To construct a basic sparring sword out of PVC for use in
combat within the Mercenaries Medieval Combat Guild, there are only a
few materials needed, all easily obtained from almost any hardware
store. They are:
- 3/4 inch thick PVC
pipe (minimum schedule 40, but schedule 80 is encouraged) in the
overall length of the sword you wish to make. Be sure to
purchase a few extra inches (eight should be enough) to make the
foam pipe insulation to fit 3/4 inch PVC plumbing pipe in the
length of the blade of the sword (include a few extra inches for
a stabbing tip). If you intend to make a sword with a
discernable blade and flat, buy 2 identical lengths of
- Wooden dowel
that can fit snugly inside the inch PVC pipe, with a few
inches of space within the pipe at either end. If
necessary, saw some of a longer dowel off.
steel bolts whose pin fits into the 3/4 inch PVC pipe.
A shorter one (only 2 inches long or so) for the tip end of the
sword, and a longer one (about four-to-five inches long) to fit
in the grip end of the sword. Brass bolts or sawed-off
sections of solid steel round bars will also suffice.
tape. Lots of it.
kind of material to use as a grip for your sword (hockey tape,
leather, fabric, wire, etc...)
The first step of making your sword is to decide how wide you
want the crossguards on it to be. Generally, three inches each
is wide enough, although some longswords or greatswords may call for
longer crosspieces. Saw extra lengths of PVC (that are not part
of your main sword core) to size, and set them aside.
The next step is to oil the wooden dowel with linseed oil
(which is highly toxic, so for the love of the gods, don’t ingest it,
and keep it away from children). The purpose for oiling the
dowel is to prevent it from drying out inside the sword and
shattering. Then slide (or hammer) the dowel into the main
Next, take the smaller steel bolt and place it at the tip
end of the sword core. Make sure that the end of it fits
tightly against the end of the wooden dowel inside the PVC
pipe. Duct tape the bolt very securely into the end of the
pipe. Be sure not to make a large bulb of duct tape in doing
so, or it can misshape the padding on your sword later, causing it to
Now, take the larger bolt and place it in the grip end of
the sword core, making sure once again that it fits snugly against
the end of the wooden dowel inside the PVC pipe. Duct tape it
securely into the core.
Now, slide the first layer of closed-cell foam pipe
insulation on to the PVC pipe until it covers an area that is the
length of the blade with which you wish to strike. Be sure to
leave an extra two inches of insulation loose at the tip end of the
blade to make a stabbing tip.
The stabbing tip itself comes next. Cut a small
piece of foam insulation and curl it into a small tube. Tape it
loosely with a single strip of duct tape and place it into the hollow
end of the insulation that already covers the blade. Cut a
circle of closed-cell foam and place it over the end of the stabbing
tip to make a sort of cap.
Now duct tape the insulation in a spiral pattern (not too
tightly, or it will compress the foam and detract from its padding
capabilities) all the way up the “blade” of the sword. At this
point, you may wish to tape the cross-pieces on to the sword, using a
figure-eight pattern. Be very sure that the cross-pieces are
held on securely.
If you wish to make a distinct flat and edge for your
sword, now is the time. Take the second length of closed-cell
foam, and cut it completely in half lengthwise. Now, take each
of those halves and place them over the cutting edges of your sword,
and duct-tape them on. There are a variety of ways to cut
pieces of foam into ever-smaller pieces so that the “blade” has a
hexagonal cross-section, but the method described above is simplest
Now that you have a completed blade and cross-pieces, the
only thing left to consider is the grip. You might want to
consider using something like small wooden dowels or chopsticks to “build
up” the handle of the sword. This will create a flatter grip
for you, which is more comfortable than a perfectly round one.
Cover the handle in whatever grip material you wish to use, and
make sure that it is securely attached so that it doesn’t come
unraveled during a fight, or unglued in the sun, etc...
If you wish, a cloth cover may be sewn for the blade
portion of your sword. This reduces wear and tear on the
duct-taped padding, and it reportedly lessens some of the sting of a
strike. If you choose to pursue this option, use a grey, white
or black covering of solid cloth; no nylon tights or pantyhose
stretched over the blade.
Properly constructed and cared for, a sword as described above
will be sturdy, realistically weighted, and durable.
Materials needed for construction of combat arrows are as
arrows with screw-off points.
The first step is to remove the screw-off target point
from the aluminum arrow. Then take the penny and tape it on the
end of the arrow, so that if the arrow were fired, the penny would
strike the target instead of the target point.
Next, curl the closed-cell foam around the end of the
arrow in a spiraling pattern so that it makes a tight foam tube about
one and a half inches in diameter. Duct tape it so that the
foam is firm and springy, but not loose.
Now cut a circle out of closed cell foam, just as if you
were making a stabbing point for a sword, and tape it on to the end
of the “arrowhead.”
Remember to periodically straighten your arrow (they
often get bent during combat) and to check that the padding isn’t
getting too compacted by its repeated impacts.