How to make a Damascus Steel Style LARP sword?
August 19, 2010 4:23 AM   Subscribe

LARPfilter - How to make a Damascus Steel style LARP sword

I regularly attend a LARP/LRP event in the UK, a system called the Lorien Trust. If you don't know, its a fantasy re-enactment role play kinda thing. We do not use "Bofffer" style weapons, but; cut plastazote-foam blades coated in latex and a flexible primer.

I want to know the best way to get a "Damascus Steel" or "High Carbon" effect on the blade of the sword which will be a traditional shamshir style blade.

So, the foam used is very similar to roll-up camping mats (closed cell foam) and latex is water based, so it can get messed up if it is subjected to certain chemicals. The foam is easily cut with craft knives, melted with heat guns, warped and worked with heat and easily succumbs to a soldering iron and a fine hand.
The latex is painted on and built up in layers (normally about 7) - the latex can be mixed with paint - to use the paint/latex mix as if it were normal paint.

So how on earth do make this stuff look like the links above? I really don't know and I don't believe its been done before so please suggest anything you can.

One idea I had is too have a trough of water, oil based paint floating on the top and dip the sword on the surface, similar to how you did on A4 paper at art class in school - but I cant remember how to do that or what is needed, also will oil based paint ruin the latex or the foam?
posted by Cogentesque to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For the damascus steel effect, how about painting many thin coats, alternating lighter and darker grey. Then sand back through the layers, as in this example, which uses plywood to create a similar pattern.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 4:37 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I used a rubber tool to apply a thin wash for Future Floorwax + darker paint to a Guitar Hero guitar in order to give it a faux woodgrain effect. I used a triangular graining comb. You could probably make something similar using the foam you normally use for your blades. Just take a 1-2 inch wide section of it, slice some ridges into it, then use it as a brush to apply a wash of darker paint+thinner (I use Future Floorwax because it's cheap and smells nice - I think it's called Klear in England).

You may have to practice a bit to get it to work right.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:55 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: They sell acrylic medium in art stores that gives acrylic latex pant a matte finish. I would use that for the darker colour laid over the first. Experiment with a sponge, cut with "teeth" to wipe down to the shinier layer below. It would create a wood grain effect similar to this. Modify your tools to get the effect you want.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:02 AM on August 19, 2010

The graining comb is a good idea. I'd recommend looking into various faux finishing techniques, particularly non-metallic metal (NMM) which is popular with miniature painters.
posted by ecurtz at 6:43 AM on August 19, 2010

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