How to Make a Wooden Katana Scabbard

Written by max quigley
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How to Make a Wooden Katana Scabbard
A katana scabbard is usually heavily varnished. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Making a katana scabbard is an art that has been perfected by professionals for many centuries. In fact, the samurai swordsmith would typically outsource this job to someone whose sole job was a scabbard maker. Making your own scabbard requires time and patience and a number of readily available tools. With enough practice, even the novice woodworker can make an effective scabbard.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 2, 1.5-by-0.5-by-35-inch hardwood planks
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Complete set of wood chisels
  • Epoxy
  • Heavy duty clamps
  • Belt sander
  • Coarse and fine grit belts
  • Varnish

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  1. 1

    Trace the shape of the sword onto the planks with a pencil. Place the blade of the sword lengthways onto each plank of wood. Position the sword exactly in the centre of the planks. Position the blade at the exact same angle on each plank so the shape of the katana on each plank mirrors the other exactly. This is important in ensuring a perfect fit.

  2. 2

    Carve the shape of the sword into both of the wooden planks using the chisels. Measure the thickness of the sword and only carve half this width into each plank. If the sword is 1/8-inch thick, carve slightly deeper than 1/16 inches into each plank. This will ensure a snug fit and prevent the sword from being loose inside the scabbard.

  3. 3

    Glue the wooden planks together. Use a heavy duty glue or epoxy. Fit them together so that the carved centre is exactly opposite -- the katana will not fit inside the scabbard otherwise. Hold the planks together with heavy duty clamps and leave to dry for 24 hours.

  4. 4

    Shape the outside of the scabbard with a sander. Sand the edges of the wooden planks so that the scabbard is smooth all around. Use a coarse grit belt to start out with and progress to a finer grit belt.

  5. 5

    Polish the scabbard using a simple furniture polish or varnish. Apply the varnish to a clean cloth and rub the wood in circular motions until the entire scabbard has the same appearance. Leave it to dry for 24 hours.

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