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I Forge Iron

WIP - Ashandarei Costume Piece

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A friend of mine flagged me down a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would be willing to make him a custom piece for a costume he was putting together. 

His specific request was for Mat's Ashandarei from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. After much discussion (as the character is from a novel, and artists always fiddle with the design on book covers, cards, etc), we decided on a design and material and got started.

This isn't a "real" blade (not from lack of trying; he specifically wanted something that wouldn't hurt anyone and wanted to keep costs down), but I've learned a lot from making it.

It's not quite finished yet; I need to do some sanding by hand once I get more sandpaper in, and my friend needs to decide what finish he wants (as a mirror finish is probably going to take a lot of time).

The first three are forging WIP, the fourth and fifth are before and after the first pass of grinding, while the rest are the final round of grinding at 126 grit (I don't have anything better than that, and not sure if it'd be cost efficient to buy more).

Current time is about 5 hours. Three hours were spent hammering it out from a piece of 9x2x0.25" mild bar stock, and a fuller was added with a fullering tool from Yesteryear Forge (and emphasized with a 26 grit grinding wheel).

It currently measures 15" from tip to tip, 2" at the widest part, and 3/16" at the thickest. It's not quite accurate to the image, but the buyer seems to like it.


Things I've learned from this project: make deeper fullers, learn to work faster, battery power only goes so far, 20lb propane tanks only run so long, don't trust a gas station to fill a propane tank, and practice thickness symmetry (getting there, just not quite perfect yet).


I'll add more photos after I sand it and shine it up a bit. Until then, any input would be appreciated!












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  • 1 month later...

After about ten hours of work (seven of which was cleanup and sanding by hand), I finished the piece and mailed it out to the new, proud owner. Here are some of the final photos before it went out the door.

Three hours at the forge. Guillotine tool for the fuller. Minor profiling done with a 25 grit wheel on an angle grinder, with passes of a 36, 60, and 120 grit wheel for cleanup. Hand sanded up to 1200 grit. Given a liberal coating of 3-in-1 oil before being wrapped up and mailed.








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The guy who wanted it specifically wanted something that couldn't hurt someone, so he requested it be made from mild steel. It's also a combination of the different art styles and what cosplayers have made from cardboard, so I had some leeway but had a guideline to work with.

It was a learning project for me, that's for sure.

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Never been to any cosplay event but I think that's usually why they do use cardboard or foam. Almost anything "could" hurt anyone and I'd be surprised , even being mild and probably not sharp, that they would let him in one of those events with and metal, metal weapon. Just a thought from someone who was turned away from a ren fair wearing a SSO in a sheath.  Wouldn't peace tie it or anything just made me put it in my vehicle. Just a thought. I'm not against it :). Society just seems like they want it padded and overly safe. They even got on my case when I made a wooden pirate sword with an aluminum guard. I painted the wood silver so to them it looked too real :rolleyes: can't have much fun anymore. 

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Yeah, it is frustrating how the rules tend to get in the way. I'm shocked that you ran into that at a Faire; I'm let in at Faires without an issue with my rapier and main gauche, and kids are swinging wooden swords around all the time, so it's odd you'd have that with an SSO.

Fun note about some of the conventions I've attended: if you are entering the costume contest and have a metal prop, you can have it "checked" at the start of the event to be handed back to you when you are getting your costume judged and/or when you are on stage for the event in costume. Granted, some of their other rules have gotten ugly lately, so I'm hoping this rule doesn't change anytime soon.

As for hurting someone, it's sharp enough to cut; my hand is still healing from the nasty gash I got from it two weeks ago while sanding. He's been warned, so we'll see if he abides by it!

I also wonder if he just wanted something to look the part just because he's a fan. I'll never understand fanboys, but hey, he paid for the materials and chipped in for time, so who am I to argue?

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I made a nice customized SSO ( sword shaped object) for a friends birthday. it was at a bar. i intentionally left it very dull as it's a wall hanger. sure enough had it been sharp they would have run out of bandages for all the hands on it. our Ren Faire is kinda lame on stuff me thinks..

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I haven't been asked for an SSO yet, but friends are waiting for me to move and have a setup to make swords after seeing my first one. 

That sucks that your faire is lame like that. Which one did you attend? I haven't run into any issues at the PA (Manheim) or NJ faires yet.

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On November 18, 2015 at 11:37:32 AM, LibrariaNPC said:

I haven't been asked for an SSO yet, but friends are waiting for me to move and have a setup to make swords after seeing my first one. 

That sucks that your faire is lame like that. Which one did you attend? I haven't run into any issues at the PA (Manheim) or NJ faires yet.

greater Pittsburgh ren faire. 

Not that I wouldn't go, there is still fun to be had. 

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8 hours ago, LibrariaNPC said:

Huh. A few of my friends attend that one (unless there's another in the Pitt area), and I haven't heard that complaint. Odd.

The one close to mount pleasant, new Stanton? Last I was there maybe 2 years ago no swords allowed by non actors/employees. 

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