Howto: make a fearsome prop battle-axe

The October issue of Make is focused on making props and costume armor (natch!) and on the website, master propmaker Shawn Thorsson shares an elaborate and fearsome set of instructions for making your own gigantic, embossed battle-axe.

The core of the axe is made out of MDF, drilled out (to reduce weight) and then skinned with plastic and painted. Thorsson works in all kinds of gracenotes (I love the cool grip!) but stops short of telling you how to paint the thing — that's in the print edition.

If your workshop is stocked with anything, at the very least you probably have some combination of flat stock. By stacking multiple layers of flat materials, often in different thicknesses, you can make all manner of things. It's only a matter of identifying the different layers needed and getting started.

Caution: In this tutorial we'll be using medium-density fiberboard, or MDF. The adhesive used to bind MDF together contains formaldehyde and all sorts of other carcinogenic compounds. Wear a respirator and work in a well-ventilated area.

Now, for an example of how this process can be applied to something rather impressive, take a look at the as-yet-unnamed warrior woman in Figure 1-14 above.

To give her weapon the right sense of thickness, the blade will be made out of two layers of ¾" (about 19mm) MDF. The whole process begins with drawing out the profile of half of the double-headed blade onto a piece of MDF, as shown in Figure 1-15.

Construct a Fearsome Battle Axe Prop from MDF and PVC