This is Ben. I'm blogging here because I just posted on my own blog this morning and I didn't want to do another one there so soon.
I remember when I was a kid, my dad cut out some swords for me and Joe out of plywood. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever to have my own sword. I tried to give my kids the 21st century version of that awhile back when i made them PVC water weenie swords. They loved them and have used them for months.
As I was thinking about how cool it was when my dad made us swords, I remembered that he made us wooden shields too. So I figured I would try to give my kids the update to that too. Val has been excited for me to show her how to use some of my tools so I thought this would be a good project to teacher with too.
The main thing I remember about the wooden shields is that the edges were sharp. I spent most of my time trying not to get hit by Joe's shield rather than his sword. Keep that in mind and I'll show you my solution.
First thing, I sketched some possible shapes and had the kids pick which one they wanted. Then I cut out templates out of poster board and drew the shapes onto some scrap 3/8" plywood left over from redoing the bathroom floor.
Then I taught Val how to use my jigsaw to cut out all the shapes. She did really good although it became clear that my work bench is the perfect height for me, but a few inches too tall for her.
Once the shapes were cut out, I cut up one of my old belts and screwed the leather onto the back for the handles. I measured each kid to insure a custom fit. Then I painted the fronts with spraypaint and, to add a bit of flair, I cut out some stencils with their initial and sprayed it in gold on each one.
Now it was time to add the edge protection. For this, I used some water weenies. I cut a slit all the way down one side. Then i ran some hot glue down the edge of the shield and slid it into the slit till it hit the far end of the inner hole.
A few quick trims to match the corners, and It's done! These water weenies cut so easily with a sharp blade!
The kids went at it right away.
They seemed to be having trouble with the coordination of the whole sword/shield thing. I chalked it up to simple, youthful, lack of coordination. That is until CJ commented that it's too hard to swing her sword with her left hand (because the shield was on the right).
I made them for the wrong arm!
Luckily The straps are screwed on, so with some quick adjustments they will be proper-handed.
I hope my kids look back on this years from now and give their kids the update on it - with lasers and nanoparticles and stuff.
Now if I can only come up with an update to the helmets Dad made us out of empty 3 gallon Baskin Robbins ice cream tubs.