Are there directions for a wooden sword?

One of these days I intend to join an ARMA group, or a similar group, if I ever move to the right city. I'd like to learn how to really use a longsword - especially after reading relevant books which are available now.

A wooden practice sword (or waster) would be needed. I thought I'd ask if directions for making your own waster are available anywhere. I doubt it's difficult. I'm just not sure how everything gets fastened together. I'd like to make a wooden version of my hand & half sword. What kind of wood should be used?

Thank you.

Dustin Faulkner

Making a practice stick is easy.
Making a good waster that balances well is hard.
Making one that will withstand being used for contact training is harder.
Making one with the same specs as a steel sword is essentially impossible without using metal components.

I don't say all this to discourage you - just to give you a realistic idea of what's involved.

I'm also going to recommend the new synthetic wasters. They are available for less than $100, handle better than wood and last damn near forever. Plus many groups are moving to using these as their standard training sword.

Steven H wrote:

Making a practice stick is easy.
Making a good waster that balances well is hard.
Making one that will withstand being used for contact training is harder.
Making one with the same specs as a steel sword is essentially impossible without using metal components.

Well, I'd say this depends on a lot a factors, really. Most importantly what types of wood he uses and how creative he gets. An ipe waster will be heavier but tougher then a hickory waster, for example. And there are some exotic woods out there that are tremendously dense and heavy. In addition, one can combine woods to take advantage of the different properties.

That said - Dustin, do you have any experience as a carpenter? And what type of tools do you have access to?

My experience in this field relates to bokken rather then wasters so I don't know how much practical help I can be. I'd lie if I said this is an easy task for a beginner, though it can also be a fun project and might produce a vastly better and more personalized waster then you could find elsewhere, if you're willing to go the extra mile and put a lot of work in.

But if you just want something that will be okay for training, I'd echo Steven's advice that you simply buy an affordable waster made by professionals.
I have used both the plastic and wooden wasters as well. The plastic ones are nearly indestructible and they simulate the slipperiness of a metal blade much better when doing contact drills and other work. I'd recommend getting one over the time you might spend trying to get your waster right.

Good luck!

Like the other posters have said, making a good wooden waster is much more than sawing a chunk of wood in the shape of a sword. I have made many wooden wasters, and can share how I construct them. I actually prefer wood, partly for the historical aspect. partly because I enjoy making them, and partly because I love using a tool that I have crafted.
Here is a list of tools and supplies that I use in the construction of a waster...
Table saw with dado blade
Band saw
Table mounted router
Drill press
3/4" Hickory (for the blade and grip)
3/4" Purpleheart (for the cross)
Jute cord (for the grip wrap)
1/4" wood dowel (for pins to secure cross)
wood glue
sand paper (220 grit for final sanding)
Hand plane
Boiled linseed oil
Lathe chisles

Yes, it takes a lot of tools to do it right.
First draw out the shape of the blade and grip on the hickory board. If you want a 2 dimensional pommel on the sword, include it on the end of the grip. If you want a pommel to later attach, you must lathe one out; these instructions will be for the 2 dimensional pommel. Using the bandsaw, rough saw out the drawing you just made. Use the hand plane to work out the saw marks on the blade, and get a good taper to the tip. Next, using various heights of your router bit, router the blade with a roundover bit to almost where you will attach the cross. Rout the grip with a roundover bit to comfort. Approximate the size of the cross you will be using, and cut out in rectangle blocks. Dado out the portion of the cross that the blade will fit into. Once you have ensured a good fit of the cross on the blade, you can bandsaw the curve or whatever shape you want the cross to be, and roundover the edges with a router. Attach the cross using wood glue and dowel pins. Next I use a rasp to taper the flats of the tip to lesson the tip's weight, and rasp the flat ends of the cross to give them a nice tapered look. Sand the entire waster to 220 grit and finish with Linseed oil. Lastly, wrap the grip with jute chord securing with a line of glue and proper knot. You now have a strong and servicable waster.
You can see why good wasters are so expensive to buy! I hope I didn't miss anything.
Hopefully that doesn't discourage you, but it is a lot of work to get the right balance, strength, and look. Once you get it right, the feeling of being the craftsman and end user is very fulfilling.

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