In the car on the way home from practice Celeste suggested that the next evening after work she would watch the kids if I wanted to head out and pick up supplies for making our own swords. Hint hint.
I hit the Geddon article on constructing a blue and made up a shopping list for everything I'd need. We didn't have a hacksaw and I've always wanted a dremel anyway so all told I ended up spending around $80-$90 on the endeavor. Here's everything spread out, including the 3/8th's inch fiberglass cores from the driveway reflectors you can pick up at any home improvement place. I cut them to the suggested max for 3/8th inch cores, 27 inches.
I'm a fairly craft-comfortable guy, having made some Halloween props, tabletop RPG scenery, and costume accessories but there's always a learning curve jumping into any new project. The article is very well written, though, and I had no trouble following along and getting close to expected results.
I cut the core-width pieces of foam and painted them and the cores with dap, let them dry, and they stuck like nothing else.
I then finished the boxes over the cores cutting pieces the width of cores plus the attached sides, then capped them off and reinforced them with cloth/hockey tape.
The boy was a huge help during this process.
After the core boxes I was finally ready to start attaching the striking layers of foam.
The biggest issue I had during construction was making sure to cut straight down into the foam rather than at an angle to prevent slight warping of the blade face. Eventually I got into the habit of staying directly above where I was cutting and not cutting the entire length sitting in one position, which seemed to help.
After adding the two striking layers of foam I started working on the handles. With such a thin core they needed to be widened, and I wanted to make them oblong to try and prevent striking with the flats of the blade. The pennies were added mostly to prevent the cores in the handle from rolling around one another. (though it was unlikely anyway, as well attached as they were with DAP)
I wrapped the cores and pennies in double-sided carpet tape (holy nasty sticky stuff) and then attached some cheap, natural rope to the core with duct tape, wrapping it around to thicken the handle.
And then over the top of that with hockey tape for aesthetics and grip.
When I started the next day on the pommels I forgot the camera until after I had already attached the second layer. I did get a shot before I attached the final bottom cap, though. I had to unwrap a bit of the handle because I didn't realize I'd need to duct tape the pommel to the core under the rope.
After getting the bottom cap dapped and cross-taped to the core I re-wrapped the rope and hockey tape on the handle.
I actually finished hockey-taping the pommels and marking them as blue last night but I haven't got any pictures of that yet. We're also making some covers from leftover faux-suede material I used for legwraps for a Luke Skywalker costume. Hopefully we'll get them done before practice tonight so we can use our own blades, but even if we don't we'll have them done this week for practice at home.
I'm pretty pleased with the results for a first attempt and I'm hopeful they'll pass weapons check.