Introduction: Wooden Leonidas Spartan Sword
Runner Up in the
Design For Kids Challenge
This is an entry in the
Epilog Challenge 9
With a board, a few tools, and some loving tender care, you too can have a full-size wooden sword that King Leonidas himself would be proud of.
- Wood (at least 3/4 x 35 x 4-1/2 ")
- Wood glue
- Leather (optional, for handle)
- Scroll saw (substitute band saw, coping saw, or a hand saw and lots of time with a rasp
- Circular saw or router (or more time with a rasp)
- Table saw
- Sander / sandpaper
Step 1: Rip Board to 3/8" Thick
I used hickory, which is nice and strong but a bit splintery.
Step 2: Print and Trace Pattern
The attached pdf pattern has three pages. Print them at actual size on 8.5 x 11" paper, tape them together, and trace the pattern onto your chosen piece of wood.
(note: the overall sword length is 34.5")
Step 3: Cut Out the Pattern
Cut out the blade and the tang of the handle (don't cut out the guards; these will be added later).
Step 4: Clean Up Your Cuts
A disk sander worked well; just be careful and use sweeping movements to keep things curvy.
Step 5: Add a Bevel
I used an old 2x4 with an angle cut to line up the bevels evenly on both sides of the blade
Step 6: Cut Out the Guard and Pommel
Cut two each of the guard and pommel
Step 7: Clean Up Your Cuts
If your cuts aren't perfect, clamp the two guard pieces together and sand until they match nicely. Do the same with the two pommel pieces.
Step 8: Trace the Tang Onto the Guard and Pommel
Line up your blade piece on one of the guards and pommels and trace lines. This is where you'll be carving out a groove for the blade to sit in.
Step 9: Cut Grooves in the Guard and Pommel
The goal is to make a groove 1/2 the thickness of the tang (~3/16")
If you have a router or mill, this will be easy.
If you don't (like me), you can set the cut depth of a circular saw and make a series of cuts.
If you don't have a circular saw and you have a lot of time, you could always file out the groove.
Step 10: Make the Fits Tight
Use a file on the grooves and sandpaper on the flats until your tang fits nicely between the guard and pommel pieces
Step 11: Repeat With Matching Guard/pommel Pieces
Put the grooved piece with its matching un-grooved piece and make reference marks so your grooves line up. Then repeat the slotting / filling / sanding process until you have a tight fit.
Step 12: Glue the Guard and Pommel On
Use wood glue.
Step 13: Do Some Touch-up Sanding to the Blade
Clean up anything that will be harder to sand after you've added triangular ribs to the blade.
Step 14: Cut Two Triangular Strips
Use some of the leftover board you ripped for the sword. Set your table saw at 45 degrees and cut two long triangular strips at least the length of the blade. Use sandpaper to clean them up as well as you can.
Step 15: Glue a Triangular Strip to the Side of the Blade
Put glue along the entire triangular strip.
Clamp near the guard first, then gradually bend the strip and add clamps all the way to the tip of the blade. I didn't have to apply any heat or steam to bend the strip; depending on the type of wood you choose, you might have to.
After the glue has dried, repeat with another strip on the other side of the blade.
Step 16: Trim the Strips
Use a saw, file, and sander to trim the strips at the tip of the blade so they blend nicely.
Step 17: Do Any Rough Sanding
Despite my care with the handle grooves, I had to do a little sanding to clean up the edges.
Step 18: Use Wood Putty to Fill in Gaps
Step 19: Do Fine Sanding
You could use a sanding block or an orbital sander for this part. I sanded with 80 grit, then 150, then 220.
Step 20: Apply a Stain
I used a fairly light stain to give a little darkness to the hickory I was using. If you like the color of your wood, you could skip this.
Step 21: Add a Clear Coat
Polyurethane is the most common clear finish, and water-based polyurethane is pretty darn easy to apply. I brushed on two coats.
You could also use shellac, wax, linseed oil, or anything else that gives the sword some shine and protection.
Step 22: Optional: Cut Out Leather for Handles
I used some 1/8" thick vegetable tanned leather, which I cut in two pieces to sandwich the tang for a handle.
You could also cut similar pieces out of wood (a darker hardwood would be nice) or simply wrap the handle in some twine or leather.
Step 23: Optional: Stamp Your Leather Handles
I used a basket weave stamp to put a nice texture on my handles. If you've never tooled leather before, check out some of my other instructables or some of the free videos on Tandy Leather's website.
Step 24: Optional: Stain and Finish Your Leather Handles
I put a dark brown antiquing gel on the leather handle pieces.
Step 25: Optional: Glue on the Leather Handles
Elmers glue, book binding PVA (the same as Elmer's glue but more expensive and supposedly more durable), or wood glue are all good choices for gluing leather to wood. Clamp well.
Step 26: Admire Your Sword
Heft it. Feel its weight. Heck, take a few practice swings. You've earned it.
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