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Building a Dagorhir Axe

These are detailed instructions for making one style of Dagorhir axe. There are many valid techniques for building Dagorhir weapons. Over time, youíll develop refinements and construction techniques that complement your fighting style.

The type of weapon shown here has proven very long-lasting and safe; nonetheless, Dagorhir weapons wear out with use and time. Continually check your weapon for safety, and repair or rebuild it as necessary.

If your first weapon doesnít come out perfect (or even acceptable) DONíT PANIC. You can always strip down the problem areas and rebuild it, learning from each attempt.

If you need to see more detail, click on a picture and it will enlarge.

Always follow all instructions on glues and use cutting tools safely.

Good Fighting!

DESIGN YOUR WEAPON
Draw what you want your weapon to look like. Include dimensions. Single-edged axes are recommended; if you build a Dagorhir axe with a double head, it will tend to "catch too much air" when you swing, making it hard to control. The axe shown here has a Dagorhir-legal "back edge"; it just doesnít stick out as far as the primary "blade".

GATHER MATERIALS
Foam Rubber:
    Camping Mat - dark blue from REI outfitters
    Dense but resilient foam for axe head and stabbing tip (marine foam is best)
Fiberglass or rattan core
latex glovesSpray Glue
    ALWAYS FOLLOW DIRECTIONS FOR USING SPRAY GLUE SAFELY.
    ALWAYS WEAR LAYTEX GLOVES WHEN USING GLUE OR HANDLING GLUE-COATED ITEMS.
Cloth - for wrapping blade and for cover
Cutting tools:
    hacksaw
    scissors
    LONG-bladed hobby/craft knife
    electric carving knife
Permanent marker
Yardstick - for measuring and as a straight edge
Lead weights or pennies - for counter-balancing weapon
Grip-tape - sold at sporting stores for wrapping hockey stick handles
Duct tape - ALWAYS!

MEASURE AND CUT CORE TO LENGTH
Remember that your finished weapon will be 3-5" longer than your core, because of padding on the tip (especially if you build it with a green thrusting tip) and pommel.

cutting foam MARK AND CUT FOAM FOR BLADE
You can cut your blade from a single piece of foam, or layer it out of smaller pieces glued together. Dense foam is best, especially since you want other players to feel your hits even through metal armor. Ideal thickness is 2".

HINT:
To help your blade stay attached to the core without shifting, CAREFULLY cut a triangular slit into the back of the foam. This slit should allow the core to be recessed no more than halfway into the foam.

cutting slit in foam cutting slit in foam

ATTACH BLADE TO CORE
Spray glue onto the blade portion of the core and to the back of the foam blade. Once the glue is dry, join the core to the blade edge starting at the top and working down toward the bottom.

Tape the blade to the core HEAVILY, using layers of duct tape at the back, top, and bottom edges. Use shorter layers first, then progressively longer, so that each layer is attached to the foam of the blade and not just to the duct tape layer below it.

taping foam to core tape tape
tape tape
tape tape tape

bevel blade edge BEVEL THE BLADE EDGE
Beveled edges makes your axe more aerodynamic and realistic-looking, and most importantly, makes the weapon "hit" more safely by providing "progressive resistance" upon impact. (A Dagorhir blade with a rectangular cross-section will tend to hit like a brick, whereas one with a diamond cross-section will generally be safer.)

PAD THE BACK EDGE OF THE BLADE.
Mark and cut a triangle or unequal pentangle of dense foam. Spray the back portion of the foam and the back of the haft/core with glue; let glue dry. Join the back edge to the haft/core, starting at the top and working down. Reinforce with duct tape as shown. Use shorter layers first, then progressively longer, so that each layer is attached to the foam of the blade and not just to the duct tape layer below it.

padding back of axe blade tape tape

BUILD THRUSTING TIP/SPIKE (optional)
Cut a circle of 1/2" camping-mat foam 2" in diameter. Glue this circle onto the top of your axe head, centered over your core. (SORRY, NO PICTURE.)

Cut a cylinder of dense open-cell foam 2" in diameter and 3" thick. Cut a strip of camping-mat long enough to wrap around the outside of the cylinder. Glue this strip around the cylinder.

cylinder for thrusting spike tape tape tape

Trace the wrapped cylinder onto camping-mat; cut out this circle and glue it on top of the tip. Bevel the top edges slightly (lessens the chance tip will tear off during combat). Glue the tip assembly onto the top of your axe. Secure the entire assembly with duct tape around the sides and in an "X" over the top. Be sure duct tape doesnít cover the entire top of the tip or it may become too stiff and wonít be safe.

building stabbing point attaching it attaching it attaching it

NOTE:  To make your thrusting tip less stiff, you can try using WIDE grip tape instead of duct tape.

PAD HAFT
Glue and tape camping-mat or other closed-cell foam around the core above the hand-grip. If your axe-haft needs more padding to be safe, add narrow (3/4" or 1") strips to the front and/or back of the haft until itís safe to hit someone with full-strength. Remember, even though hits from the axe-haft donít "count" as damage in Dagorhir, it still must be padded as safely as a swordblade. Cover the haft with grip-tape for strength and appearance.

attaching it attaching it attaching it

ATTACH OUTER COVER (Sorry, no pics yet.)
Measure and mark the cloth for the axeís outer cover. Cut the fabric, fold it over the blade, and pin it (not too tightly) where you need to sew the seams to turn the flat fabric into a wide "sock" to cover the blade. Sew the seam. Turn the cover inside-out (so that the seam you just sewed is on the inside). Pull the cover onto the blade. Tape or sew the cover in place -- whatever works best for the shape of the axe youíve chosen to make.

BUILD HANDLE
Counterweight to your taste and strength, by taping pennies or lead weights along the sides of the core near the bottom of the handle area. DSCN0088 Build up grip with foam/tape. Wrap with grip tape.

bare handle weighting and padding handle wrapping handle

ADD "COURTESY STRIP"
Make sure that the front edge of your hand-grip has AT LEAST a thin strip of foam taped to it. This "courtesy strip" helps prevent injury to other playerís knuckles should their hand accidentally collide with the handle of your axe in the heat of battle.

PAD POMMEL
Tape layers of foam over the end of your pommel until:
    - it is at least 2" in diameter;
    - it does not hurt if you smack your palm with it; and
    - it does not make a solid "thunk" if you drop the axe onto concrete.

bare handle weighting and padding handle

Cover the pommel with cloth or tape for appearance.