Now, I was only commissioned to make the blade, since she was going to do the details and painting, but she posted pics or her progress that I am happy to share (especially since I gave some suggestions that she ended up using). Anyway, here's a random awesome shot of the sword for reference:
I was able to find a really high quality image online rather than having to whip out Illustrator, and printed it out full size for this one. Here is where we find my first problem: what to make it out of. Originally, I was intending to start thick and carve down each piece as I thinned, so we got a ten foot piece of pine two inches thick. Unfortunately, the wood was TOO thick and started to do a number on my little bandsaw. Here is a shot after I gave up on this piece:
Rather than cut the grip out of the same piece, since the new board was a whole lot thinner, I did it with the blade on its own (with a bump at the top as a registration insert for the hilt). I got to try out a spoke shave for the first time, and man was it awesome! Took down the wood like a hot knife to butter. Here, though, is why the second attempt also failed: I got too excited and exuberant with the spoke shave, and took too much off. Can't see it in the pic, but while one side is shaped well, the other is flat and has no more that can be taken off.
So now we come to attempt number three. Blargh. I was feeling really bad. Really bad. Twice now I had wasted wood that wasn't even mine to waste. Wasn't allowed to give up, though, since it needed to get done, and ordering one from someone else wouldn't make it in time for what she needed it for. I cut another piece out and started with the spoke shave again, this time taking small amounts out. Very small.
And this time, it worked.
After nerve wracking minutes, here's the final verdict: