Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Scythe


My girlfriend Jessica is a hardcore Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan.  And after watching the entire series at her behest, I admit I am a fan too.  The last few episodes of the series introduced Buffy's Scythe, and my girlfriend suggested that I make her iconic weapon.

To start I googled some reference images like the ones seen below.


I then used those reference images to draw up my own scale illustration.


I originally started making this prop a long time ago - much before the time I started wood working.  So for my first attempt at making this scythe, I created it out of PVC pipe and insulation foam with cardboard.  Below are a few images of that process.














So, the above photos quickly show how I made templates, cut them out of cardboard, traced them on foam, cut them out, attached it to PVC, added wood filler and priming.  Then it sat around for a long, long time.  It even made the trek out to Arizona when I moved.  But now it's time to start this over again, and I don't plan on using foam and PVC.


Instead I'll use some 3/4" pine.  I traced the old shape onto the wood.


Below you see another tracing of the blade, with my first attempt in the background.  The first one came together well, but I was rushing for some reason and forgot to make part of the rod that connects the blade to the handle.  Since that connecting area is thin, it would not hold together well with glue and screws, so I started anew, this time incorporating part of the handle.


This part took 2 pieces of wood which I attached using glue and pocket screws.



Next I cut out the blade and rod.


A small piece of the blade needed to be glued and clamped on.


Next I routed the edges to begin shaping this thing.


Then I sanded everything to be level.


I made the secondary blade shape with a piece of cardboard.


I made 4 pieces all together....


...and glued 2 to each side.


Then I clamped it until dry.


Next I added furniture tack to the rod.


Then I cut and glued on pieces of foam to form the connection between the blade and the rod.


Then I gave it a coat of filler primer.


While that dried I went out and bought a dowel.  This will make up the rest of the scythe.


I carefully cut out a piece from the top to fit it what I've made so far.



I drilled a hole and glued/screwed the 2 pieces together.


When it dried I cut away the excess screw using my dremel saw.


Then I cut the dowel to the correct size.


It's coming along!


Next I added more foam to the blade area and the grip.



Followed by another coating of primer.


Next I used my sanders to create the pointed spike at the end.


Then I applied wood filler all over.



After sanding I applied more filler primer.




The trickiest part of this build was to figure out how to make those small cornered spikes that are close to the bottom of the scythe.  After much thought, I figured the best way to do it was with some small round dowels.


I carefully cut them at 45 degree angles using my miter saw.


This seemed like the best way to go for me...


...so I cut several dowels and glued the cut sides together.


Using the miter saw was a bit difficult, so I bought a miter box to cut the glued dowels.


The first set of cornered spikes were cut so the edges would be flush with the sides of the handles.


I proceeded with cutting the others.


Before I attach those cornered spikes, I decided to add more filler to the handle to make some areas a bit smoother.


Once dry, I sanded.


Then primed.


I also primed the little spikes.


The handle with all the foam is rather sloppy.  I added more primer to try and smooth it out...


...but problems kept arising.  The screw holding the 2 pieces of the handle was moving, and the paint/filler was cracking.


Unhappy with this sudden movement of the handle, plus how the foam was looking, I decided to rip it apart and try to salvage this thing.


It took quite a while, but I eventually was able to remove all the foam and take the screw out that was holding this thing together.


After a bit more cleanup it was time to start again.


I cut off the portion of the dowel that had my original cut.  I made new cuts using a simple tenoning jig I made for my table saw.


The saw cut many grooves, which I then cleaned up with my chisel.


Next I began resanding and resmoothing the blade.


I resmoothed the dowel using my new table top belt sander, and I was able to make a better point at the end for the stake.


After a bit more sanding and cleaning, the 2 pieces fit together nicely.


Instead of one screw going through the 2 pieces, I drilled holes for 4 screws (one on each side of the square handle).  2 side screws go right through the round dowel, while 2 other screws go diagonally into the round dowel.  There is also wood glue holding this together.


I filled the area using some plastic wood - a much stronger wood filler.


The other parts of the blade were touched up with normal wood filler.


Then I sanded when the filler dried.  I found that a piece of sandpaper rolled up around a dowel excellently sands all the round corners of the blade.


Once sanding was done and the scythe was cleaned I applied some primer.


When the primer dried I sanded a little and then I cut some strips of thin crafting foam.


I applied some contact cement to the pieces of foam and the handle of the scythe.


When the cement became tacky, I applied the strips.


Then I used my miter box and saw to trim the wood points...


...which then were glued to the foam strips near the bottom.



Once that was done I applied some more primer.




While the primer dried, I went out and bought some grip tape.  Once the scythe is completely painted and clear coat is added, I will wrap the handle with this tape.


When the primer dried I noticed that the spikes weren't overly strong, nor pretty looking at the joints.


To try and fix this I used some plumbers putty...


...and reinforced the spikes.


When the putty hardened, I sanded it with my Dremel's rotary bit.


Then I gave it another coat of primer.


I added some wood filler around the putty to smooth out those areas.


After sanding I added more primer.


Next I sprayed on a base coat of flat black paint.


When the black dried I began painting the rest of it.  I started with the red.  Since the base coat was black I'll have to apply many coats of paint.


While the first coat of red dried I applied some silver.


Then a second coat of red.


Next I added browns to the neck and the spike.



After many layers of paint I think this thing is done.


Next I sprayed on some glossy clear coat.



Lastly I wrapped the grip tape around the handle.


And I'm finally done!




This thing is pretty big.  Almost as tall as my Bat'leth.


I checked my files from the original build back in New York and I started working on this project on February 7, 2013.  The day I finally finished this project was February 3, 2015.  It took almost 2 years of on-and-off work to complete this thing.  But it was worth the wait.


Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. It certainly was worth the wait! Great tutorial, as always. Just thinking - if you have an engineering supplies shop near you, you might be able to get some thick brass brazing rods, which you can bend, cut, solder, etc - They will withstand quite a bit of impact, which the bamboo rods might not. But if the prop is primarily for viewing, those bamboo skewers are marvellous! Best to you both, Phil.

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