I’m very happily a part of the Society for Creative Anachronism now, but my introduction to weekends in funny clothes running around in the woods was LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). Many LARPers ask why I stopped playing, and my answer is simply that I was bored. Every LARP game is different, requiring different weapons, costumes, armor, props, et cetera.
The SCA is an additive lifestyle: the same name and armory I registered three years ago still pertain to me, and will continue to be my own twenty years from now. My starter garb is loaner gear, but it still has a use, unlike my old character’s Mercenary Guildmaster Coat (which I gave to a friend for a burlesque costume.) One of the things I spent a lot of time on between LARP events was building boffer weapons from kite pole, pipe foam, and duct tape. I’m relieved that my +10 skill in Use Duct Tape have an application in the SCA!
When you want to make your own weapons, talk to your local Knight Marshall or the person who runs your practice about where to buy rattan and a basket hilt. Rattan is the key to Heavy combat. It’s a relative of bamboo, and pulps when it’s destroyed, instead of shattering like wood.
Many people shave their rattan down with a belt sander or a knife. Be sure that the diameter of your rattan is no smaller than 1.25″ so your sword will be legal. Our helms only allow a 1″ gap between the bars to make sure weapons will never hit our faces.
I’m using the starter black plastic basket on my sword. It’s cheap, light, and unlike shiny metal it won’t give away my position in a woods battle. (I stopped LARPing, but I have sixteen years of LARPer habits, where the difference between death and survival is how easily I can disappear in the woods.)
Baron Valerian swears that attaching baskets to rattan with fiberglass strapping tape is better than using metal strapping because tape can be repaired in the field with just a knife. I think this makes sense, and I prefer using tape. My basket is attached to my rattan by several wraps of strapping tape.
Next, I added a thrusting tip made from two layers of blue camp foam. I put the end of the rattan on the foam and traced it with a sharpie, and attached it with more fiberglass strapping tape. Then I covered the rest of my blade with long strips of strapping tape. This layer of extra tape will make replacing the duct tape a quick and easy job instead of a fight against five or six layers of gummed duct tape.
Once the entire blade is covered in strapping tape, add a layer of duct tape.
Finally, add a blade to your weapon with electrical tape. I appear to be out of black electrical tape, so I used some of my red tape that’s left over from my days of making monster claws for LARPs. This sword is red-y to go!