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RESIN + WOOD. - OR MAKE IT SO THEY CAN’T TAKE IT! -. = SWORD!. BY MIKE + LISA. MATERIALS. · Reference photos, DVDs, etc. · Pencil, eraser, ruler, measuring tape, French curve and stencils (if needed)

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resin wood

RESIN + WOOD

- OR MAKE IT SO THEY CAN’T TAKE IT! -

= SWORD!

BY MIKE + LISA

materials
MATERIALS

· Reference photos, DVDs, etc.

· Pencil, eraser, ruler, measuring tape, French curve and stencils (if needed)

· Poplar (easy to sand, inexpensive, moderately flexible) planks in lengths and widths suitable for your project (make sure you leave yourself some extra room when selecting your wood). You can also use hobby plywood (good for details and carving). We don’t suggest using hardwood—it is heavy, harder to sand and more expensive. Make sure that your wood pieces are straight and not warped.

· Masks for sawdust and painting

· Safety glasses

· Electric jigsaw (table or handheld) or a hand-held hacksaw

· Electric ‘mouse’ sander, although you can do this by hand with sanding blocks or sanding ‘sponges’

· Sand paper of various grits—80 for cutting, 120 for smoothing and 400 for finishing

· Wood filler (if needed)

slide3

· Dremmel/wood working tools for engraving (if needed)

· Wood glue

· Small clamps, such as alligator clips for paper

· Painter’s tape, if needed

· Epoxy (more flexible) or fiberglass (stiffer) resin and resin hardener. You may need to get extra hardener. You will need a small container—we used a 32 oz. container of resin made by 3M (this was the smallest size we could find).

· Protective gloves

· Stirring stick and disposable paper cups/bowls

· An old wire hanger, piece of wire, rope, etc. to hang sword for resin application

· Cheap 1”-2” paint brushes, about 5 or 6, rinsed and dried to prevent them from shedding

· Primer, spray paint, liquid leaf and other painting materials

· Finishing accessories—grip material etc.

· Patience : )

part one research design
Part One: Research + Design
  • Find reference pictures of the sword that you wish to create, being sure to find close ups of the blade, hilt, etc. and photos of the weapon as it is used onscreen in relation to the character who uses it and to others.
  • Decide what scale you will use for your measurements. You can either make the sword to its specific dimensions if they are known or you can make the weapon to fit your own dimensions. We suggest fitting the sword to your body since it’s important for you to be able to wear the sword on your hip, draw it from its scabbard, etc. with relative ease.
slide5

How to determine scale—Find a photo that shows the character holding their weapon. Here, we have a photo of Sweet Pea grasping her sword with two hands so we will measure the size of Lisa’s two hands together. We will base our measurements on the commercially available sword using the length of the fist/hilt unit.

  • Draw the sword out with your finished measurements and transfer the measurements to both sides of your main pieces of wood, being sure to draw a center line and to think in 3-D, leaving enough space for the width of the hilt or other such devices/accessories. ALWAYSUSE A PENCIL AND AN ERASER WHEN MARKING YOUR WOOD! REMEMBER THAT ANY DARK MARKS YOU MAKE MAY BE SEEN THROUGH YOUR PAINT!
part two cutting
Part Two: Cutting
  • Work on a steady platform. Remove any extra length or large unused areas with your saw.
  • Cut away the outline of your sword on the edge of a sturdy platform if using a hand operated saw. Use the excess wood to practice cutting if necessary. Cut about ⅛” outside of the lines you drew as the jigsaw is not precise and you can sand away the extra material later.
  • Cutting tips—if you are using a hand saw, be sure to keep both feet down, keep even pressure on the feet and the blade at a 90°angle to the work for best results. Turn the saw off before removing it from the wood to avoid score marks.

* SAFETY: WEAR YOUR DUST MASK AND EYE PROTECTION. TAKE YOUR TIME! THIS STEP CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS—YOU CAN EASILY LOSE BODY PARTS WHEN USING AN ELECTRIC SAW!*

slide7

Begin sanding by hand or with the mechanical sander. Start with the most abrasive grit first (we began with 80 grit), but be careful as it will shape quickly! Do not start beveling the edges, but begin on the sides of the sword, bringing the edges up to the lines you drew, making your cuts precise to your measurements and to a 90° angle to the flat top. Start with the blade and end on the handle. The handle does not need to be perfect. Do not create a sharp point at the tip of the sword.

  • Sanding tips—take long strokes as you move down the sides of the blade. You may go in both directions, but don’t stay in one spot as the machine will overheat. Check often to see if your sandpaper is clear, free from sawdust buildup. This usually isn’t a problem now, but it can be bothersome when you move to a higher grit. Use the whole sander, not just one part. Take a break if you or the machine begins to overheat.
slide8

This is the ‘now-or-never’ step where you will need to make any corrections to the overall shape of the sword. Make sure that your edges are straight, level, trued to their dimensions and free from score marks. Check for symmetry and correct any obvious problems. Sand slowly, gently back and forward unless you have something major to correct.

  • Now we’ll begin to form the edge of the blade. Draw a centerline on the edge and mark where the blade ends and the hilt begins. At this point, draw a triangle to represent how you will make the transition from the thinned blade to the full hilt. Keep the hilt at its original width. We’ll come back to it later.
slide9

Begin to bevel the edges of the sword, beginning at the tip and working back to the hilt. Use a light touch and take your time. Keep the center line at the full width of the wood and gently sand outwards until you have sanded down to the center mark you made on the side of the blade. Repeat on the opposite side. Do not overly sand down your edge or create a sharp line or point at the tip.  

  • Repeat step 6 with 120 grit sandpaper.
part three hilt and grip
Part Three: Hilt and Grip
  • Pick a piece of wood for your hilt. Find a piece that most closely matches the dimensions of your project, usually a piece thicker and wider than what was used for the blade. If your hilt is highly detailed, you can carve hobby plywood or make a balsawood overlay for a poplar/hobby plywood base. A dremmel tool, hand saw or sand paper are helpful for details.
  • Draw the hilt shape onto your wood. If the hilt has overlays/appliqués/etc. you can use small objects to create these details. In the Baby Doll katana, for example, you could use the flowers from a child’s barrette to create the flowers on the hilt. On the Elizabeth Swann girdle, I used small metal findings to create the details. Don’t put them on yet, but it’s a good idea to trace out where they will go when the resin is applied later.
slide11

Cut the hilt. It is usually easier to cut the details of the hilt out of the full length of wood rather than cutting the hilt out and then trying to cut details of a smaller piece of wood. When you are happy with the shape, make a rectangle in the center of the hilt that measures the length and width of the sword. Err on the small side—a tight fit is better than having to fill later. Sand. If the width of the hilt is smaller than the blade, cut out a section of the hilt so that the hilt can be fitted after the grip is completed. To cut the hole in the hilt, you can use a power drill and drill out a key hole then return with the saw.

  • Cut additional wood for the grip. Sand down any rough edges, clean the wood, glue together, clamp and dry in a safe, cool and dry place overnight. It may dry in less time, but it is very important to let the wood glue dry completely before sanding.
slide12

Sand and shape grip.

  • Glue the hilt to the grip and blade of the sword. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but clean up any excess glue and fit the pieces together as best as you can to avoid having to do more work later. Fill small gaps with the glue if needed. If you had to cut out a section of the hilt to fit it onto the sword, glue the main piece on first, then let that glue set and glue in the smaller piece of the hilt next. Let the wood glue set completely before continuing. Use the alligator clips to hold the hilt into place if necessary.
  • When the glue has set, sand the hilt and grip so that the entire piece is flush. After this point, avoid touching the sword without gloves as the oils from your hands may interfere with the resin.
part 4 resin
Part 4: Resin
  • Prepare the area where you plan to paint the resin onto the sword by covering the surface with a drop cloth, newspaper, etc. You will need to work in a well-ventilated area such as an outdoor patio or an open garage. Wear a mask and gloves when applying resin.
  • *SAFETY: WORK IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA AND WEAR A BREATHING MASK!!! RESIN EMITS STRONG FUMES! IF YOU DEVELOP A HEADACHE, NAUSEA OR FEEL LIGHT-HEADED DURING THE RESIN APPLICATION, TAKE A BREAK AND GET SOME FRESH AIR!!!
  • If there are any spots on your sword that need to be filled in, you will need to fill them with resin first before applying resin to the rest of the sword. Use the painter’s tape to build a reservoir to hold the resin around the affected area. For Sweet Pea’s sword we had to do this at the edges of the grip and around the counterweight, as we had spaces in between the boards of the grip to fill and because we needed to smooth the texture of the plywood for the counterweight and fill in the drill hole. If you are adding appliqués to your sword, make sure that you know where they are going and that you have prepped them for application.
slide14

In one of your small containers mix a small amount of resin and resin hardener according to the manufacturer’s instructions, stirring gently to avoid creating air bubbles. For this first step you will only need about ¼ of a cup of resin or less. Scoop resin into the reservoir and let the resin dry. Repeat as necessary until you have filled in all spaces and holes. Use only small batches of resin and use only one brush per application. If you have appliqués, use this initial batch of resin to ‘glue’ them in place.

  • Note: Although your resin may harden in a few minutes, it will actually take an hour or more to set permanently. Refer to the manufacturer’s information for exact set times. You can work on the surface when it has hardened, but wait until it has cured to sand.
slide15

Set time is determined by the temperature, humidity levels, wind, etc . In warm weather, expect faster set times, in cooler weather set times may take longer. We suggest making a sample to see how long it takes your resin to set.

  • Hang your sword by the hilt so that it doesn’t touch the ground. Make a larger batch of resin (½ cup or more) and begin painting resin onto your sword. Working quickly, begin at the top of the sword and move down, covering as much of the grip as you can as well as the top and bottom of the hilt and the blade. When you get to the blade, apply resin with smooth, long downward strokes. You DO NOT want air bubbles in your work! Stop when you have either covered the sword or the resin begins to cure.
slide16

If you miss a spot, wait until the next application to cover. It’s okay if you drip or if the resin begins to set while you are painting it on. You can go back and sand it down later. If the resin begins to cure and you haven’t painted the entire sword, allow what you have done to harden, mix a new batch and finish painting. Go back and apply resin to the grip where the sword was hung after the rest of the sword has dried. When the sword is complete, allow the first coat of resin to cure for several hours or overnight.

  • When the first coat of resin has cured, repeat step 4 as much as needed. You want your end result to look smooth and have enough resin applied to lend your sword hardness and strength. If you are applying resin over appliqués, make sure that they are covered with enough resin to give you the desired, carved look. Again, allow the sword ample time to cure.
part 5 paint and finishing
Part 5: Paint and Finishing
  • After your sword has cured it is time for your FINAL round of sanding! Begin sanding away any drips, flaws or mistakes with 100+ grit sandpaper and the power sander, then begin sanding by hand with the 400 grit sandpaper. Sand the entire sword being sure to wear your breathing mask! If you are not sure what grit to use, err on the side of the higher grit.
  • It is possible that you may not have applied enough resin to your sword. If you are sanding and sand through the resin into the wood or are not happy with the results, simply clean your sword with a damp cloth and repeat steps 4 and 5 of Part 4.
  • Apply a layer of spray primer to your sword. Repeat if necessary. You may also want to wet-sand your primered sword for a perfectly smooth look.
slide18

Look back to your reference materials and analyze the color of the sword’s blade, the grip material and any other aspects of the sword. If you have a metallic sword, consider painting it with a combination of spray paint and metallic leaf. If the sword’s blade is colored, try a combination of flat paint for the unsharpened edge and glossy paint for the sharp edge (as in the Bleach katana). If it is dull, old or antiqued, try using a specialty spray paint. There are many specialty spray paints on the market including antique finish, textures and chrome finishes. Grip materials can range from sticky hockey tape, ribbon, leather, ultra suede, etc. As with the resin, always allow your paint to dry completely between applications. Work in a ventilated area and use your mask. At this point, you are only limited by your imagination!

thank you
Thank You!

Enjoy the results of your hard work! : ) For more information and/or help—

www.lisaklassen.com, webmaster@lisaklassen.com (Lisa), FLCLvespa@hotmail.com (Mike)

Special Thanks

Brandon Barnes

Carly Harvey

Peter Hopkins