Questions about Prop Making and Easel

I am starting research and preparations to try my hand at “prop making” and I am looking for feedback and recommendation. This is from one of my favorite games. I am going to mill out the basic shapes twice. I will then sand and chisel the details into it. If it is not obvious, it is the Oblivion iron dagger. I will be using these images as reference, the second is is not the original model, but it has more detail.

I have 2 ideas on how I can do it.

Idea 1: Mill everything out twice as one whole object, line it up and glue it together and do the detail work.

Idea 2: Mill everything out twice as two sides of separate objects, with the blade serving as the core of the prop. I would glue the individual parts together, do the detail, then assemble the parts.

To make the blade, cross guard, and pommel, I will take some techniques from Adam Savage and use aluminum plumbing tape. You rough it with steel wool and/or a steel brush. You then brush on black /dark gray paint and wipe it off with a rag to weather it.

For the base material, I was either going to use MDF, LDF (If I can find any), or Pine. Which would you recommend? What would be a good Feedrate, DOC, and Dewalt Speed for the High Speed Steel 2 Flute Upcut Spiral that you buy with your X-Carve?

If I use pine, since wood thicknesses are not exactly what is listed, how can I have easel scale depths so they maintain the same ratio as if it was exactly 1/2" thick. For my first prop “replica”, exact measurements are not as important as the experience. If I were to use a fiberboard, which you can get in “exact-ish” thickness, how could I do wood grain for the hilt?

Thank you for all your help.

Ryan Cannon

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I think I like the idea of your second method more than the first, if just for the strength of the single piece through the middle.

When I first saw the pics of what you are going for my imitate thought was about a video that Adam Savage just recently uploaded for Tested…

That might trigger a few ideas.


Thank you for that video, I saw it in my subscriptions, but forgot to watch it.

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Thanks alot, now I got stuck watching Adam Savage videos for the last two hours. :smile:



This is a great starter prop project and I’m glad to see this category thriving. If I was making this prop, I’d use a material that didn’t have any directional properties, like MDF. If you use something that has grain, you might run the risk of having the wood grain taper to nothing on the surface, making a splinter/crack start.

I would actually draw up the entire blade and handle and cut out two separate halves, making the blade 1/4" thick by carving 1/8" halves. The handle would be considerably thicker. I would also route a groove on the inside flat surface to embed a metal rod with epoxy or something to give it strength. Cut out both halves, install the rod, then glue the halves together. Sand and do all the detail carving, distress, etc. Then I would use penetrating epoxy to turn the entire thing into a brown piece of plastic. Sand, then paint and weather.

Regardless of the method you use, please post a build blog with lots of pics, feed rates, materials, what you did right and especially what you may want to do differently next time :sunglasses:


After a little more thought, the perfect rod is the fiberglass rods they sell at the home centers that usually have those reflectors on them that people spike on each side of their driveways when there’s a culvert underneath that you don’t want to drive into. I’ve used them to add draw weight to PVC bows. This might necessitate making the blade 3/8" thick with 3/16" halves.

Fiberglass is yucky to cut, so wear dust mast, safety glasses and gloves. If you get any dust on you, wash with COLD water so you don’t open up the pores of your skin, which allows the fibers to wiggle in and itch A LOT more…

How is a penetrating epoxy different from a normal epoxy. The only epoxy resin I currently have is ArtResin.

Epoxy resin has a consistency of syrup. Penetrating epoxy is almost like water. It’s designed to soak deep into wood fibers to stabilize rot using capillary action. Regular epoxy would soak in a bit but is mostly a coating. When used on something porous like MDF, it will soak in deep and when cured, become a solid piece of plastic.

Huh. Never heard of it. I’m familiar with almost only marine industry products, except for retail woodworking store products. A quick Google search makes it sound like much the same thing.