New prop maker looking for some help

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dragonglave

New Member
So I'm very new to the prop making community and I need some help on how to approach a project. I want to try to make a dagger version of a character's sword from the Alcatraz Smedry books by Brandon Sanderson. I'm using this image from an upcoming reprint of the books as my reference image
AlcatrazChapter14.jpg
What I need to know is, if I plan to cast the final product, will wood work for making the original mold? Will I need to treat the wood in any special way to it forms the mold well?
Also, where do I get the mold making supplies and the resin to make the final product? Finally, I'm wondering if anybody knows how to make a clear, crystal looking resen after it has hardened, similar to the daggers in this post? http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=211436&highlight=skyrim+dagger

Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated
 

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Darksyde13

Active Member
For best results in casting the wood should probably be sealed though a good release agent and platinum cure silcone may still work. You can always test a little patch. As for where to get your stuff you can find various products scattered about online. Most people seems to go with Smooth-On products which can be readily either direct from their website or other retailers. I stumbled across Brick in the Yard mold/casting supply from some good tutorial videos they post on you tube. They only sell direct but the people that supply their product can be found around as well. I forget the brand name at the moment. I have also discovered a local ceramic shop also caries casting and molding supplies so that is something you could check in to for a place to buy from off the shelf.

As for the clear effect it is a matter of deciding on a clear, or clearish resin that you then add a colorant to to get the desired effect. The simplest stuff to start experimenting with polyester resin as it can be found on the shelf at craft stores. It is rather smelly and the finish can be a bit tempermental if not using quality platinum cure silicone. My experements have had an odd texture when used in tin cure. The other mentioned companies have some clear cure resins as well, just pay close attention to the safety info as I know smooth-on has some that really isn't for home use and is quite toxic if you don't have the proper protection.

http://www.smooth-on.com/

http://www.brickintheyard.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/brickintheyard/featured

http://www.dickblick.com/products/castincraft-clear-polyester-casting-resin/?wmcp=amazon&wmcid=feeds&wmckw=33520-1006

http://www.dickblick.com/products/castincraft-transparent-dyes/
 
Last edited:

novacat17

Active Member
What Darksyde said is quite correct. I would add that you can also you auto body primer and lots of wet sanding to get a good finish on a wooden blade. If you plan to cast it, I would use MDF, as you wont need to worry about gain and it is far easier to work with, though not as strong as something like red oak (of course wear a mask if you use MDF). If you want to keep the original as a prop, go with a stronger wood like red oak.


Also, I am not sure if this helps:

View attachment Print sword for glave-page-001.jpg

I tried to get an idea of what the blade might look like. I would recommend a full blade and tang that the grip can enclose. I estimate that the character holding the weapon was younger and therefore has a smaller hand size. From that I got a blade length of roughly 22 inches. Full length of the item is 31.5 ish inches. This assumes that the hilt is quite large. The blade can easily be made longer, but I am not familiar with the source material.

Edit: oops, forgot to address the clear resin issue. Best results come from casting under pressure, a sometimes dangerous and expensive affair. You might be able to find a drawer nob with a similar profile and simply use that (cheaper and easier). Like this one: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/lookintheattic_2272_694565065 Hunt for what you want and you can save yourself a huge headache trying to cast a crystal clear resin without bubbles.
 

GaryArm

Member
I don't know if you are planning on doing a run of swords or only the one.If just the one, why not carve it out of perspex?
I did a sword many years ago when I worked for Opera Australia, out of Lexon for the blade using my dremal to shape it and put hieroglyphics on. I even included an in joke by hiding the McDonalds logo in the hieroglyphics. Wood was glued and shaped to make the grip and then shellacked a number of times to give a glass smooth finish.
The sward was then sent out to be 24 carrot gold plated, on return the Department head was very pleased with the finished results saying it was museum quality.
They liked that level of finish on sets and props as it helped the performers' get into character.
Normally on stage productions the finish of the props is on the low side as the audience dose not get to see then too closely, unlike film.
With your Sword, if you build it up in layers of perspex, there is a glue ( it's name escapes me ) that I have used that will adhere the clear perspex together and make the layers look like one solid piece with no frosting of the glue surface.
This would open up the opportunity for you to build in some lighting effects into your sward, and batteries in the grip. Just a thought :)
For the final buff of the perspex, I like to use tooth paste to bring back the glass finish
I look forward to seeing how your project turns out
finnished sword ready for plating.jpgThe Gold plated sword  made of wood and lexon.jpg
I have included photos of the sward I made for the opera Aida
Gary
 

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