How To Make A Fiberglass Rapier Simulator - Pt. 2


Step 2: How To Make The Quillions And Hilt:

Making the Quillions (Cross Piece):

Get the two 8-inch rod pieces that you cut earlier.  Find the center, by measuring a distance of 4-inches from the end. Mark off the center with a sharpie. Then on either side of the center mark, mark two more points ½ inch away from the center point. This will give you the center of the cross where the blade will go through. Now get the two 6-inch pieces you cut earlier.

Place all four pieces of the rod on the table. The two 8 inch pieces will be placed horizontal to one another with their ends matching, much like an equal sign. The two 6 inch pieces will be placed in-between the two 8 inch pieces with one end placed at the marks made to either side of the center mark on the 8 inch pieces, leaving a 1 inch gap in the middle for the blade core to be able to just fit through tightly. Then glue the cross together in the same manner as you did the blade core.

Illustration 12: Gluing the Cross Pieces Together

Illustration 13: Placing & Gluing the Cross Piece (Quillion)


Glue cross to blade

At this point you must decide where you want to place the cross of your sword. In the case of our swords, we placed the quillions (cross) 5 inches down from the back end of the blade allowing for a 5 inch grip You can adjust your handle size asa you deem necessary, 4-5 inches though is a good rule of thumb.

Once the position for the cross has been determined and marked with the black sharpie, you will then slide the cross into position and make sure it is straight, then glue it to the blade on both the top and the bottom of the cross. Once the glue hardens, take a couple of strips of strapping tape cut to about a ¼ inch wide and wind them around the point where the cross meets the blade in the form of an X, this helps stabilize the cross when it receives any type of an impact.

Making the bell guard

Place the stainless steel bowl upside down on a workbench and mark the center of the bottom of the bowl with the black sharpie. Then mark a line 1” long centered through the center mark on the bottom of the bowl. Like this:


Use a set punch and a hammer and center punch three positions on this line, one in the center, and one ¼ inch in from each end of the 1-inch line.

Take your electric drill with a 5/16-inch drill bit and drill three holes at the positions you placed center punches.

Now using a round file, file at the bowl until you have created a slot in the bowl that will fit over the blade of your rapier. Slide the bowl over the front of the blade with the bottom pointed towards the point, and the lip of the bowl touches the cross to form a bell guard. Mark the position on the blade where the slot in the bowl is at on the blade, and then remove the bell guard. Take some strapping tape, about a 1/2-3/4 inches wide and wrap it around the blade a few times where the slot in the bell guard stops on the rapier blade, this will protect the fiberglass from being cut by the sharp edges of the thin stainless steel. Replace the bell guard on the rapier and hot glue the lip of the bowl to the cross, then hot glue the position where the slot in the bell guard is both inside and out to the blade.

With use the bell guard will pop free from the cross if it is only held with hot glue, this in not a big problem since in can be easily fixed with a little heat from the glue gun down the road, but if you don’t like regular weapon repairs, I would also drill four holes in the lip of the bowl on either side of the cross in order to thread some stainless steel wire around the cross and through the lip of the bowl in order to tie it down and if you want then place a little hot glue over the wires, this will make the connection between the bell guard and the cross extremely strong.

Illustration 14: Wire going through the guard and reinforcing the quillions.
Note: Additional hot glue can be used to help add further strength.

Figure 15: Taping and lashing the quillions.

Next we further duct taped around the quillions and sword and placed an "X" lashing with nylon cord to help strengthen the joint, between the cross and the sword blade. We then painted over the duct tape with gold paint for a brass look. You will also want to glue the vinyl end caps firmly in place. you may wish to paint these a contrasting color.

Attach the grip

Take the two slabs of wood that are 1 inch wide by 4 inches long by ¼ inch thick and hot glue them down on either side of the rapier blade against the cross where the grip will be placed at the back of the blade. Then using a rasp and sand paper, round off the square edges of the wood so the grip is easy to hold in the hand.  Then once you have sanded it to a smooth finish, for an added touch add a couple layers of shellac or varnish. We also filled the area between slabs of wood, and painted it a brass color.

From here you can either leave the grip as it is  and simply screw on the pommel, or you can wrap it with leather, wire-wrap it , wrap it with tape, or  for the nautical look, wrap it with a decorative rope.


Illustration 16: Sword end without the screw on pommel (cabinet knob) attached

Illustration 17: We wrapped the handle in decorative rope and "whipped" the quillions.
You could also wrap the quillions in decorative ribbon or cloth -in this picture we painted them


Illustration 18: These quillions are wrapped in velvet ribbon, notice the tassle

How to wrap the handle

The easiest method for wrapping the handle is to use a standard sailor's whipping. You can either trim the rope at the end or leave it dangle outward for an added effect, adding either a tassle or wooden beads as above.

1. Loop the whipping line (small rope) allowing approximately 18 inches
for wrapping on the arrow side.

2. Loop the whipping line over itself.

3. Wrap the whipping line over itself,
keeping the wraps as tight as possible.


4. After whipping is approximately same width as the rope being whipped,
lace whipping line through the loop.

5. Gently pull on the main end of the whipping line indicated with the break (lighting bolt)

6. When the loop is tight trim the line to 1/4 the width of the wraps that are now around the main rope.

7. Pull the main whipping line until the whipping end loop is completely buried under the wraps.

8. If you want, trim the excess whipping line, or you can leave it and attach beads,
or make a tassle. At this point the whipping is complete.

Illustration 18: The finished sword.

Steven Greenfield
Steven aka "Esteban el Barbarosa de Curvo Del Rio" aka "Capt. Skippy"
and Robin "The Ruthless" Greenfield with the fibreglass rapier simulator in Westport, WA 2007. 

For further reading on how to make fiberglass swords check out these sites:

Steven Greenfield ("Esteban el Barbarosa de Curvo del Rio")
(Author of The An-Tir Fiberglass Rapier Construction Guide, 1992-1995)

See also:The Northwest Propmakers Yahoo Group
PolyMorph Digital Photography

Basic Fiberglass Rapier How-To