A guard isn’t a strict necessity for boffer weapons, but we at foamsmithing.com cannot overstate how much they improve a weapon. They provide minor protection to your knuckles, but are a major visual improvement. Of the two basic methods to make a guard, the Box Method is marginally less durable. Don’t let this stop you from using it though, because it allows for different shapes than the Stack Method. Think about what kind of guard you want to build before settling on a method. You’ll want to build your guard after the blade but before the handle. You can build this guard after a pommel if you want.
The Box Sandwich method is similar to building a blade box. Your final wrap will be different, as will your dimensions, but the same basic structure is used.
- Foam! We recommend 4lb density foam for the core of the guard, with standard 2lb (blue foam) for the final layer and shaping.
- DAP contact cement. You can use double sided tape for some parts, but you’ll need DAP to attach foam to the core. Might as well build it all with DAP once you have it open.
- Athletic tape to cover the guard.
Lay your blade flat and cut some foam pieces. To start, you’ll need one layer under the core, two pieces for the layer on the same level as the core, and one layer above the core. Dap up the core, and the foam pieces. Also apply DAP to the bottom of the blade where the guard touches.
After letting the DAP tack up, lift the blade and attach the bottom layer. Carefully place the two pieces of your second layer. You want them fully adjacent to the core, with no gaps. Place the final layer on top. This is the Sandwich in “Box Sandwich Method.”
After the DAP dries even more (not long if you waited for it to tack up) you’ll want to trim down the sandwich so the next layer attaches evenly and well.
- Take a long strip and glue it down around the sandwich. This layer is for structural strength and eye safety requirements.
- Glue down any extra foam you want to modify the shape. Depending on what you plan, this step may need to come before #4.
- Use athletic tape (packing tape works well too) to hold the core to the blade. This adds even more strength. Attach to the flat of the blade, not the edge.
- Cover the guard with athletic tape. This provides more structural integrity and makes for a cleaner appearance. The exact pattern depends on the shape of the guard, but you’ll want as few exposed ends as possible.