Wooden movie swords.

JunkSabers1138

Sr Member
Hi guys. I've wanted to make my own movie swords with my granddad's ShopSmith ever since I saw LOTR ROTK in theaters and saw a wooden version of Aragorn's ranger sword on ebay yesterday and would like to know if anyone here has done any or if you have any wood working tips for me. I plan to use paints (mainly metallics) for the blades and furniture and use leather or wire coverings on the handgrips.

Some requirements:
Must look reasonably good (Most will be wall hanging hero props)
Must be able to sustain moderate swordplay (for stunt swords)

Any tips on how to make good furniture out of either carved wood or casting or how to assemble the hilt to the tang as well as tips for peening a wooden tang and making a more durable wooden blade would also be appreciated.


Swords of interest:

LOTR
Narsil/Anduril
Isildur's sword
Glamdring
Strider's sword
Nazgul swords (Which King, Large Nazgul, Short Nazgul with finger ring, and any other designs you've seen)
Denethor's sword
Boromir's sword
Faramir's sword
Herugrim
Eowyn's sword
Guthwine
Gondor/Rohan basic sword

Narnia:
Orius's swords
General Ottman's large sword
Basic centaur and minotaur swords
Edmund's sword
White Which swords
Optional: Peter's sword (I don't like it too much and besides, it looks pretty hard)

Other:
Mel Gibson Braveheart sword
Highlander McLeod sword

Any other types of swords would be welcomed, but they are not ones I REALLY want to make.
 

darthwhitey

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
i think wooden swords would be really cool....

i'm sure someone on this BB has some experience with them...i would bet that they could get pretty detailed

goodluck
 

Serafino

Sr Member
Try a search on the web for 'wooden wasters sword' and you'll find information on wooden practice swords which you may find helpful.

Oh, and 'BB' is for 'Bulletin Board', which is one word for what the RPF is. ;)
 

arwa

Well-Known Member
Depends on what the swords look like. I used to do a ton of wood working, and explaining how do something is not easy. Trial and error, or having a good vision of what you are looking for is how I came up with the pieces I used for some of my projects (not all).

For a blade, make a paper pattern what you are trying to do and work with the bandsaw table piece at an angle. If it is a straight piece, work it down slown with a belt sander.

I am not familar with the swords that you have listed above though so it is hard to say. The exception would be the clan Maclead sword.

My opinion though, make a paper pattern and go from there, but like I said, it is hard to explain how to do something like that without seeing the swords.

The other item is you want to dueling capabilities? That would be hard in my opinion unless you could incorporate a metal handle of some kind. Again, I am not familar with the swords, but it would take some "fiddling" to make it work.

I have been toying with the cartoon version of the MOTU sword. However, depending on the type of wood, I would not paint them. I would sand many times over and and stain them.

I don't think that my comments helped at all, but if you have specific question, I maybe able to help you with it. Let me know.

-a
 

JunkSabers1138

Sr Member
Thanks for answering. I was beginning to think that only I was interested in a topic like this. If you'd like, I'd be happy to post any pics I can find of most, but not all (since a few of them are rather elusive), of the swords I listed :) .
 

JunkSabers1138

Sr Member
Pretty SWEET :D . I'll deffinately use that to build Sauron's mace. I love that thing.

I guess that would be a good way for building un-fullered blades. But I'm still sticking to wood since there is a BUTTLOAD laying around the wood shop.
 

neosporing

Sr Member
i would try over here at http://forums.swordforum.com the people posting will definately know the answer and probably have some good leads...

just entering 'wood sword' into the search engine yielded 3175 hits...

<div class='quotetop'>(JunkSabers1138 @ Jul 24 2006, 11:50 AM) [snapback]1286693[/snapback]</div>
Pretty SWEET :D . I'll deffinately use that to build Sauron's mace. I love that thing.

I guess that would be a good way for building un-fullered blades. But I'm still sticking to wood since there is a BUTTLOAD laying around the wood shop.
[/b]
 

arwa

Well-Known Member
[attachmentid=9234]I just did this in about a half an hour with a hand planer...trial an error....

-arwa
 

JunkSabers1138

Sr Member
Thanks for your help everyone.

Arwa- You didn't need to go through so much trouble by taking time out of your day to make a wooden sword that would only be used for a photo for me to see :lol . Thanks a lot, man.

neosporing- GREAT site. I haven't found EXACTLY what I'm looking for yet, but I've found quite a few interesting topics while browsing through their forums. Thanks :) .

Here are a few examples of the swords I'm talking about. Again, they don't need to be SUPER ACCURATE, just good enough for a nice display piece for hero swords and with some toned down details for fighting swords.

Narnia:
Narnian swords
Centaur weapons 1
Centaur weapons 2
Minotaur weapons
Peter's sword

LOTR:
Anduril (HUGE PIC.)
Narsil (HUGE PIC)
Glamdring
Aragorn/Strider sword
Herugrim
Guthwine
Eowyn's sword
Boromir's sword (HUGE PIC)
Denethor's sword
Isildur's sword
Witch-King's sword
Ringwraith sword

Other:
William Wallace/Mel Gibson Braveheart sword (Marto version)
WW/MG Braveheart sword 2 (Del Tin version)
Highlander MacLeod sword

I'll try to find more in the near future. Before you think I'm attempting the impossible, think again :D . If us RPF guys can I.D. ALL the parts to the Obi-Wan ANH lightsaber, we can build pretty good painted/plated wooden versions of these swords :) , it would just be pretty hard to do so. Hope this helped for those not familiar with these swords.

Seth
 

JunkSabers1138

Sr Member
Now I know I'm not attempting anything stupid now because I was watching the Narnia DVD and one of the featuretes contains footage of stuntmen and actors practicing with wooden swords. Some were dully painted but some looked convincingly metalic, so now I'm confident enough to tackle this project with little (I'll still need your help on some things) doubt :) .
 

jddurst

Active Member
Just saw this thread.
Some tips:
For combat, use hardwoods. Oak is tough, but splits and checks. Maple is light and tough, Ash or Hickory (Pecan) is best (think of axe handles).

Make the blade and handle one piece with the quillon either half lapped or in two pieces quarter lapped (if that makes sense).

ROUGH shaping can be done with a 4 ½” angle grinder with a sanding disc about 60 grit. PRACTICE on something first.. These ‘wood erasers’ are not for the faint of heart.

After everything is carved to shape, I have had decent success with adding a coat of epoxy resin (West System) over a coat of automotive primer to hide the wood-grain. Metallic powder can be added to the resin with limited success.

Hope this helps. --jdd

EDIT: Have you considered aluminum blades? They polish up real shiny-like.
 

JunkSabers1138

Sr Member
Hey. Thanks for answering. I didn't get what you said about the quillons, I'm not THAT good with sword lingo. What do these grinder look like? All the footage I've seen of the swords from the films (LOTR and Narnia) are done with belt sanders of varying diameters and are fullered (you forgot about this stuff) using a VERY thin belt sander used in the middle of the blade.

I was thinking of the construction of wall hanging hero swords by
1. Cut rough blade and tang shape out of wooden planks.
2. Using grinders, sanders, and other tools, carve handgrips, crossbars, and pommels out of blocks of wood or cast them using various materials (I am NOT familiar with casting. Any help would be awesome).
3. Shape the blade using different belt sanders and fuller it if needed.
4. Use a thick primer to cover up the blade's wood grain and paint (Is spraying or brushing best?) a metallic color.
5. Take furniture and roughly fit onto tang. Take off and fix any imperfections before finally fitting.
6. Drill holes in the furniture, re-attach to the tang and drill smaller holes into the tang using the bigger holes as a guide. Remove furniture.
7. Again, re-attach to the tang and using small nuts and bolts, fill in the smaller holes with the bolt's threaded rod and fill in the large holes with the bolt's head and nut. This (in theory) will keep the furniture tightly fit on the tang. Fill in holes with putty and paint over.
8. Add details like leather or wire rings on the grip, engravings to the crossbar, pommel, and blade if necessary.

At least that's what I thought of how to build it. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me on anything that contradicts good sword building and tell me a better way how to perform the required action.

Thanks in advance.

Seth
 

franz bolo

Sr Member
All of the wooden weapons I own are made from Japanese White Oak.

They all have been used for years but are all in great condition.

FB
 

jddurst

Active Member
It sounds like you want to simulate steel blade construction methods, which will give you a weaker sword. The shoulders of the tang are the weakest part of any blade, and are OK with metal, but not advisable with wood. I would recommend making the handle and pommel out of the same piece of wood as the blade (or at least laminate blocks to the sides of the board in the handle area for the additional thickness).

The quillon is the cross-guard. A half lap is a joint where two intersecting pieces of wood have a dado cut out of each piece to accommodate the other and a flush joint is formed (Think of a Christian’s cross here). What I meant by quarter-lapping the quillon was to make a smaller dado on the inside of each piece of a cross-guard that is split down the center, and corresponding dados on either side of the blade/handle. The quillon is glued together at the same time it is glued to the blade/handle. Trust in your wood glue, with a properly shaped joint, it is stronger than the wood.

Knife makers and bladesmiths use stationary belt sanders, and the fact that they can grind a flat plane on the work piece is not to be under-rated, however with hand planes and files/rasps, flat surfaces on wood are easier to come by.

The use of an angle-grinder for woodwork is an old prophand’s trick (used mostly for ‘rustic-ating’ nice things to look worn) and is usually done because it is fast and handy. I wouldn’t recommend buying a grinder just for that purpose, but if you had one it is worth experimenting with.

Clear as mud?

EDIT: I would use a router with a fullering bit (round-nose) for a fuller, if not simply carving it with a gouge.
 
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