May 22, 2010
Time: 1-4 hours per weapon
Price: Less than $10
Mock combat is super fun. Boffer fights are great, because they are generally hilarious, are easy to make absurd, and don't bruise (or cost) as much as paintball.
Making swords and keyblades and quarterstaffs and pillows on sticks is straightforward - there are plenty of tutorials around the internet. They also have safety guidelines, because when you die in real life, you also die in game. Funny how stuff like that works.
As for materials, I used PVC pipe for the cores of all the weapons, pool noodles as padding, and duct tape to cover them up. For the decorations, I used random pieces of foam, colored duct tape and electrical tape.
I found that I didn't need any kind of dowel core in the PVC to keep it from being flimsy because the pool noodles were thick enough, and the core just made it heavy and unbalanced. I had previous bad luck with foam pipe insulation because it was too thin. The pool noodles work great, but you can only really buy them in the spring....
At the time, I was suffering through my first semester of quantum. To be the bane of all physics majors, I made Bra and Ket.
I also wanted a keyblade. It's been useful. The handle and the key part were cut from the foam that came from some kind of packaging.
And a lightsaber.
Adding the handles or crosspieces or axe blades adds a lot of time to making the boffers. But the possibilities are endless. The most terrifying weapon I've seen is the pillow on a stick my friend made - it was an ENTIRE foam mattress pad that was going to get thrown out wrapped around a PVC pipe and wrapped up in duct tape. It didn't hurt when it hit - it just knocked all the air out of you. I am personally a fan of more elegant weapons. From a more civilized age.