Before I begin on the tutorial I need to address some things.
First and foremost, HAVE FUN! Don't take anything too seriously. Laugh, it'll do you good.
This is a finishing technique. This is not a complete construction method. This technique is entirely focused on the finished appearance of an already safe and legal weapon.
If you can't yet build a good safe Dagorhir weapon, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY, yet.
Get together with some of your local vets and learn how to build reliable weapons.
DO NOT POST QUESTIONS LIKE THESE
I am sure many of you will pose a question like, "I can't get/afford Y, if I use X instead of Y can I still make Z?"
The answer from me will always be "I have no f***ing idea. I used Y and it worked. If you use X, who the f*** knows what will happen.
It might work the same, or your Great Uncle Louie might get eaten by a giant crab."
If you really want to know, experiment on your own. If it works or if it does not work talk about it.
And for God's sake, if any of your relatives are devoured by giant mutated sea creatures, always remember to have fresh batteries in that camera!
There will also, no doubt, be questions along these lines, "Wynar all you seem to make are axes, but I don't want an axe I want to make a sword.
Will this work on a sword?"
If something like this even enters your brain you need to get up and find someone who doesn't need to wear a hockey helmet all of the time and is still allowed to touch the baby and have them explain it to you.
Many out there will shudder at the cost of some of the materials, especially EVAlite.
You want a suck weapon, buy suck materials.
You want a nice weapon, buy nice materials.
It's one thing to be poor, and belive me I understand being broke, but nobody likes a cheapskate.
You don't have the money all at once, SAVE. You got a few friends, everybody chip in and buy then build as...I dunno...
Yes I know all about spellczek, and I take sikc delight in cranking the tractors of net trolls that point out errors
in the spelling and grammar of those they disagree with.
Some of you might not find the coarse brand of comedy I spew up amusing. To those of you out there I can only suggest that getting
information out of me is a lot like dumpster diving, you might very well find a Picasso, but you had to pick through a bunch of used condoms and fish heads to get to it.
Now on to what you are here for...
You will need to begin this oredeal:
At least one safe, legal Dagorhir weapon (hint: if you can't do this yet, you might want to practice a bit before tackling this)
Rulers/straight edges/french curves/compasses
paper and pencils
razor sharp knives appropriately sized to the project
fun foam of varying thicknesses
disposable chip brushes
paint for these I am using Liquitex Med viscosity acrylics
paint brushes also appropriately sized for the job
nope it ain't too good, how 'bout a quality spray varnish like Krylon cryastal clear or thinned down "through the roof" roof sealer
cloth for the cover
material for the handle in this case I'm using black garment cowhide
Sketch out all of the decorative fiddly bits you want to stick on your weapon.
Draw them on to the foam. I have been able to track down 2mm, 3mm, and 6mm funfoam.
This allows a great deal of flexability when working the depth of the designs.
This particular axe I was going for a kinda heraldric knighty good guy thingie. Mostly 'cause Athron was fussin' that good guys never have any sweet looking gear.
I used 3mm for the critter head and 2mm for everything else.
Cut out all of the little bits and pieces. Reece's Pieces are awesome. On most of the cuts I held the knife at an angle giving a nice bevel to the designs.
On this weapon there are multiple layers of decoration and I assembled as a first layer and a second layer
Brush a thin coat of dap over the entire weapon excluding the striking surfaces. Rtuing to do precision gluing with this doesn't work too well.
It is easy to miss a spot. Brush a thin layer of dap on the design cut outs. FOLLOW THE DAMN DIRECTIONS ON THE CAN. Let both surfaces get about as tacky as a postit note.
Also if the dap feels kinda cold, it ain't ready.
Once it is ready, slap on the first layer of stuff.
Do the same thing with the second and subsequent layers. You don't need to slop dap over the entire thing again. You can be a little more precise with the glue.
I find that the "rivets" and "nail heads" REALLY dress these things up. To do these guys, paint spots of dap onto the weapon where the rivets will be.
Take a scrap of funfoam and give it a thin coat of dap on one side. let them dry as you have with the rest.
Working with the dapped side UP press by hand the leather punch into the funfoam. The cut out circle usually stays in the punch tube. Shank it with a hobby knife.
Carefully place it on a glue spot and press it down.
Now it's time to move onto putting on covers.
Cut out a piece of cloth the lenght and width of the striking surface + 2-3 inches.
Center it on the striking surface and pin it straight on to the foam.
Pull the corners tight and pin them together.
Trim off the excessand you'll have a rectangle with the corners knocked off.
Sew 'em up. I typically run three lines of stitching over it to keep it from blowing out.
Put the sewn up cover on the blade INSIDE OUT.
Slap a coat of dap about 3/4" wide allong the edge of the cover. Be extra careful not to go to heavy with the dap at this point as it can bleed through the fabric and make it all icky looking.
CAREFULLY pull of the cover and set it aside to let it dry. Then put a coat of dap on the weapon where the edge of the cover will be.
Let em both dry to that postit note tackyness and put the cover on right side out.
Do this part really slow and careful like. If you pull your cover down too tight, when it comes to slappin' on the dip the whole cover can come loose if the dap bond is weakened enough.
Now for the hardest part...
Put it aside for at least two days to let the dap set up.
So I let the DAP cure for a couple of days.
Remember that patience is hugely important in working with plastidip.
The solvents in the PD will cause the dap seams to weaken and split open.
If you find that you need to bang out a couple of weapons before the next battle, and that next battle is tomorrow, do not use this method.
Before I go on with the how to, I need to give a couple of tips to working with pd.
Pd dries very quickly.
First to save money, those chip brushes cost all of $.80 but if you end up wasting ten of them building a couple of weapons, that's eight bucks in the trashcan.
In between coats of pd, I put the still wet brush in a plastic sandwich bag and wrap it on as tight as I can.
This keeps the brush useable for the length of the project. I also do the same when applying dap.
Second pd is pretty thick stuff, and if you put it on overthickly it can clump up and obscure some of the cool detail work.
To avoid this I slop the dip on and then using the tip of the brush I will quickly run the brush in four directions over the dip; up, down, right, and left.
That seems to pretty well keep it from pooling in low areas and around nail heads.
This must be done quickly though, 'cause like I said it dries fast and if you over brush it too much you will leave brushstrokes all over the thing.
From here on, and I only want to write this once:
LET THE PLASTIDIP DRY TO TOUCH-DRY BETWEEN EACH COAT
What is touch dry? If you touch it, you dont get a gloppy mess all over your hand.
Use some masking tape to protect the cloth cover and make a nice clean line between the pd and the cover.
Put the edge of the tape about where the dap holding the cover on ends.
That's about 1/2" to 3/4" away from the edge of the cover.
Start the applying the pd first around the high stress areas of the weapon.
Around the joint between the pommel and the handle, in the joint between an axe head and shaft.
This way plastidip can be used to add a bit of structural stability to these areas by increasing the pd thickness.
Typically on my weapons I will apply anywhere from 8 to 12 coats of pd to these areas.
Begin with a 3/4" band around the pommel joint.
Then go on to a 1 1/2" band.
Keep layering and increasing the area of coverage until you have coated about two thirds of the pommel/underside of axe blade.
Once you have done the high stress areas, slap a coat over the whole thing.
It will look awful and uneven when it is wet, especially on the first coat.
Don't worry, it self levels.
As soon as you are done applying the 1st coat, very carefully remove the tape from the cover. Pulling the tape off when the pd is wet is one hell of a lot easier than once it has dried. Trust me I know.
Apply a total of 3-4 complete coats of plastidip.
If you are not going to paint and clear dip it, give it one more coat.
The painting is pretty straight forward.
Slap paint on weapon.
Wood grain worked fantasticly on that mace I did earlier, so the notion of the wood grain peeking out of the haft decoration seemed cool.
I decided to put the Bavarian blue and white behind the lion head 'cause I think Bavaria is a cool place.
For the decorative "metal" work, old Colt bone charcoal blueing and gold complemented the Bavarian lion thingo pretty ok.
Finish it with one coat of
clear spray varnish.
Wrap up the handle any way you want. I chose to use some rough out pig lining leather.
Then you are all done!
And you have a fist full of awesome.
This technique probably ends up taking 4-5times longer to build and finish a weapon than does conventional methods. But what you end up with is something truly amazing looking.
I almost forgot.CAUTION!
Heat does really
bad things to plastidip covered weapons.
Leaving them in a hot car or sitting in direct sunlight will