How to make a roman sword out of wood

The typical sword of the Roman infantryman was called a gladius. According to Nigel Rodgers, it was worn on the right side. This made it easier to draw because of the soldiers' large shields on their left. It was less than 3 feet in length and had a double-edged blade that was effective in both slashing and thrusting. With a little effort you can make a wooden replica great for display or to impress at a costume party.

Draw a rectangle on a quarter-inch plywood sheet that is 2 inches wide by 21 inches long.

Make a mark on both length-sides at 15 inches. Make another mark on the top (width) line in the middle. Draw a straight line between each side mark and the mark at the top---this gives you the triangular edge of the Roman gladius.

Use a jig or circular saw to cut out the blade.

Use wood glue to attach one finial to the end of the curtain rod. This is the pommel.

Cut the protruding rod at 7 inches length. This is the hilt.

Cut the ball tip of the remaining finial in half horizontally. (Think latitude not longitude.) This is the guard.

Use wood glue to attach the hilt to the base of the guard, inserting the rod about ½-inch deep.

Cut a hole into the centre of the flat surface of the guard. It should measure 2 inches long, ¼-inch wide and ½-inch deep.

Use a rotary tool with a sanding band to smooth out the edges.

Insert the blade into the hole in the guard and attach using wood glue.

Paint the blade silver.

Paint the pommel and guard a bronze or golden colour for a realistic look.

Wrap brown or black tennis grip tape over the hilt if you desire a more comfortable grip.


If you feel the pommel is too bulky, you can cut it in half or use a smaller finial.


Always take precautionary measures when handling a saw. Cut away from the body and wear protective eyewear. Even a wooden gladius can be dangerous and should not be used as a toy.

Things You'll Need

  • One sheet of ¼-inch plywood
  • Pen or pencil
  • Jig or circular saw
  • Curtain rod
  • Two 3.5-inch, wooden finials (ball-shaped)
  • Wood glue
  • Rotary tool with sanding band
  • Paint (silver and bronze)
  • Tennis grip tape
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About the Author

Chrysostom Graves received his Bachelor of Arts in American studies from Eckerd College where he graduated magna cum laude. From 2007-2009, he published his own language textbooks while also contributing to "Missao Vida," a monthly review of the mission field in Brazil. He is a Ford Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.