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20 April 2005 @ 10:06 pm
How to line a vest the Donny Don't way...

...fail to realize that, if you want to actually be able to turn the armholes, you must leave the shoulder seams open before you sew the lining to the garment. D'oh. At least this won't be horrendously time-consuming to fix and it will ultimately make it easier to finish the surcoat because I'll be able to sew around everything that will be seen (including the ever so fun back vent), turn the vest through the open shoulder seams, and then bind those seams with bias tape when I sew them together. I also forgot to press the back of neck lining/fabric seam before sewing the front seams that go right up to it, so taking the garment apart at the shoulders will solve that problem as well. I highly doubt it will be done tonight, but I'll see how far I can get on it.

I'm also pretty much done priming the sword blade. The fiberglass weave is filled in, and I wet sanded it with 320-grit paper and it feels pretty smooth to me. I might be super anal and put on a final coat and then sand that with some really fine paper just for the hell of it. Weeeeee. In any case, I can't start painting it until next week because we'll be out of town this weekend. Wah. *impatient*
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Assassin Weaselcrackferret on April 21st, 2005 03:57 am (UTC)
Hrm, a fiberglass sword, now there's a good idea. How do you put one of those together? Is there a site somewhere that tells a bit more about the process?
The Heavy Metal Matador: southparkrydain on April 21st, 2005 05:39 am (UTC)
Well...it depends on the shape and thickness of the blade, but you basically make some sort of core and laminate it with fiberglass to significantly strengthen it. This particular sword is a scimitar with a thin blade. I cut the blade (including a tang as long as the handle will be) from 1/8" plywood (with a Dremel, which took me about three hours...gah) and filed and sanded it so the edges looked nice. Zeriel helped me laminate it with two layers of .73 ounce fiberglass cloth. (Once upon a time in a university not very far away, he took an aerospace lab that involved building an entire model airplane out of fiberglass, and he enjoys working with it, so there ya go.) After both sides were done and cured, I trimmed and sanded away all the extra cloth and gunk around the edges, sanded down some minor wrinkles in the laminate on the blade surface, and used Evercoat Easy Sand (a very nice body filler) to fill in gaps in the laminate and small "valleys" around the edge until the entire edge was covered in something and smoothly curved. This. Took. Forever. because body filler goes "stale" really quickly, so you can only apply a bit at a time, and then of course you need to wait for it to dry so you can sand it and get ready for another round. I then sprayed on a fuckload of thick coats of cheapo automotive primer until the weave was filled (I've been told that you do want thick coats of primer when doing this), and that's where I am right now.

After I paint this thing (using Tamiya brand acrylics because the people at the local hobby shop recommended them), I'll have to get a guard and handle on it somehow. I think I'll cast the guard from resin (which will be a new adventure for me...yay) and make the handle by Frankensteining some wood molding onto the tang and slapping washers in there somehow to weight it. I'll be sure to take a picture when I do this so the explanation actually makes sense.

For a thicker sword (like Inuyasha's Tetsusaiga), you may wish to use something like insulation-grade Styrofoam as a base. This can be purchased at any well-stocked home improvement store and cut and sanded into detailed shapes. I'm not sure what the best method for putting a handle on something like this would be, though. Some guy on cosplay.com seemed to have success with drilling a hole deep into the sword's core and gluing a broomstick handle in there. If you use foam as a core, be sure to seal it well with gesso or primer or something so that the fiberglass resin won't melt it. Even papier macheing over it should work.

It would even be possible to make a flat 100% fiberglass blade by laying out cloth over a smooth, flat surface coated with an appropriate release (i.e. something that the resin won't stick to), saturating it, and then cutting a blade out of the resultant sheet. I would like to try making another of Xiahou Dun's swords with this method, but it's going to have to wait a while.

Fiberglass lamination has a steep learning curve, but it's worth learning if you want to make supar w00t props. This tutorial is the best I've seen on the subject. It illustrates the method we used and provides a link to a good site for supplies. We used the EZ-Lam 30-minute finishing resin that the tutorial recommends, and it worked extremely well and didn't give off the noxious fumes that scare many people away from working with fiberglass. In fact, it barely smelled at all.
necessary evilmeanjunglist on April 21st, 2005 05:36 am (UTC)
I am a good bit done with your scarf. It's turning out soooo nicely. It's so soft and snuggly. I am tempted to knit another for myself.
The Heavy Metal Matador: southparkrydain on April 21st, 2005 05:40 am (UTC)
Awesome! I can't wait to see it! If I do a good job dyeing mine, I could even dye yours as well. ^_^
necessary evilmeanjunglist on April 22nd, 2005 01:57 am (UTC)
That'd be awesome!