Lockwood’s Rapier

Once again, it is Book Week at the school for Squid (who now informs me that she wants her alias to match her online handle of DeathKitty).

When I asked her what she wanted to go as, she expressed with great vehemence that she wasn’t going to dress up, dressing up was dumb!

So that was that.  Or so I thought.

Turns out (with three day’s notice), she wanted to cosplay instead.  As Lockwood, from Lockwood & Co. (this is a totally awesome series by the way, narrated by a young girl, written by one of my favourite writers for young people).

This required the construction of an extensive wardrobe including:

  • A suit
  • A trenchcoat
  • A wide leather belt
  • A rapier

All this was imparted to me on the Saturday before Book week.

I didn’t have a hope of making these things in time for the dress-up day – so it was off to Save Mart, which is a very useful place when one is trying to find specific clothing – although it was a little more crowded than I tend to enjoy.

We managed to find the first three items on the list to the satisfaction of DK, who walked away very satisfied by the fact that she had a perfectly fitting trenchcoat that also allowed her to cosplay as Castiel from Supernatural (her latest obsession – thankfully she’s possibly starting to move on Undertale).  But rapiers are somewhat harder to come by – and I imagine that the school would have looked upon us rather poorly had we sent her to school with a real sword.  So pondering began…

And thus begins my ode to tin/aluminium foil.

I found a piece of gardening bamboo with a rapierlike bend to it, cut it to about the length of DK’s arm and sanded the joints down so that they didn’t poke up and ruin the line of the rapier.

A piece of foil the length of the bamboo was then wrapped as tightly as I could around the bamboo. I did it by folding the foil in half with the bamboo inside, then rolling it up like a carpet, but pulling as tightly as I could the whole time to try and give it a smooth finish, and trying to fold the end to form a point (as I didn’t feel like sanding the bamboo to a point (I once tried to do that to make a stake for a Buffy costume, and it took me hours and I still didn’t have a point).

It wasn’t terribly smooth, so I tried rubbing it down with a cloth, to see if I could make the wrinkles flatten out.  I wasn’t terribly successful with this and DK started to worry that her rapier was going to look like a stick wrapped in tinfoil.  She was probably right to worry.

I was worried that the foil would also tear and come off, making the rapier even less awesome, so tried wrapping tape around the handle end and the tip to strengthen both parts and also see if it made it look less like a stick with tinfoil.

That wasn’t really that effective, and just made it look like it was made of tinfoil with tape around it.  Although it did make the tip a little stronger, which was a good thing.  I decided to come back to the blade problem once I had made the guard.

The guard was made from some holographic card that we had lying around.  Initially, I was going to make it about 12cm wide – but realised that this was WAY too wide and would look more like a sabre than a rapier, as rapiers typically have very fine metalwork for the guard.  Fine curliques etc were not going to be possible, so I went with a narrower guard (wide enough that the blade could go through the card, but only just.

To prevent the card tearing, I taped it across the ends before I made the holes.  The holes were really crosses cut into the card, so that when the blade was pushed through, I would have something to bind them together with.  Additionally, I decided to double the card to make it shiny on both sides and increase the strength.  After gluing the two strips together, I also taped them down each side and across the ends.

Once the blade was through the guard, it started to look a little more swordlike.  I didn’t have any dark brown leather or wool, which would have been preferable, but I found some light brown wool from an old attempt at making a 4th Doctor scarf.  I used this to bind the (rather small) protrusions from the guard to the blade, then kept going until the space between the distal and proximal ends of the guard were filled with at least two layers of wool.  I then also wound the wool around the guard at each end to hold the card and prevent it sliding down the blade or off the top.


DK was starting to look a little happier by this point.

I further improved her impression of the rapier by using 2cm wide strips of foil and wrapping them barber-pole-wise around the blade, to produce a much smoother finish.

It still didn’t look quite right though.  The guard was too sparkly.

I was, by this point, stumped.  So decided to go and raid the dress-up box.  Here I found a piece of gold ribbon with wire (that stuff they use for gift-wrapping and flower bouquets) which was a perfect length for wrapping around the guard.

I had to sew the ends in, using needle and thread, to stop it unwrapping, but the wool binding made that a really easy job.

And voila!




I fairly successful effort methinks!


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