Ohio University – 2019
Starting with a reference image, I drew out a full-scale image of the sword hilt I wanted to create. Using this I was able to cut 1/2” rod to length for the quillons, which I then chucked into the drill press and spun while using a grinder to shape and clean the taper. After, I shaped the detail at the ends with a series of hand files. For the headblock, I clamped two pieces of flat stock together and used a grinder to shape the triangle. I then clamped these pieces around the tang of the sword blade and tacked them in place before removing the blade to finish welding. Using grinders and Dremel tools I shaped the taper from the headblock’s ridge into the quillons. I then used the same techniques to taper and shape the knucklebow before bending it using the oxy-acetylene torch and my eye. I then welded the bow on and cleaned the welds to create a smooth joint.
For the pommel I started with a 1 ½” solid rod stock and drilled and tapped the center hole to match the threads on the sword’s tang before starting to shape the piece. The first round had to be done with a rough grinder to take down an enormous amount of material to round out the cylinder to a ball and narrow the “base” where the collar would eventually be. I went back in with a great many files to create and then clean the collar, after which I used flap disks and the random orbital sander to shape and clean the ball. This took maybe 5 go-arounds to create a truly round, smooth, and mirrored surface. The last step for the base was the grip, which I lathed out of rock maple before drawing and filing in the spirals by hand and wire wrapping the entire piece.
I had to use wire to estimate the lengths of each of the rings (of which there were six – 3 original and 3 mirrored) before cutting them out of ½” and 3/8” rod. I then used the drill press and grinders to create the tapers on each of the six pieces, ensuring they were even with my calipers. I then drew in the detail and shaped each by hand with a series of hand files before cleaning with sandpaper and a wire brush.
Two by two I bent the pieces using an oxy-acetylene torch. I do this by eye, holding the ring up to the handle every so often as I bend to ensure they fit correctly. I then match the mirror ring to the first as I bend it. Each of these is quenched and then held in place with one hand as I tack it with the other. I then welded each ring on in sequence. In between rings I had to clean each joint as well as possible on both the exterior and interior, which I did with a Dremel tool, hand files, sandpaper and finally a wire brush.
The final step was to bend the quillons into shape using the oxy-acetylene torch and my original drawing for reference, and then polishing the entire piece to a shiny finish! The final product is completely stage combat-worthy and actor-safe as well as accurate to the original reference.
Labor Hours: 38