When I was little, I dreamed of becoming a knight. I begged and begged for a sword for months. Then, on Christmas morning, I got my wish. I have become the proud owner of a shiny, plastic Sword of Omens (complete with roar). I became a fan of anything to do with swords, castles, and magic. The Middle Ages, Renaissance Fairies, beat my friends with plastic swords in the yard — you name it, I love it. Actually… I still like it. I’m still that kid Read: how to make a larval sword By all accounts I should have gotten into it years ago, but for some reason (let’s call it a gruesome twist) fall of fate if you will) I never did. I’m happy to report that oversight is about to be fixed. A-LARPing I’m leaving, and in preparation for my first outing, I’m building my first sword myself. The best part? I will also teach you how to make one. The weapon in question is a 36-inch, single-handed sword that should be right in the middle of most LARP weapon guides. That being said, be sure to check your local association’s weapon requirements before crafting anything. Requirements tend to change.Step 1: Gather your documents. You’ll need foam (I’ve heard a -inch-thick LD45 works best, but I opted to “tactically buy” my wife’s yoga mat instead), a sword core (a solid fiberglass rod with inch diameter works best, unless you’re willing to splurge on something expensive like carbon fiber or graphite), binder (DAP contact cement works best for sealed automotive foam and mix things up with your core, while 3M Foam Fast works great with open-cell foam), rope, markers, ruler or tape measure, scissors, utility knife, duct tape (electrical or best conduit), and maybe a saw.Step 2: Mark your core. You’ll want about an inch for your bomb, another inch for your guard, and about 4 inches for your handle—depending on the size of your hand, of course. The rest of the weapon is your blade.Step 3: Prepare your core. Unless you’re lucky enough to get a core of the exact length you need, you’ll want to cut it down to size a bit. However, cutting fiberglass is quite complicated, so first apply masking tape over the spot where you intend to cut. Wear eye protection and a mask so you don’t ingest any fiberglass dust. Saw through the center of your ice, limiting the amount of debris you’ll create. After cutting, leave the tape over the fiberglass and cover the cut end with tape, just to be safe. I leave room for myself for a 30-inch blade.Step 4: Start building your blade. I will use the Box Method for my build. The first step is to cut two strips of foam as wide as your core (1/2 inch) and as long as your blade (30 inches).Step 5: Glue the foam to the core. I am using DAP contact cement for my construction, so let me take a moment to tell you about its use. EXTERNAL USE ONLY. The smoke is not only toxic but also flammable. Many contractors can tell you the story of how they punctured a hole in the kitchen wall using this thing indoors with pilot lights lit. The can actually tells you to cut off the gas line to the house before opening it. Just go out. And wear gloves, eyewear, and a mask. Also, don’t bother buying a brush for this. Just use a spare foam scrap. You will have to throw away anything you use.Step 6: Glue the foam to the core, continue. Alright, go ahead and coat your foam strips with a coat of DAP and wait about ten minutes. The glue needs to stick before it sticks. The goal here is to place two pieces of foam on the fiberglass rod directly opposite each other. When you stick the foam to the core, take great care to make the foam nice and straight the first time. This glue is so strong that your foam will rip off before the glue undoes. Apply gently for a few minutes to ensure good bonding. Read more: how to make oak barrelsStep 7: Complete the box. Next, cut two more foam strips. They should be as wide as your core plus two pre-glued foam pads. For me it was 1¼ inches. Same length as the first two (30 inches). Glue these to the bare sides of your core, making sure they stick equally well to the existing fiberglass and foam strips. Apply pressure again.Step 8: Go to the top of the box. Cut a small square piece of foam to cover the end of the fiberglass core. Apply DAP, wait for it to stick, glue and apply. Once your box liner is in place, taper its two sides. These should be the edges covering the smaller layers of foam that you glued to your core first. You are doing this to make it easier for the next layer of foam to stick to the canning core.Step 9: Make the leaf border. Cut two strips of foam about the width of your tinned core (1¼ inches) and twice as long, plus a few inches. For me, that goes up to 62 inches. Apply DAP to one of these, wait a few minutes, then glue the side walls of the box containing your thinnest layers of foam.Step 10: Finish the blade. Apply a second layer of foam over the first layer, remembering to wait until the first layer is firmly attached. Once this is done, you’ve finished all of your highlight edges. Finish creating your blade by using scissors or a knife to cut away the uneven layers of foam. Make sure the bottom end of the blade is as flat as you can get it.Step 11: Start protecting yourself. I heard that the guard of a sword is the most unique part of its construction. For me, I chose to go for a glass cutting aesthetic. This means I’m limiting my sword to a useful prominent surface, but I’m okay with that. Here is a link to the traditional sword guardians, for the curious.Step 12: Shape your guardian. The surface of my protector is about 5 inches in diameter, and I left a 10-inch strip so I can later mount it underneath my grip. I recommend making your protective layer at least two layers thick for texturing purposes.Step 13: Strengthen protection. With a guard like me, you’ll need to drill a hole in the center of it to get it into your core. Make sure it’s large enough that you don’t accidentally break your foam. Use the DAP to glue the guard to the base of the blade.Step 14: Increase your vigilance. I was not satisfied with the amount of surface area connecting the guard to the blade, so I added another layer of foam on top. The hole in the middle is about the size of my blade.Step 15: Complete protection. Apply DAP again, this time doing the most protective reinforcement all the way down to your blade before doing so. Some shaping may be required to create a look that I’m happy with. Read more: How to find horny girls on omegleStep 16: Balance the sword. Unless you want a sword that swings more like a bat, you’ll want to add a bit of weight to your hilt. A good way to do this is to add inventory bars or other heavy items to your hilt. For my sword I’m using a 4 inch bolt wrapped in nuts.Step 17: Balance your sword, continue. Use heavy-duty tape to stick your counterweight to the hilt of your sword. Make sure it’s not going anywhere. For a bi-bladed weapon, you’ll want to evenly distribute the weight on both sides of the grip, but for my lens I added weight to the end alone, basically because it feels free more natural when held in hand. .Step 18: Create your grip. Once the counterweight is in place, your grip is shaped and ready to be completed with a rope. I opted to use a rather thick and coarse rope, but a lace-up shoe works just as well. DAP onto your grip, wait a few minutes, then stick the end of your string in the space between your counterweight and core.Step 19: Perfect your grip. Holding the end of the rope tight, wind the rest of the rope around your handle until you reach the bottom. Once it’s set up the DAP will hold the wire in place, but I also recommend several layers of tape, just in case.Step 20: Shred your fat. This is where the clumsy foam strip I left alone earlier comes into play. Cut a hole in that sponge, drill it into the core of your sword in the base of your hilt, and DAP it into place. If you don’t use the same kind of protection as I do, a foam ball with holes in it is an easy option.Step 21: Close the bomb cover. To make sure that no part of your sword’s core is exposed, cover your bomb with a layer or two of foam. Once this has been glued in place, you’re done! All that’s left to do is add a few cosmetic tweaks and add a cover to your weapon (if your local association requires those). Happy LARPing!To learn more about LARPing, you can also browse through LARP’s display page, where it’s possible to follow a group of adventurers like you and me as they embark on their quest for fame, fortune, and mainly friendship. You can watch all of Season 1 of the show before moving on to the premiere for the next season. It’s like LARPing with all your friends without the need for bug repellent. Oh, professional LARPers, what should I do? This is my first sword, so I’d love to hear any suggestions and tips you have for improving my designs. Read more: How to charge a trolling motor battery while on the lakeImage Credits: Geek & Sundry / Colin Druce-McFadden
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