Tutorial: Dagorhir sword blades from routed kits

Alric here! I’m re-posting an updated version of my tutorial for putting together a blade kit of 4lb fry, 2lb striking surface, and ensolite (‘marine foam’) stab tip.

The original was hosted on the Dagorhir national forums.

1) First, we’re going to add a biscuit, a piece of super-compressed and slightly rounded foam on the tip of the core. This firm, rounded tip will be a little gentler to the inside of your 4lb fry, reducing the chance that your core will slice through the 4lb foam from the inside-out. This improves your weapon’s overall longevity, and forms the base your stab tip.

To make it, you’ll cut a small scrap of 1/2″ thick 4lb foam into a circle that’s just a tiny bit wider than the tip of your core. This is your ‘biscuit.’

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2) Take two 3″ long, 1/2″ wide strips of strapping tape and make them into an X. Tape this X on your biscuit.

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3) Tape your biscuit onto the tip of the core, compressing it onto the tip almost as hard as you can.

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You now have a layer of super compressed foam on the tip of your core.

4) Cut a 3″ long strip of 1″ wide strapping tape; you’ll wrap this around the tip to keep the biscuit from popping off.

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Your biscuit is secured!

5) Next, sand the strapping tape with a medium-fine sandpaper (I like 220 grit) to rough up the smooth surface of the strapping tape. This will allow DAP to stick to it better, which is important!

6) Now get your routed 4lb strip.

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7) Cover the entire length of the 4lb strip with a good layer of DAP. Don’t drown it, but don’t be cheap either. Let the DAP get tacky, or even dry to the touch.

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8) Cover the core in DAP and set it aside to get tacky (dry to the touch).

9) Put a second layer of DAP on half of the 4lb foam, over top of the first. This is an important and necessary step, because the 4lb foam is slightly absorptive, and if you use only 1 coat of DAP your sword will come apart. Let it get tacky (almost, but not quite, dry to the touch).

10) DAP the core a second time. Don’t let it get tacky: instead, immediately stick it down, wet, into the routed fry. Make sure it’s in the routed channel, but don’t worry about whether it’s sticking yet. Let it sit in the routed fry until it, too, is dry to the touch.

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While your DAP dries, move your foam onto a flat surface (a tabletop, workbench, etc). You won’t be able to remove the core after the next step, and any twists you introduce will be permanent!

11) Once the top part of the core (the bit you can see) is dry to the touch, press the core down into the routed channel (which it is already resting in). It will stick now, firmly.

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12) Now it’s time to fold the other half of the fry onto the core. This step is tricky because the glue will stick instantly, so you only get one try.

13) Begin by putting a coat of DAP over the whole length of the fry and core. This will be the second coat for one half the fry, and the third coat for the other. Let it get tacky (just barely dry to the touch).

14) Now we fold the foam together.

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You’ll want to bend the fry at a sharp angle, like pictured:

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When you hold it at this sharp angle, the foam channel pulls open at the
bend, making it easy to fold it completely around the core.

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Do this slowly (remember, the DAP is dry to the touch, so it will stick permanently once you bring the two sides together).

15) And bam! You have a box around the core. Make sure the foam has stuck to the core uniformly by setting the sword down on a hard, flat surface and pressing down on it (use your body weight).

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16) At this point, the top 1″ of the tip is going to want to pull apart at the seam. If you have a vice, you can clamp the tip for a few minutes/hours (put cardboard between the foam and the vice to prevent the vice damaging the foam). Or you can leave the sword with books stacked on it overnight (this doesn’t work as well as a vice). My personal trick for this step is to wrap a piece of duct tape around the very tip as tightly as I can with the sticky side facing out (so it just sticks to itself, and not the foam – if you put the sticky side against the foam you might tear off some foam when you tear off the tape!).

It’s best to wait a day before going on to the next step (allowing the DAP in the tip to dry completely so it can’t pull apart), but you don’t have to.

17) Now grab your 2lb foam and give it and your 4lb box a good first coat of DAP (again, don’t be stingy, but don’t drown it either).

18) Give both a second coat and let it get tacky (just barely dry to the touch).

19) Once they’re both dry to the touch, press them together, working from the base of the blade on one side up and over the tip, and down to the base again.

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20) Then put DAP on the tip, and on your stab tip. You might want to put two coats of DAP on the 2lb. One will be enough on the ensolite (it’s not absorptive).

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21) Once they’re dry to the touch, press the stab tip on. Then trim the corners off with a sharp knife.

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22) Run a piece of Tyvek tape (or duct tape) strapping tape from one flat to the other. This provides a base for the strapping tape to stick to.

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23) Then finish the stab tip following Solusar’s stab tip tutorial.

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24) Next, you’ll want to add a handle and pommel. I’m going to save that for a later tutorial!

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25) Now give it a cover (again, not the subject for this tutorial).

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And it’s done!

About the author: Alric