How To Section > Sword Tutorial> Teen Boffer Division (Ages 13-15)

Swords : Teen Boffer Division (Ages 13-15)
  1. Schedule 40 PVC is considered the standard base material for boffer construction. The Marshalate will consider other equivalent materials for construction (such as CPVC, Schedule 80 PVC, or Siloflex) on a case by case basis. The standard non-thrusting type weapon must consist of:
    1. 1/2 inch I.D. PVC (schedule 40) minimum or two golf tubes one inside the other.
    2. Both ends of PVC must be capped; ends of the golf tubes must be fiber-taped closed.
    3. Two layers of fiber-reinforced strapping tape.
    4. 1/2 inch closed cell foam, minimum, extending the striking length of the boffer to 1 1/2 inches past tip of PVC or golf tubes.
    5. Minimum one layer duct tape wrapped loosely.
  2. All single-handed thrusting weapons must consist of the above listed construction plus:
    1. Thrusting tip Consisting of closed cell foam and tape, loosely wrapped, a minimum 2 1/2 inches in diameter and extending 4 inches past PVC or golf tubes. Tip should be sturdy enough to not completely fold over upon impact.
  3. All thrusting weapons must be disassembled and inspected for structural damage once a year.
  4. Basket hilts or the use of gauntlets are required.
  5. Lanyards are required on single-handed weapons.
  6. Construction of two-handed weapons shall follow single handed weapon guidelines with the exception of 1" PVC (Schedule 40) used for base material.
  7. All two-handed, thrusting weapons must consist of: thrusting tip leather or rubber, covering the last 12 inches of the PVC on the thrusting end. Foam and tape to be a minimum 2 and 1/2 inch in diameter and extend 3 inches past PVC. Striking tip shall also include one half split tennis ball end or equivalent over foam on end.
  8. Two-handed thrusting weapons require inspection for wear and cracks immediately before each use.
    1. Size limits on two-handed weapons:
    2. Spear 8
    3. Axe 5
    4. Glaive 6
    5. Great sword 6 no more than 18" haft.
  • 1/2 Schedule 40 PVC Pipe
  • 2 - 1/2 inch PVC End Caps
  • 1/2 inch and 1 inch tubular foam padding (used for water heater pipe insulation)
  • Duct tape (silver and another color - red)
  • Fiberglass strapping tape
  • Blue foam camping pad
  • Leather thong or strong cord.
  • A pair of scissors or hobby knife.
  • PVC Pipe cutter OR a hack saw.
  • A small hammer.
  • PVC Pipe cement (optional).
  • Power Drill with a 5/32 OR 9/64 bit.
Step 1 - Cutting the sword
We begin by trimming the PVC pipe to an appropriate size for the combatant. Unlike golf tubes, PVC is a thick, sturdy material that requires either a hack-saw or PVC Pipe cutters to cut through. A good size for the sword (including the grip and pommel) is the length of the combatants inseam (from ground to groin). Make sure that the edges of the trimmed PVC are free of any burrs or sharp points.
Step 2 - Closing the ends
If you wish to glue the end caps on the PVC, now is the time to do it. Swipe the brush on the inside of the cement lid around the inside of the PVC caps. Place the cement coated caps and, witha 1/4 turn, twist them onto the ends of the pipe, as this will evenly distribute the cement onto the pipe itself and create an excellent bond. Tap the caps firmly into place gently with a hammer, just to make sure they are on good. After the caps are installed, take two lengths of strapping tape and place them along the length of the blade, smoothing them into place. If for some reason the blade were to break or crack, the strapping take with keep the blade together - much like the protective coatings that car windshields have.
Step 3 - Trimming the blade
Its now time to trim the foam pipe insulation to fit the sword. Remember, you must allow for 1 1/2 inches past the end of the PVC when measuring this. If a thrusting tip is desired, you must allocate 4 inches. Place the insulation on the pipe, but do not attach it yet. The two style of hilts shown in this tutorial are the basket hilt and the standard cross hilt. Neither are required for this age group. To determine the area to trim away, measure the length of the combatants hand (holding the grip), and add 2 1/2 inches. Making sure of the tip length, trim the insulation away from the area that the grip, pommel and hilt will occupy.
Step 4 - Attaching the blade
Now, with the insulation still on the PVC, one by one, peel away the protective clear plastic strips covering the adhesive down the split of the insulation. Carefully place the two sides together and let the sticky adhesive do its work. Carefully work your way down the entire length of the blade. Now take the 1 inch foam insulation and (after opening it lengthwise) wrap it around the foam already on the blade (this will give you 2 layers of foam and meet the 1/2 inch of foam requirement), and trim it to the same size as the existing foam. When you are finished, cut some peices of the blue camping pad in small circles the same diameter as the PVC (3 or 4 will work fine). Place these into the open end of the insulation at the blades tip, but be careful not to pack them in tightly. When the tip is covered with tape, this will provide extra protection for the combatants from the swords tip.
Step 5 - Finishing the blade
Its now time to cover the blade and secure the foam insulation to the PVC. Although its a tight fit already, one can never be too careful. Take a short length of duct tape (about 6 inches), and wrap it fairly tightly around the end of the foam insulation near the grip of the sword as shown. This will secure the foam to the tube and prevent slippage. Next, cut 3 strips of tape about 9 inches long each, and then cut them in half lengthwise (making 6 thin strips of tape). Place these in a criss-crossing star patterm over the end of the sword tip, making sure not to make them too tight. The tape should cover the foam, but still allow it to be flexible. After completing the tip, cut lengths of tape the length of the blade as shown (5 will be fine). Place them lengthwise along the blade slightly overlapping each other, and remember to keep them loosely placed (no need to stretch it over the foam). The object here is to cover the blade with a single layer of tape to protect the foam insulation from cuts and tears.
Step 6 - The hilt and lanyard
Its now time for the combatant to decide if a hilt is desired. Hilts can be a point of decoration and make the sword look cool. If a hilt is not included, then full gauntlets must be used for hand and finger protection. The two styles described here are the basket hilt and the standard cross hilt (both commonly used by the heavy fighters). Both hilts are made from trimmed peices of a blue camping pad (affectionaly known as smurf skin). Trim the peices according to the pattern, tape them together as shown and secure them to the sword with duct tape. To add a decorative flair and really make the sword look cool, use different colored duct tape to make the grip brown, and the hilt and pommel gold (but silver is fine too). The lanyard is made from the cord or leather thong. Drill a small hole through the PVC at the base of the grip as shown (or through the end cap). Run the lanyard through it and tie it into a knot, leaving a large loop for the combatant to place their hand through.
Step 7 - The cutting edge
All swords have two distinct areas of the blade, the flat side, and the edge. For added realism, and to encourage proper sword use, the cutting edge of the blade is marked with a different colored tape (black or red) to indicate the edge. This is not neccessary in this age group due to the combat regulations (touch only), but it is encouraged to help the combatant realize the edge's importance (in the older age groups). Cut a single length of duct tape (different color than the blade of course) and cut it lengthwise. For a cut like this, its actually easier to tear the tape. Place the strip of tape on each side of the blade as shown to mark the blades edge.
Step 8 - The test
The combatant should take their newly fashioned weapon, and check themselves out in the mirror (everyone else does - even us grownups ...)