Seventh Kingdom IGE supports a boffer weapon system which involves padded weaponry, including both latex padded weapons and less expensive classic homemade weaponry made from PVC and pipe foam. The guide herein will discuss and describe the benefits of the “classic boffer weapon” and how best to build them.
For weapon size restrictions, safety requirements, and details about the inspection process, please visit our rulebook here. Not everything is covered in the tutorial.While building ANY weapons, remember this classic motto: “If you don’t want to get hit with it, don’t swing with it.”
Often found at your local hardware store, the following items are relatively inexpensive, and the average weapon can easily be made for roughly $15.00.
-Duct tape (Silver for “metal” weapons, or brown for “wood”)
-Pipe foam (5/8” best fits ¾” pipe. Any smaller and it will hurt)
-3/4” PVC pipe (½” can be used only for small weapons to a max of 40 inches)
-Open cell foam (Couch cushions work fine)
-Spray adhesive (Attaches pipe foam to pipe)
Tools/ Optional Materials: (Used for advanced projects)
-Saw or pipe cutter
-Electrical tape or sport grip tape (used on handle)
-Measuring tape and marker
-Box cutter/knife/scissors/electric turkey cutter (used for cutting foam)
-Other colors of duct tape (green, black, red, etc.)
-Heat torch (warms pipe so it can be bent)
1) Determine the length of your weapon based upon which weapon you would like to use. You can find a link to the weapon lengths here.
2) Constructing your weapon:
2a.) Measuring and cutting the pipe: First and foremost, decide which weapon you are going to make and subtract 4-6 inches from the overall length to compensate for the foam padding on the butt and tip of the weapon. Here is a diagram if this seems confusing:
For the rest of the guide, we will be using a great sword (48”-60”) as an example in the pictures. As you can see here, the pipe is being marked at 50” where it will be cut. By the time it is done however, it should be anywhere between 4-6 inches longer due to foam padding.
Next, it is important to tape the pipe edges as seen in the photo to the left. This keeps the pipe from cutting through the foam and therefore greatly increases the life expectancy of the weapon. However, if you put too much tape on, it may be difficult to slide the pipe foam on later, so no more than two pieces should ever be used.
Please note, no weights or metal pieces should be used in the construction of your weapon.
2b.) Attaching the foam: In this second step you’re going to want to mark where the handle should be, keeping in mind that it should be at least 2 inches up from the butt of the weapon. This is because the butt of the weapon must be padded.
Next, measure out and cut the proper length of pipe foam needed to cover the pipe from the top of the handle to past the tip by at least, but no more then, an inch. Remember of course that you shouldn’t put foam on the handle, unless you are making a staff*.
* Quarter Staff, Staff, Polearm, Poleaxe, and Pole Hammer weapons must have Pipe Foam covering the entire length of the weapon. This is a safety precaution added as the entire length of these types of weapons can be used in combat.
You also will need (as mentioned before) a piece of foam for the butt of the sword, and you should cut that out now as well. It should also overhang off the pipe much like the first piece cut.
In the event that one piece of pipe foam doesn’t cover the entire pipe, you will want to use another piece to cover the rest. However, the seam should be placed as far away from the striking zone as possible. Here is an example:
After the foam is cut, spray the pipe (minus where the handle is) with adhesive glue, and this keeps the pipe foam from slipping off during combat. Quickly slide the foam down the pipe before the glue dries, and make sure to keep it in place while it dries. Lightly crimping the foam on the pipe will also help to make sure the glue binds to the foam tightly.
Additional Notes: In the event that you are making a long sword or two hander, and the foam is very tight on the pipe, you may find spray adhesive unnecessary. When in doubt, err to the side of caution and ensure the foam is sturdily attached to the pipe.
2c.) Attaching the open cell foam: Arguably the hardest step, here we will attach the open cell foam safety tip and butt to the weapon. First, take the couch foam and cut out two blocks, 2 inch in length for the soft safety tips.
However, before we attach them take some of the scrap couch foam and fill the 1 inch gap on the top and bottom of the weapon as seen below, and secure it with a piece of tape.
Now, taking your tape cut 2 strips that can fit over the tip with out squishing it. Tape the tip on, watching for bulging, and then apply another piece, but horizontally around those to secure them in place. (picture below, on the left)
Finally, we will apply another piece of tape horizontally, leaving about ½ inch extended over the top of the weapon (picture above, on the right). Now, using a knife cut the extended tape and fold it over so that it covers the top (pictures below).
You can follow the same procedure for the pommel. It is also possible to make the open cell foam tips softer by cutting very small slits along the grain in the duct tape so that air can escape easily when the foam is compressed.
2d.) Applying the duct tape: In the last step, we will cover the rest of the weapon with tape to protect the foam and make the weapon one consistent color. Now take the weapon and a roll of tape to a flat surface and unroll a single piece of tape the length of the untapped blade, plus enough to extend over a little the bottom of the foam hilt. While attaching it to the weapon make sure to keep it wrinkle and bubble free as well.
Continue this step until you cover the entire striking zone. (It usually takes 4-5 pieces with the standard 2″ width tape, and once again repeat for the pommel.)
2e.) Testing the Weapon: By this point, the entire weapon should be covered with tape, and ready for battle. However, it should be soft and the striking surface should be entirely covered by foam and tape. To make sure it’s safe however, you might want to hit yourself or a consenting friend a few times, and remember, “If you don’t want to get hit with it, don’t swing with it.”
3.) The Handle: Wrap the handle with grip tape, or electrical tape. Since this is a not a striking surface, no padding is required.
Additional Safety Notes & Restrictions:
All weapons are subject to inspection, and safety checks at the start of the game, including during the game when ever a staff member deems it necessary. In the event a weapon is deemed unsafe, it will not be permitted to enter play for the remainder of the event, unless it is fixed and deemed safe by a staff member. In addition, players will be issued dated seasonal colored bands from a staff member during sign-ins that validate weapon safety. You will also receive and item tag that includes the weapon’s in-game information.
You can find additional safety requirements, size requirements, and various notes in our online rule book, by clicking this link.
(ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2009 SEVENTH KINGDOM IGE / PROJECT OMEGA LLC)
Updated July 28th 2018