Build Your Own CAP for the Knighthawk Armoury swords - superb Medieval style latex-foam LARP weaponry!

  Build Your Own Thrusting Tip / Sword CAP / Squishy Tip  

So...what is the Mystical process? Here it is, in all of it's secret glory....

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!   :)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Ensure the block is squared before you proceed.

  4. 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.

    1. 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:

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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...

    5. 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 CAP!

    6. 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 melee.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 have created.

    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:
  1. 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.

  2. Put the CAP back onto the sword tip. Pull it on tightly until the fit is as good as possible.

  3. 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 covered.

  4. 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 needle-nosed pliers, 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.

  5. 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 damage.

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!

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