Counterweighting a Sword

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There are three basic methods to counterweight Belegarth weapons depending on where the counterweight is placed, and a variety of possible materials.


Pommel Counterweighting

One method of counterweighting is to add weight to the pommel. This puts the weight as far away from the tip as possible, and is thus the most effective method per ounce of added weight of lowering the balance point. Downsides compared to other methods include aesthetic issues (counterweighted pommels can easily become large and ugly), durability, and relative complexity of construction. For a relatively small degree of counterweighting, simply incorporating a large amount of tape while constructing the pommel can help. For more dramatic counterweighting, pennies, tungsten fishing weights, or other dense weights can be built into the inner layer of the pommel. A method of using pennies for pommel counterweighting follows.

Originally taken from Eriador's construction site.

The simplest counterweighting for blue swords is done with pennies. Getting a roll of pennies from a bank will make building a counterweight much easier.

Materials Needed

  • A roll of pennies


Handle Counterweighting

Another method of counterweighting weapons is to place weight on the handle. This has the added effect of increasing the diameter of a weapon's handle and is easier to construct and less likely to be ugly than pommel counterweighting. However, since the weight is slightly higher on the blade, it takes somewhat more added weight to the weapon than pommel counterweighting to bring the balance down to the same point. The most common method for (extensive) handle counterweighting is to wrap wire around the handle. Lead weights of various types can also be used, as can pennies. Directions for wire wrapping a handle follow.

Materials Needed

  • Steel Wire

After constructing your weapon and pommel but before finishing the handle, wrap the weapon core with wire. The wire can then be covered with rope or Cloth Tape as desired.

Core Counterweighting

Core counterweighting is a method where a weight is added inside the handle (and pommel) of a weapon with a hollow core material, such as PVC or bandpoles. Core counterweighting has essentially no effect on the appearance of the weapon and is a relatively easy way to add a significant amount of low-centered counterweight to certain cores. However, there is usually much less control over exactly how much weight to add without sawing a large diameter metal bolt to a custom length or employing more uncommon methods. By far the easiest and most common material used for this method is a carriage bolt - a long, large diameter hex-head bolt where part of the shaft is commonly unthreaded.

Materials Needed

1) Select a carriage bolt which will just fit into your core material, but does not need to be forced. Choose a length that will provide the amount of weight desired.
2) Wrap the entire length of the shaft of the carriage bolt in cloth tape until it can just be forced into the core with effort and pound it in. The cloth tape will keep the bolt secure and will prevent it from vibrating and damaging the interior of the core.
3) Cut three 5-6" long strips of strapping tape. Tape them each down the core, across one axis of the head of the bolt, and up the other side. Then wrap those strips in loops of tape to help secure it to the core. The strapping tape will provide a safeguard against the bolt working loose, or moving excessively and destroying the inside of the pommel.
4) Construct the pommel as normal.

See Also

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