Wooden Broadsword (Broad-Knife or Dao1)
by: Al Duncan
Make a pattern from stiff paper by tracing around a commercially made wooden broadsword. After using this pattern to trace the shape onto a piece of 1/2 inch thick spruce, I cut out the blade using an electric jigsaw. The only modification made to the original design is the guard, a circular guard is difficult to make and attach to the blade, usually it becomes loose or cracks in half after a time.
Glue 2 pieces of 1/4 inch wood to the sides of the 1/2 inch blade (trace out the shape of the handle onto the 1/4 inch wood and cut out with a jigsaw). This gives the proper thickness to the broadsword handle, but to keep it from slipping out of your hand glue on 2 more 1/4 inch thick by 1-1/2 inch wide pieces of wood which are tapered ( see photo above-left) with a wood file and flexible sanding disk.
The overall length of the broadsword I make is 32 and 3/4 inches, the handle is 6 and 7/8 inches long and flares out to 2-1/4 inches wide by 1-1/2 inches thick to form the "guard". To obtain the proper weight distribution, a bolt is inserted into the butt end and the blade is tapered toward the tip (starting approximately 14 inches from the tip) so that the blade is only 1/4 inch thick at the end. I also slightly tapered the blade toward the cutting edge (starting about 17 inches from the tip). This puts the balance point 22 inches from the tip or 3-3/4 inches in front of the handle.