After seeing some amazing examples of swords produced by fellow Lumberjocks, I decided to try my hand at making one. Mostly I just wanted an excuse to play around with the hand planes and use up some scrap wood….
First I took a length of 1×3 maple and cut it to give me a 32″ blade and a 10″ handle/hilt. I’m looking to make this a bastard sword (hand and a half) that’s based more in history than fantasy, so no swooping dragon pommels or fancy looking blades.
I put a distal taper on it using the jack plane and rounded the tip using bench chisels. Then I used the Nice Ash block plane to taper the cross section into a 45* angle on each face along the length of the blade.
Once the blade was shaped—which was surprisingly fast—maybe 40 minutes—I started to chop out part of the blade to house the cross guard.
The guard I’m making of some scrap oak, 3/4″ by about 4″ wide. I decided to put a shorter guard on it, just because I like the looks better and I’m not really sure I know what the hell I’m doing anyway.
To make the guard, I drew the design on the oak, then resawed it in half with the razor saw. I was actually impressed at how clean a line I cut! Then I did the cross cutting and the detail cuts to reduce the 4″ stock down to about 2″ wide.
Once the two pieces of the guard were shaped, I started to chisel out a socket for the tang of the blade to fit inside. Ideally, I would do this in just two pieces, but I figured that would make the tang ridiculously thin and I didn’t want to weaken it—after all, I’m sure my son is going to get his hands on this and smack something. Rather not have it destroyed in one hit.
So, now that the guard is drying:
the plan is to cut oak wedges to fit in the gap and glue everything together before shaping the guard. Then I can move on to shaping the handle. I got some cool thin cut suede to wrap the handle and a neat looking finial for a pommel. I’m also thinking of doing a little carving on it to practice celtic knotwork. We’ll see….