Making a Miniature Wooden Sword
Fortunately I have a student version of a 3D modelling program called Solidworks that I use for all my designing. If someone were to not be that lucky, they could use an open source program like Blender. Anyways, here is the sword I modelled in Solidworks. It was my first attempt at designing a sword, but I think it turned out quite well.
I then resized the image until it was the size I wanted. Because of limitations on the width of the board I was using, I decided to make it about 20 inches long. I also wanted it to be small enough to fit in my cope and drag, which are only 25 inches long. At this length, it's about half the size of the full size sword. I then printed it out, and cut along the perimeter with an exacto knife.
Do you notice the little triangles in the back of the blade? I originally designed it with small notches cut into the back of the blade. However, I decided later that I would go the simple route and skip the notches. The next step was to tape it to the piece of wood I was planning on carving it out of, 3/4 inch thick "common board". It was the cheapest slab of wood I could get my hands on at The Home Depot. I then traced it out with my favorite blue ballpoint pen.
The next step was to saw out the rough shape of it. Unfortunately, due to my living situation and low budget, I was forced to cut out the shape with a coping saw. 30 minutes later, and with sweat pouring down my face (the air conditioning doesn't reach my workshop), I finally finished.
I then finished roughing it out with my Shinto rasp (the best rasp I have ever used). I was able to rasp both the convex and concave faces of the blade with relative ease. The crossguard was a little trickier, so I used my half round file instead.
The next step was to make the blade the correct thickness. I had to be very careful during this step. The blade needed to be very thin, and common board happens to be very brittle (don't ask how I know that). Once again, I used my coping saw to cut away most of the wood so I could finish it up with the rasp.
I then took the dremel out and did some detail work on the crossguard. If you look closely, you may notice that the part I carved out has a slight angle on it. It isn't straight up and down. I did this in order for it to come out of the sand easier when I go to cast it.
I also had to rasp the handle and crossguard down to the correct thickness. In this case, since it is such a simple sword, the crossguard and handle/pommel have the same thickness.
After almost forgetting, I added some dips in my crossguard with my half-round rasp. I then put an edge on the blade with my rasp, and sanded the entire thing down.
I also decided to coat the sword with some clear gloss. The kind I used it called Deft. It is cheap, and it comes in aerosol form. I sprayed on a few coats, and then sanded the result with fine sandpaper. It was very smooth when I finished.
Here's another one I made through a very similar process. I like it much better though.
I haven't successfully casted either yet, but I will update if I do.