Throughout history, wooden swords were one of the most common training devices used by ancient warriors. For modern martial artists, a wooden sword allows the user to safely practice armed combat while maintaining the realism of using an actual sword. From the medieval wooden swords called "wasters" to the Japanese training katana called "bokken," the art of wooden sword-crafting requires some creativity and a few supplies that you will find in your local hardware store.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Broom handle
- 6-foot-long piece of wood of your choice, 1-inch by 2-inches
- Hand saw
- Permanent marker
- Safety glasses
- Band saw
- Measuring tape
- 1/4-inch round-over bit
- 6 Wood screws, 1-inch
- Wood glue
- Electric sander or sandpaper
- Wood-burning pen
- Satin-finish polyurethane
Research historical blades and decide if you want to create a wooden sword that you will use as a toy or as an actual practice sword. You will need a stronger wood and a more specific design for a training sword like a T'ai Chi Chien, Japanese bokken or medieval waster. Choose a design that best fits how you want to use the wooden sword and create the shape and size of your sword using a pencil and paper.
Hold an old broom handle in front of you and gauge how long you want the sword to be. Trim the end off of the broom handle with a hand saw, one inch at a time, until it is the desired length. Keep this broom handle--you will be using it as a reference when cutting the length of your sword.
Mark the length of the sword on a six-foot piece of one-inch by two-inch wood of your choice with a permanent marker, using the length of the old broom handle as a guide. Ensure that you choose a wood that best reflects how you intend to use the sword. A simple piece of plywood works fine for a toy sword, as does pine or oak, but you will need a heavier wood like walnut or hickory for a sword that you will use for training.
Put on your safety glasses and cut the length of the sword using a band saw. Cut the width of the blade, leaving it two inches wide and shaping the tip of the blade, but being careful not to add a sharp and dangerous point to the wooden sword. Shape the handle with a router using a 1/4-inch round-over bit, leaving it one inch wide.
Cut two pieces from the remaining material at 3/8-inches by 7/8-inches by seven inches for the sword handle guard. Cut two more pieces from the remaining material at one inch by 7/8-inches by 2.5-inches for the handle guard spacers.
Assemble one-half of the handle guard by centring it at the top of the handle, using two one-inch wood screws to secure it in place. Place a spacer on each side of the handle guard and use wood glue and a wood screw on each side, to secure them in place. Attach the remaining handle guard using wood glue and a wood screw on each side.
Pick up the sword and ensure that you are comfortable with the weight and balance of the sword; if not, make changes by trimming the length of the blade or handle. Fill in any holes with wood filler and sand the sword by hand or with an electric sander until it is smooth.
Carve any inscriptions, symbols or decorations into the handle or blade using a wood-burning pen or chisel, if your design specifies or if you choose to personalise your wooden sword. Apply satin-finish polyurethane to give the sword a glossy finish and allow to dry.
Tips and warnings
- As with any woodworking project, take proper safety precautions when crafting your wooden sword. Always wear safety glasses give all of your attention to the project while you are using an electric saw.
- Be very careful when using this sword, even though it is a wooden object. As with any hard and blunt object, there is still possibility of injury due to hitting yourself or clubbing another person when practicing with this word.
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