How to make a Guard (Stack Method)

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 Stack Method is probably simpler and more durable.  The Box Method is perfectly adequate though, and it can be used to create different guard shapes than with the Stack Method.  It is easier to construct certain curved crossguards (types 6, 7, 9, and 11) with the Stack Method.  Think about what kind of guard you want to build before settling on a method.  You’ll need to build this guard after the blade but before the handle and pommel.

2 lb foam (blue), 4lb foam (grey puzzle-mat), and other materials

Materials:

  • 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.

Process:

  1. Cut some foam pieces to the length and width you’ll want your guard.  You’ll need at least two for the core.
  2. Step 5 in progress

    Find the exact center of your pieces.  Don’t screw this up.  Punch a hole in the middle.  You can use a drill, but be careful not to drill too wide a hole.  Scissors work ok, but be careful not to let the hole drift as you widen it.

  3. DAP the two pieces together so the holes align.  Make sure you let the glue tack up before attaching.
  4. Apply DAP to the core where the Guard will attach.  Also apply DAP to the bottom of the blade.  Apply DAP to the part of the guard which will contact the blade.  Don’t apply DAP to the inside of the hole unless you want to smear glue all the way down your bare core.
  5. Step 6 complete

    Slide the guard down the core and into the place.  If you did step #2 right it should be snug and stay in place without you holding it.

  6. Add extra foam for eye safety requirements.  A single wrap around the outside should be sufficient.
  7. Taped up and completed

    (Optional) Add extra foam to modify the shape of the handle.  You may want to do this before step #6. We skipped this step in our pictures.   Be creative!

  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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