any pictures publicly, and he's out of town for awhile.

This is the first photo evidence I've seen of the "new" system; inserting them into the handle. If it helps, Obi Wan's Pommels were seperate pieces sometimes, so maybe there is something there structurally. Seems like a cleaner job haha, but I suppose this was all designed for filming and evolved with time.
 

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CarbonaNotGlue

New Member
I'm currently exchanging emails with a guy who apparently used to work on set. I was skeptical at first, but every bit of information he's mentioned checks out - and he specifically has talked about and shown me inserts that are cast within a handle before chroming. The Texaluim blades here thread onto that. I'll have to clear with him if I can share any pictures publicly, and he's out of town for awhile.

This is the first photo evidence I've seen of the "new" system; inserting them into the handle. If it helps, Obi Wan's Pommels were seperate pieces sometimes, so maybe there is something there structurally. Seems like a cleaner job haha, but I suppose this was all designed for filming and evolved with time.
Wow, pictures would be awesome. I would love to sort out exactly how the Ep. III props were done, and hopefully uncover how long the stunt blades were once they were secured to the hilt. I've always assumed the blades were 36", despite wikipedia claiming with no source that lightsaber blades are usually four feet long.
 

StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The last two sentences of this description are interesting...

http://www.proparchives.com/science-fiction/science-fiction-2000s/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith/mace-windu-fighting-saber-blade-from-star-wars-ep-iii

" It is made up of about six individual components which all lock together via a steel rod that is bonded into the carbon fiber blade. This rod slides down inside and screws into the end of the saber and then is locked off by two tiny allen screws holding it all firmly in place."


EDIT: And this description from here: http://www.proparchives.com/science-fiction/science-fiction-2000s/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith-mace-windus-fighting-lightsaber

"The carbon fiber blade fits inside the hilt and is held in place with set screws. This is the "Hero" version of Mace Windu's lightsaber and remains in very good condition with only minor wear from use. Measures 48.5" in length."
 
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CarbonaNotGlue

New Member
Wow, that's a great thread. So the blades were likely secured in the hilts with set screws for most (if not all) of the Ep. III stunt props. I'm still wondering if the set screws pinned against the texalium stunt blade itself, or if they pinned against a steel rod bonded inside the end of the tube.

EDIT: And this description from here: http://www.proparchives.com/science-fiction/science-fiction-2000s/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith-mace-windus-fighting-lightsaber
Oh hey, that's the same prop from http://screenused.com, if I'm not mistaken. I find it interesting that the overall length is 48.5". If someone has a source for the exact length of Windu's hilt, that would solve the blade length question.
 
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StevenBills

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Wow, that's a great thread. So the blades were likely secured in the hilts with set screws for most (if not all) of the Ep. III stunt props. I'm still wondering if the set screws pinned against the texalium stunt blade itself, or if they pinned against a steel rod bonded inside the end of the hilt.
What if the design was similar to Ryan Wieber's where the set screw goes all the way through the bottom of the blade?

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1426345322.494429.jpg
 

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