It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for here. Life is busy, life is time consuming. Enough whining from me.
To build on my last post here’s my build notes for my Elucidator. This is mostly me ranting about the struggles on building my first wooden sword so you can skip some of my stupidity and/or experimentation phases.
The Elucidator started as a ½ inch board of poplar. It was cut to the sizes as specified in my first sword art online post.
Once the basic shape was cut I went to work on shaping the edges. At first I was doing this with rough files but was unhappy with the speed and the results. I set this project aside for a while and tended to my commission of Homura’s bow. Once I returned to the Elucidator I had since purchased myself a Dremel 4000, which came with a small planer attachment. This was likely the tool that saved my project and kept me doing it in wood. Using the Dremel’s planer I shaped the edges of the main part of the sword (the straight part) and finished the curved areas by hand with my files. This same thing could be accomplished with a hand plane which can be easily obtained at most hardware stores.
The raised detail areas were cut from ¼ inch ply wood, shaped with a file, then glued on using wood glue to each side of the ½” poplar sword. The handle was a 1 inch dowel cut to size then attached using both a dowel screw (a screw with two sets of threading, one in each direction) and wood glue. The handle details were done out of a small amount of worbla and some paper clay.
All of the above was a fair amount of work, but the most work likely went into the paint job. I spent hours sanding this sword out on my balcony. I wasn’t happy until it was silky smooth.
After the final bit of building the blade was sanded to 220 grit, then had several coats of gesso applied and some paper clay applied to small nicks that had occurred in the wood during the building process. The gesso was sanding to 1000 grit. Two coats of black paint were applied with a brush to the entire sword. I used Liquitex heavy body black paint, this paint is a bit expensive but it worth every penny. It was a much darker black that my three other black paints used in this project and it went on well and sanded well. This paint was sanding to 2000 grit, until I was able to see my fingers in it. The reflective surface of the sword doesn’t show up well in photos but it is my favorite part of this sword.
After this the sword was taped with yellow painters tape (delicate) and I applied rub n’ buff to the edges with a soft cloth, it was also carefully applied to the pommel areas that required it. I buffed the rub n’ buff areas with a cloth twice.
The entire sword was seal with two coats of future, which was applied with a foam brush.
The top circle was cut from a wooden piece intended for dolls I found at a sewing store I frequent (Dressew for any other Vancouverites), which was cut into four, sanded, covered in rub n’ buff, buffed and glued on with contact cement.
The end pieces on the sword were 3D printed for me by a local pop-up shop (I provided them the model). This alone was an interesting experience, getting to play around with the 3D printer to get a set of perfect models. Since the piece was so thin a single piece of tape made the different between the machine printing a good copy of the cross and a bad copy of the cross. I covered these in rub n’ buff, sealed them and used contact cement to add them to the end of the blade.
Edit: I’ve had a few people comment on my use of the 3D printer for the decals on the sword. There are many other option for making these, the one I would suggest after the 3D printer option it to create one piece in fimo, wood, tagboard or bristol board and to use it to make a resin mold then cast two copies. However any material would work including; fimo, air-dry clays, thermoplastics, wood, bristol board/tag board, foam, acrylic… anything that is smooth, thin, paint-able and glue-able.
I then swung the sword around a bit, much to the displeasure of my other half.
When you build your first wooden sword this is simply something you have to do, it’s fun to have the weight in your hand. Do avoid jabbing yourself, anyone around you or any pets. Also try not to break the blade in the process.
Always feel free to shoot me a note at my facebook page if you need some more help or details.