The Universal Larp Association has a writeup of Boffer Larps and why they matter. This site aims to be a resource for all foamsmiths, but boffers in particular. Full disclosure, the current staff of foamsmithing.com all play Dargarth, a Boffer Larp.
Top hit for ‘foamsmithing’: http://sites.google.com/site/varangia2/foamsmithing
It’s a larp website that hasn’t be updated in two years. It ought to be Dagorhir’s weapons forum, Belegarth’s weapons building forum, geddon.org, or nearly anything other than a vastly scattered, unuthoritative list of broken links.
We will try to fix this by distributing our knowledge as best as possible! If you are interesting in helping us highlight the best of foamsmithing on the web, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
BRACE YOURSELVES: I found an inexpensive yet amazing foamcutting knife at Fred Meyer the other day. So far, I have only used it to cut foam for blueswords, but man, it is cheap and sturdy.
I’d been using packing knives, pocket knives, box cutters, etc. for a while, but its difficult to get them to make perfectly clean cuts. They squish the foam and cause uneven edges. Even with making guide cuts first, instead of just trying to cut all at once, the cuts often end up sloppy. I had heard that steak knives worked well for cutting foam, but hadn’t tried yet. I found a pack of 2 cheap steak knives at fred meyers and grabbed them to test. Unfortunately they were only beveled on one side, so the tendency of the blade cutting the foam was to slide off the side and create a bevel. They still worked fairly well but I had to be very careful and make many cuts, switching directions to keep the cut flat.
The next day I went to Fred Meyer again for a supplies run, and ended up buying probably the last knife I will ever need for foamsmithing. I had seen it the previous time, but thought that the 5.5″ blade would be unwieldy, fooling me into getting the aforementioned steak knives. It was also cheap (about $7 with tax) so I grabbed it. The serrations are much smaller and sharper than the steak knives, the blade is thinner, stiff, and beveled on both sides. This knife is WIN. It was very easy to make clean cuts on 4# gym mat foam.
In short, this knife is awesome, and it cuts foam like a lightsaber.
It is often said that the first weapon any aspiring foamsmith should build is a ‘bluesword’, so we’ll start at the beginning. Blueswords are the single most common weapon on many fields.
The term bluesword comes from Belegarth, referring to the color used to mark single handed weapons. Arguably the term may also come from the blue color of the foam most widely used in foamsmithing, the Ozark Trail Camping Pad from evil Walmart. ‘Bluesword’ describes any one-handed weapon, constructed in a flat-bladed manner (versus a club or an omni-blade, a discussion for later). Lengths vary widely according to personal preference and stylistic choices, but 48″ is an upper limit for Belegarth and Dagorhir. Hilts and pommels are also infinitely varied in style.
Nearly any core works for a blue sword. The real meat of every bluesword build is the blade. There are two canonical ways to build a blade:
- The box, an old and tested build. Here’s the box method from Geddon.org. Strips of foam build up a ‘foam sandwich’ around the core which is reinforced by more foam, in layers.
- The fry method, where the entire blade as one piece of foam. A channel is routed in it for the core, and then the core is glued in. We’ll be posting guides to each of these methods, and some of their variations, in the near future.