Making a Wooden Sword: Putting it all together

I decided to make some wooden swords for my boys for Christmas, and am writing how I did it just in case someone else wants some ideas.  Here is how they turned out.

Swords Completed

Swords Completed

This post is part of the three post how-to guide, and includes:

  1. Putting it all together, including lessons learned. (This Post)
  2. Making a Wooden Sword Blade
  3. Making a Wooden Sword Guard

Shaping the Handle

Take the wooden blade, which should dry overnight, and work on shaping the handle. Again, for shaping , you can use either a sander, a file, or even some chisels. After clamping the blade to the table with the handle sticking out, I just used a sander to go around the edges and try to turn the handle from a 1 1/2″ by 1″ rectangle to a 1″ cylinder. This size fit my 3-4 year old sons’ hands well. I let the handle taper up right at the end to give a good transition from the guard to the handle. I then used some finer grit paper to smooth it out.

Shaping the Handle, Figure 2

Shaping the Handle, Figure 2

Attaching the Handle

<First of all, make sure that your handle and blade fit together before you apply any glue. It should be snug, but not too tight. Apply a thin line of glue 1/2 inch above the handle on the flat of the blade on both sides. Slide that handle down and clamp into place while the glue dries. If it is a snug fit, it should stay there by itself. Wipe off any excess glue. If you were careful, you shouldn’t have much. You are now done except for any finishing sanding.

After the glue dries, take some fine grit sandpaper and go over the hilt. If the guard and the handle were not perfectly flush, you can sand out the evidence. Also, make sure that you sand all the pencil marks and sharp corners off of the blade guard. Hopefully you will wave something that looks about like this (or better).

Complete, but not Finished, Figure 3

Complete, but not Finished, Figure 3

Applying a Finish

I used boiled linseed oil for the finish. You can use what you want, but I would recommend a penetrating finish, like linseed oil or tung oil. Mineral oil will also work but not as well. If you use a surface finish like lacquer or polyurethane, when your kids hit the swords together, they will chip in off. The penetrating finishes become part of and actually strengthen the wood.

What I would have done differently

I wish I would have used a wood that had a little more contrast, like walnut or maybe even mahogany, for the strips on the handle and the guard. I think the sharper contrast could have added a lot. On the other hand, I guess I will feel better when my kids break them in a few years.

Best of luck, and please leave any advice, questions, or insight you might have.


8 Responses to “Making a Wooden Sword: Putting it all together”

  1. 1 Solomon June 18, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Nice work. I’m about to do something similar and came across your site looking for ideas. Thanks for posting.

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  7. 7 Michel January 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    this idea is fantastic!
    we are fed up with plastic toys, and high tech toys also, and batteries operating….

    BUT : be carrefulle with this type of making; a safe sword is a sword where the blade is crossing trought de handle, like in the reels ones…..without this, the handle will easy glues off and can make injuries, especialy for youngs children….

    (sorry for my try to speak English, I’m a Froggy)

    i can send some photo of mine, but i d’ont know how to…

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