A few months ago someone I know was telling to me about Game of Thrones: a fantasy series many people have suggested I should watch, but I never got around to it. During the conversation, one of the characters came up called Jon Snow who wields a sword called Longclaw. They said that should I have time, I should have a go at making a replica 🙂
Many months later I finally had some time and so decided to have a go at it. My previous sword build Fury’s Song had been made from foam PVC and was quite thick; this time I wanted the sword to be a lot thinner. While thinking about what material/s to use I remembered seeing a worbla and balsa wood sword tutorial –here
While I waited for an upcoming week off, I started work on the project first by making a blueprint. I gathered as many reference images as I could and then used Inkscape to draw out half of the sword which was then mirrored and the pommel drawn on top. This enabled me to be the build process.
The wolf’s head pommel was sculpted from super sculpy and would later be cast in resin.
At the end of the week and having the blueprint done, I took a trip to my local hobby store to get some balsa wood. As you can see by the picture the blade just went on the largest plank I could get. There was also enough for a small tang. Two blades were cut out and then glued together using wood glue.
The fuller marked out.
The blade was then shaped using the lines to work out the bevels – the shaping was done with files. I really enjoyed working the balsa wood as it was really nice to shape and work with.
To create the fuller and make it nice and even I used various plastic rods wrapped in sand paper.
The cross-guard was made from PVC foam and then slotted onto the blade.
The grip was also made from PVC foam using files and sand paper to shape it.
A test fit of all the parts. Making sure the pommel would slot on the grip.
To cast the pommel I first attached a measuring cup to a styrene sheet using hot glue. Next I inserted a plastic rod into the wolfs head with plasticine, this would be used to hold it secure and form the pouring hole. The whole thing was attached to my drill press and the silicone poured in and left to cure.
The first casting didn’t turn out well due to air bubbles out. For the second I tried pouring slowly and tapping the side to bring the bubbles to the surface.This one came out fine and I was really pleased with my first large silicone and resin cast.
To bring everything together and make the sword stronger I covered the whole thing in worbla. I was happy how well the worbla fitted to the form of the sword and didn’t fill the shaping work I had done. For more information on the process please see the link at the beginning of the page.
Everything except the pommel was painted with Gesso, the grip had less to allow some of the texture to show through – I was a bit unsure of whether the grip was covered in leather or was caved from some material. So as seen above I went with a carved option The was then sanded and primed to show up the low spots. These were filled with body filler, sanded, primed and repeated many times to get a nice flat blade.
At this point I decided to give it a nice hard resin coat, which honestly didn’t work out to well. Not sure why I did this when the thing was more or less done and just skip the gesso, but I did learn how not to apply resin…….. More filling and sanding later the blade was back to it’s original state.
The blade was sprayed with silver, the grip black and the pommel white. The whole piece was weathered using weathering powder and paint. Finally I sealed it with some satin varnish. The last touch was to cast some eye gems in red crystal resin.
The final sword measures about 1 meter 18cm from tip to pommel top. I got to try a few few new things – balsa wood, resin coating and large (for me) casting. I also learned about different ways of coating worbla, which I will have to play around with more. Maybe I could just use body filler nest time?
Overall I’m happy with how it turned out and would really like to try making another sword using this method in the future.