So...what is the Mystical process? Here it is, in all of it's secret
First you will need to gather one teaspoon of Wolfsbane,
two Eyes of Newt, and three bat wings...
OK, so maybe that's not exactly necessary to make one of these CAPs,
but it sure would add to the atmosphere!   :)
- Get a one-foot square of 2 inch thick, two pound,
PES polyurethane foam. Do NOT use polyethylene foam
because it sheds.
The identifier for this foam from Guardian
Packaging (my source) is: PES 9009 2# PCF Polyester.
- Use a Ginsu or an electric knife to cut the block
of foam from which the CAP will be made. I like a 6" long x
3" wide x 2" thick block of foam as my starting point.
- Ensure the block is squared before you proceed.
- Start the process of extracting material from the
center of the block so the sword blade can slip in.
The goal is to excavate to a depth of about 4".
Note that the width and height of the hole you
create in the foam should be somewhat less than
the width and heigth of the blade to be inserted.
- Get an awl, or in my case, a 1/2" diameter
triangular rasp with a 2" pointed handle at one end. I
started off using the pointed handle of the rasp to
poke holes into the base of the material that will
become my CAP in the basic shape that I
wanted to extract. Like this:
- The width of the pattern should be about an inch and
a half, and the heigth should be about one-half an inch.
The pattern displayed is correct.
- Use a pair of sharp scissors. Stick one blade into one
of the punched holes, and snip your way down until
you've gone as deep as possible and have created a
slice into the foam. A small serrated knife, or a VERY
sharp knife, could accomplish this with less effort
but with more chance of error.
- Continue slicing your way down and around the
perimeter of the pattern until you've sliced your way
completly around it. Remove the scissors. Use
your fingers, reach down into the crevasse and pull
out the material to be removed. Some muscle will be
required. You can also use a set of needle-nosed pliers,
but BE CAREFUL if you do as it is easy to over-extract
the interior material when you use pliers.
The excavation will not be pristine in shape, which
is perfectly fine. All imperfections will vanish
once the CAP is placed onto the tip of the sword.
Speaking of which...
- TEST the opening by applying it to the sword tip
to ensure the fit is correct.
To apply the CAP to the sword, place the sword
between your legs and lock the blade in place
with your legs. DO NOT put the pommel on the ground
and push the CAP onto the sword; it's not a real
pommel and you could damage it.
Hold either side of the CAP and GENTLY but firmly
wiggle the CAP onto the blade tip SLOWLY! It should
be moderately difficult to wiggle the CAP onto the
blade because the fit is snug.
BE CAREFUL not to rip the
- If the fit is too tight or the depth of the excavation is
less than 4 inches, then repeat steps 4A until these
criteria are met.
Remember that the excavation does
not need to be precise, you just want a good, solid
depth so the CAP will not slip off during use in
- TEST the fit of the CAP. You should have to pull
the CAP over the blade almost like surgical gloves: bunch up
the open end, push the CAP onto the tip, grab the
sides of the CAP and SLOWLY wiggle it down onto the blade.
You should have a nice, tight fit.
Refer to step 4E above.
- Remove the CAP and shape the exterior as you deem
appropriate. I recommend that the end product have
rounded corners and a rounded endcap, like the one I
The easiest way to shape the exterior of the foam block
is to use a bench grinder with a FINE stone. Hold the block of foam
firmly to prevent the grinder from grabbing the material.
If you do not have access to a bench grinder, then
use scissors to initially shape the CAP. Make
SURE your scissors are sharp - the sharper the better.
When you've done as much damage as possible with the
scissors, use a sheet of 80 grit sandpaper to finish
shaping the exterior of the CAP to your specifications.
Pull the CAP against the flat sheet of sandpaper to
round the corners and smooth out the scissor cuts.
At this point you are done - you've created a CAP for the tip of your
sword and you can use it as is.
However, if you want additional security for the CAP then you can
use a single piece
of double-sided carpet tape to adhere the CAP to the blade.
The steps to do this are as follows:
- First, you want to line the inside of the hole in the
CAP so that when the double-sided tape is applied to
the CAP it will adhere to the lining and NOT to the
material of the CAP. Only line the side that
will be coming into contact with the double-sided
carpet tape! You can use duct tape or strapping tape for this.
Note that once this lining has been
installed you cannot remove it without removing material
from the CAP itself.
- Put the CAP back onto the sword tip. Pull it on
tightly until the fit is as good as possible.
- Cut a 1" piece of double-sided carpet tape. Lift
the lined inner surface of the CAP off of the blade. A
thin ruler is good for this.
Place the carpet tape on the flat of the blade so that
it lies completely UNDER the CAP.
The goal is for the tape to be completely
covered by the CAP so the tape does not show.
When you are done, the carpet tape will be adhered to the
sword but the other side, the side that will
be in contact with the CAP, still has its adhesive
This part is a little tricky: read through this paragraph
and understand what you are doing BEFORE you attempt it!
Holding the end of the CAP off of the tape using the same
thin metal ruler described above, and BEING REAL CAREFUL
not to cut into
the surface of the sword blade, remove
the plastic cover from the back side of the double-sided
carpet tape as follows:
Holding onto the adhesive cover using a pair of
start at the open end of the CAP and lift
the cover off of the carpet tape, pulling from the end nearest the
hilt towards the tip of the blade. Once the cover to the
adhesive has been removed, slide the ruler out of the CAP
and push the CAP onto the tape.
- Shazam! The CAP has been built, it is
adhered to the tip of the sword, and the weapon is
now ready for use. If you MUST put a cover on the CAP
then don't use duct tape; I'd recommend a cloth cover
be used - that's if you even WANT to put a cover over
your work or art! :)
I have tested this thoroughly and I found that if you
have not lined the inside of the CAP
then when you remove the CAP from the blade, you
remove a noticeable portion of the foam from the CAP. After
all, the foam was stuck to the tape, so some part of the
foam is expected to be removed.
The double-sided carpet tape should
be replaced each time the CAP is removed.
The carpet tape can be removed from the sword blade
without causing any damage IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF IF
you are CAREFUL and SLOW!!!!! Take your time and you
will NOT damage the sword. Rush this step and you'll
rip the latex right off of the blade.
Frankly, if you are using the CAP in combat I'd just leave
it on until you need to replace it - which should not be
for some time!
Oh, and I had my wife beat me about the head using the
CAPped sword: net result = no damage (though I might have
given her some bad ideas). Then I beat
myself with more force than she used; and again no
This is a good, viable
solution to the needs of those who require a CAP or a "squishy tip" on
their LARP weapons.
NOTE: Adding a cloth cover to the CAP will minimize the amount
of abrasion that will occur on the target and on the CAP.
The easiest way to implement such a cover would be to pull a
cotton sock over the CAP. A more elaborate and better looking
solution would be to create a customized slip cover using a thick
cotton material for the CAP, and adding a tight elastic band
around the base of the cover to secure it to the CAP.
If you come up with yet another viable alternative please let me know
about it and I'll share it with everyone!