Open Call for Smiths

We’ve about accomplished our primary goal of categorizing all of our favorite boffer building tutorials, and we would like to now open the site up more to the global foamsmithing community. If you have  a tutorial, a pic of a great weapon, a killer video of fighting at your larp, or an idea you’d like to share, let us know! We don’t have an agenda, other than we love to build foam weapons.

Andrick’s Shield

Wrapshot has another killer shield up:

Really amazing. And the detail carries through to the back of the shield, which not only doesn’t have karate belts or nylon, but doesn’t look like a boffer weapon at all, but a shield fit for a Duke.

How to make Hilt Guards-Two Basic Guides Posted!

A basic guard can turn a good sword into a masterpiece.  There are two (similar) methods we use to make guards.  You can embellish the basic process to create tsubas, crossguards, or even a basket hilt (with the Stack Method).  Both methods are durable and easy to construct.  The Box Sandwich method is slightly less reliable (less foam contact with the core) and can only be used with 1/2″ fiberglass.

A basic guard made with the stack method


New tutorials on Handle Shaping and Bar Stock Counterweighting

We’ve got a string of new tutorials coming down the pipe.  There are some good tutorials on blade construction out there, but not enough for hilts and other details.  We’ve taken it upon our selves to detail multiple ways to construct a hilt.  Pick and choose which methods work for you, and create a personalized weapon!  Expect to see articles on pommels, guards, and grip wrapping soon, but today you can check out our instructions for:

We’ve also re-organized the site.  Our general build pages (example: blue swords) contains a list of components (example: pommel) and different methods (example: wrap pommel) to construct those components.  You can also jump directly to those components through the menu tab at the top.

Expect more tutorials up soon!

The Order

The Order is a group beyond stick jocks. They fight harder on the field than most Dagorhir/Belegarth groups, and their costumes are great. This video has been making the facebook rounds but deserves to be shared again here. It’s their unit trials, not according to Dagorhir/Belegarth rules.

Again, the caveat that this is a unit activity for them, and not representative of their Dagorhir presence. They’re fighting each other at their own threshold, which is hardcore. Their costumes are as well done as their fighting. Hail the Order!

Why Low Profile Weapons

Why low profile?

In foamsmithing, the phrase low profile when refers to boffer weapons that make use of more compact and lower volume designs. While a sword can certainly be low profile, the term more typically refers to thrusting weapons, as stabbing tips are traditionally bulky components.

Advantages of low profile designs:

  • They’re lighter
  • The more maneuverable in combat
  • They have a more realistic appearance
  • There’s no outer layer of soft, breakable foam to deteriorate before the rest of the weapon
  • No fucking flop! (Where the mass of the open cell foam moves off to the side during an angled strike)

For years, the conventional approach to building stabbing tips was to apply a large volume of open cell foam on a base of bluefoam. This led to fairly bulky, round stabbing point. Since then, innovations in materials and techniques over the years have led to the production of smaller designs, especially for daggers, spears, and javelins. The primary new material for stabbing tips is no longer the traditional open cell foam (which could have included nerf footballs, couch foam, computer packing foam, etc.) but now is a form of Ensolite, usually in the form of “Marine Foam”, Stadium Seat Cushions, or Yogamat. Ensolite is a very spongy closed cell foam that lends well to a lower profile stabbing tip using the principle of progressive resistance.

Another innovation is the inclusion of a swatch of leather or plastic capping the weapon after it has its first wrap of foam at the tip. Place this disc on the end of the core (depicted to the left) after a base of foam has been built flush with the end of the core. This technique spreads the force of the impact of the core to a wider surface area, allowing more absorption by the stabbing tip foam. In conjunction with the Ensolite, these two imrpovements make very safe, lower profile weapons that look better and are easier to use.