Friday, February 28, 2014

Bat'leth


Another cool weapon from the Star Trek universe is the Klingon Bat'leth.  It has been seen in many episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager and the comics.  I am going to attempt to make one of these.


Finding reference images for this was easy.  Finding the measurements was not.  The best I could find, was found on HouseVampyr.com.  

"Kneel down on the ground (as flat a stretch of ground as you can find).  Have a buddy measure you from the top of your head to the ground.  This measurement will give you the tip-to-tip length of your Bat'leth".

I do not have a picture of someone measuring me, but I can tell you that my bat'leth will be 53" tall, and I am 5'10" tall.  So I drew the shape in illustrator.


And printed it to scale.
Below is an image of my template taped together with a yard stick above it.  Next I will trace the shape onto a piece of insulation foam.


Unfortunately my template was larger than my piece of insulation foam, so I cut my template in half and traced it on the foam.


And then I cut the shapes out.


Using my x-acto knife I beveled the edges.


And then I glued the 2 halves together and sanded all the edges smooth.


Next I painted the whole thing with black acrylic paint.


Due to it's size, I had to find interesting places to let it dry.


Once it dried I applied a coat of spackling paste.  This will help fill in the porous nature of the insulation foam.


Even after the paste dried, the Bat'leth was still wobbly, so I added some cardboard to the surface to make it more sturdy.


It worked well and now it's quite sturdy.


Next I applied some wood filler to the edges of the cardboard to make the transition to the rest of the sword smoother.


Once it dried I sanded it, cleaned it up and then gave it a coat of black acrylic.


Next I used some gripping tape to wrap around the handles.



Then I took it outside for a layer of filler primer.


When I started this project in the summer of 2013 I was pretty amped about it.  However, I also have about 15 other projects I was working on.  This weapon sat in the corner of my work room for many months and eventually got moved to my storage unit when I moved.


It unfortunately got caught between some furniture I was moving around and got mangled.  But I'm not overly upset.  Materials are inexpensive and I can easily make a new one.  I've also since gotten better with wood working, so I decided to make a new Bat'leth out of wood.  I used my old template and printed out and cut half of the sword.


I gathered some leftover wood, hoping that I can make the whole thing out of scrap.


Unfortunately this would probably not work out well since all my wood pieces are too small.


So I bought 2 large pieces of wood and traced my template on one of them.


Next I cut out the shape with my jig saw.



Then I used that shape to trace out the second side.


After about 15 minutes of cutting, I had my 2 halves.


To join them I drilled pocket holes.


Then I glued and screwed them together.


I glued in plugs where the pocket holes were.


When the glue dried I sanded the areas smooth.


Next I used a round-over bit on my router to give the edges a rounded edge. 


Then I applied some wood filler to a few spots that needed filling.


Then I sanded everything.


Next I gave it a coat of dark gray primer.


This sealed up a lot, but I also was able to see much more that needed filling.  So out comes the wood filler.


When the filler dried I sanded.


Then I sprayed on some more primer.  This time it was light gray.


The primer is doing it's job well.  The whole thing doesn't have wood grain showing through.  2 small areas needed additional touch up, so back to the wood filler.


When dried, I sanded again.


Then one last coat of primer.


Then I applied silver spray paint.



When the paint dried I bought some sports grip.


And I started wrapping it around the 3 handles.


And I'm done!




I was so happy to finally finish this project.  The wood version is durable, has a good weight to it and came out so much better than the foam one would have come out.


Thanks for reading!

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