From February to September this year I made a replica of the sword Sting from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I followed this guide on Instructables. I don’t have it anymore as I gave it to a friend. In this post I will not describe how to make one, as the Instructables guide is very good and detailed, but rather write a little about how I made mine in a different way, and how I would (or probably will) make another one for myself.
The guide I followed used hard wood which was then sanded down to the final shape. I had some 1 cm thich balsa wood available, so I decided to shape that into a rough sword shape and sand down that. The benefit of using balsa is that it is soft, so sanding goes very fast. But since it is light and soft, it’s also fragile. So I covered the whole sword in papier-mâché made with brown packing paper torn into small pieces, soaked in water and glued in place with wood glue thinned with water. When dry this has a very solid and hard surface. After everything was covered and sanded again to get a smooth sword I drew the letters and lines on it and used a wood burning tool to burn it into the sword. When painted this gives the feeling that the letters are engraved in the sword. Instead of buying spray paint and potentially make a mess painting with that I decided to use what I already had, which is Citadel paint (the kind used for models and minatures). I painted the whole sword with small brushes, and that went very well in my opinion.
If I make one more I will do as the guide and use a hard type of wood instead of balsa. For a show piece hanging on a wall balsa is fine, but when I picked it up and played a little with it it didn’t have the right feel and weight of a sword. Also, a sword made in hardwood would (I almost wrote wood again) not need to be covered in papier-mâché. Finally I would maybe also make a plate or stand for it to make it more of a nice show piece.
You can find more photos in this gallery.