Friday, 16 October 2015

Sword of the Reaper

I was also asked to build a sword for the Terry Prachettes Death character for use in Brisbane Arts Theatres 'Mort'
This had to take blows in fight scenes so I used a piece of Spotted Gum decking board as its super strong and often used for training swords . 

Cut the main shape with hand saws and a plane
Then more detail with a rasp file 

Fuller was cut with an angle grinder then hand sanded 
Cross bar was supposed to look like a part of a rib cage but due to the type of wood used it wasn't going to hold its shape without splitting so I had to modify the end product.

The sharp end points were very weak so went with a more standard looking shape.

 Always super neat with my tools.
 There was quite a tight deadline for this one so instead of carving a hardwood handle I just used a piece of bamboo. Probably not the best choice as its not the strongest but hope it works.
For the skull I was going to sculpt one and make from TC-808 but due to the deadline I just went and found one at a cheap shop for $12. It had a bird on its head so I had to cut that off and fill with a plaster type material for weight. Then wrapped the twine for the grip.

Quite late in the day I realised it had to be painted and spotted gum is very high in oil content.
So I had to buy a special acid bath wash for it to strip the oils from the blade. Then a solid undercoat of special sealer.
 Not really having much experience in this field I ended up using an enamel silver, which takes days to dry and never really hardens up. I should have probably used an acrylic base but was not to sure about chipping when hit on stage.

The Finished Product. .  well..  almost.
After the first dress rehearsal, I received a call where it was explained that the sward also gets thrown across the stage and hits the floor/walls etc. and also is stood on to prevent Death from picking it up. The result.. a shattered pommel. I originally made it with a plaster filler and thought " this will do the trick as long as it doesn't hit the deck"  ha. 
So now I have about 3 days to get a new skull made that can handle the heavy blows it receives every night of the show for a few months.
 I hot glues it back together as best I could then used  expanding foam to fill the gaps as its easily sanded and sets fast.
Then off to Barnes products to grab some casting gear. Back to original Idea, cast a skull from TC-808. this stuff should take the impact.

 The skull after a sanding, then I covered in plaster and painted to make smooth.

Using Pinkysil, a silicon base 2 part casting product to take the copy of the skull  
 The new work bench severing me well.

I had to cut the mould down a bit to make it flex enough to pop out the original skull.
 Now with the TC-808. I remember this stuff from years ago when I used to make RC car parts with it. Nice and strong.
 Skull copy
 When I got the sword back Scott  the props and sets guy from Brisbane Arts theatre had replaced the handle with blue and black rope which looks much better. I didn't realise that the small string detail I used would be lost in the distance from audience to stage. So thicker rope works well, and the blue better suits the character.
 Back filled with expanding foam then airbrushed to cover. The back of the skull is thicker on the mould to take the weight of the actress standing on it.
The new skull. 
The final piece looking a bit worn, but in the end lasted till the final show...  Almost.
Quest completed .