Making a Decorative Sword Mount

Making a Decorative Sword Mount

By Paul Bielaczyc

Want a nice way to properly display your Heron Mark Blade on the wall… and all the other swords in your collection? This step-by-step guide will show you how to make a magnetic sword mount using some basic products from your local hardware store… and a little bit of time, which most of us all have plenty of right now!

You’ll have to excuse some of the photos. Many of them were taken after the project was complete, not during the construction of my original project. And during these crazy times, I didn’t want to go to Home Depot to buy more.

Supplies:

Tools used:
Below is the list of tools that I used for this project. However, I will also list non-power tool alternatives in case you don’t have access to some of the ones I used.

  • Miter saw (alternative: miter box with hand saw)
  • Router (alternative: wood chisel)
  • Brad nail gun (hammer and brads)
  • Dremel with various bits (alternative: keyhole hangers)
  • Clamps (might not be necessary)
  • Sandpaper (200-300 grit)

Step 1: Cut and Mark the Trim Board

First board cut

First board cut

Cut the 1”x8” board down to 24”. I recommend cutting both edges, as the raw edge from the store can be very rough and almost impossible to sand. You will want both ends to have a nice, smooth surface for staining. I recommend cutting off a thin sliver of wood from one end, and then cut the other end at 24”. Use some sandpaper to clean up any splinters from the bottom edge of the wood (seen in the photo below).

Rough board, pre-sanding

Rough board, pre-sanding

Smooth board, after sanding

Smooth board, after sanding

Line up the molding.

Line up the molding.

 

 

 

 

 

Cut 1 piece of moulding at approximately 25 inches in length. Laying this along each edge of the poplar trim board, mark a line for the inside edge of the moulding. Using these 4 lines, position the magnetic holder on the board, and mark the areas that will need to be recessed in Step 3 so that the length of the magnetic bar will lay flush against the poplar.

After cutting, the Poplar should now be approximately 7.25” by 24”.

 

Step 2: Cut the Moulding
Using your miter saw or miter box, make the first 45-degree angle cut in the moulding.

First 45-degree angle cut in the molding

First 45-degree angle cut in the molding

Moulding profile

Moulding Profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After carefully measuring and marking based on the length and width of your 1”x 8” board, proceed to cut 45-degree angles in alternate directions, until you have 4 trapezoid-shaped pieces of moulding. Make sure the narrower edge for each piece of trim is along the same edge of the trim.  (After making all these cuts, you should be left with a bunch of small triangular scraps since the 45-degree angle cuts have to be alternated.)

Trapezoid-shaped pieces of moulding

Trapezoid-shaped pieces of moulding

Clean up any splinters and rough edges with some sandpaper, sanding in the direction of the grain (always!).
Even with a good miter saw, the 4 boards might not perfectly form a tight rectangle, but that’s okay, that’s why we have wood putty.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Mount the Magnetic Holder

Magnetic holder

Magnetic holder


Before we mount the angled trim from Step 2 to the board, we need to prep and mount the holder to the board. Take a strip of black electrical tape, and cover the ugly yellow tape that is on the magnetic holder. This way your swords and the trim are the focal point of the sword mount, not a gaudy yellow band.

Magnetic strip covered.

Magnetic strip covered.

Now we need to carve out the 2 recessed areas so the magnetic holder will mount flush to the board. I used a handheld Ryobi router, but not everyone has one of those available. A simple wood chisel set should suffice. Remember that it is okay if the recessed areas are larger or slightly deeper than necessary, that will be mostly covered up by the moulding anyway.

Start of routing out the magnetic holder.

Start of routing out the magnetic holder.

After you are done routing (or chiseling), position the magnetic holder on the board. Use a piece of trim cut in Step 2 to ensure that the tabs are countersunk such that they don’t prevent the moulding from sitting flush to the poplar. Also make sure that the magnetic holder isn’t crossing any of our marks from Step 1.

Once this is verified, mount the magnetic holder using 2 flat head screws.

And finally, one last time, take a piece of trim and ensure that the screws don’t prevent the top piece of moulding from resting flush against the board.

 

Step 4: Mount the Trim

Now that we have mounted the holder to the board, it is now time to mount our 4 angled trim boards. Using a liberal amount of wood glue, adhere the 4 boards in position on the 1”x8” Poplar. At this point, we are only using glue so that we can adjust and reposition the moulding to get the tightest joints possible.

Position the moulding with just glue.

Position the moulding with just glue.

Once we have the 4 pieces aligned as best as possible, carefully use your brad nailer (or old-school hammer) to tack each board in place. I suggest shooting a single brad closer to the end of one of the shorter boards. Make sure the boards are all still in alignment, and then shoot a second nail at the other end. If using the Moulding I suggested, aim for the little dots or any recessed line in the pattern to help hide the divots created by the brads.

Design elements for screw placement.

Design elements for screw placement.

Double check the alignment of the boards after securing the first piece of trim, and shoot the first brad into one of the adjacent longer trim boards. Check alignment, and shoot the second brad at the opposite end. Continue doing this for all 4 boards, making sure to check alignment at each step!! This helps ensure that you don’t get to the 4th corner to find all your boards are horribly out of whack!

Note: It is better to play with and align the 4 boards all at once like what is described up above, than to align each corner with a perfect snug fit individually. One way will get you 4 pretty good corner alignments. The other will get you 3 great alignments, and one pretty ugly one. Trust me, even with an awesome miter saw that can assist with those 45-degree angle cuts, they probably aren’t going to be perfect, and thus you won’t have a perfect alignment on all 4 corners.

 As you can see in this photo, I assumed my cuts were going to be perfect, and when I got to the 4th corner the gap was pretty obvious and required a good amount of wood putty to fill.

Alignment of corners.

Alignment of corners.

Step 5: Prep the surface

Now that the trim is mounted to the poplar, it is time to do any necessary clean-up to the raw wood before we can paint/stain.

  • First thing, clean up any wood glue along the seams that might have oozed out when the boards were nailed together. A damp paper towel works fine.
  • Second, if anything doesn’t look like a tight fit, you can use a variety of clamps to press the boards together snugly. If you do use clamps, you will probably need to wipe off any excess glue again. If if didn’t squeeze out before, once clamped, it will!
  • If you do need to clamp the boards together, set it aside for about 2-4 hours (read the instructions on your particular wood glue for working time).
  • The next step is to fill any voids using wood putty. Make sure your putty is stainable, not all wood putty is! I prefer to use wood based products found online instead of the DAP plastic wood options found at Home Depot. The smell and Prop 65 warnings are a little scary on plastic wood. Use the wood putty to fill in any gaps in the corner joints, or in any gaps between the trim and 1”x8” Poplar board.
  • Set the project aside depending on the working time for the particular putty product used. When it’s time, come back with some high grit sandpaper and clean up and smooth any areas that required putty. Also go ahead and sand the entire surface and sides that will be stained just to clean up any rough patches.

Step 6: Staining and Painting

Follow the directions on the stain, and apply the stain to the front and sides of the project. Try to avoid getting any stain on the magnetic holder, as it will leave a sticky residue on the metal.

Typically after applying stain, you will leave it on the surface for a few minutes and then wipe it down with a paper towel or rag. When wiping, try to wipe perpendicular to any grooves in the moulding (grooves highlighted in green). This technique will wipe more stain from the raised areas of the wood, while leaving more in the grooves, resulting in darker recesses.

More stain will remain in the recessed areas.

More stain will remain in the recessed areas.

After the stain is dry, use some inexpensive black, acrylic craft paint to paint any of the recessed areas near the magnet that are not stained. Unlike stain, if you accidentally get some acrylic paint on the magnet, acrylic paint will dry and can be easily scrapped off, instead of being a sticky mess!

Black paint to hide missed stained areas.

Black paint to hide missed stained areas.

 

After staining the sword mount, I like to leave the project in an out of a way place for a few days to allow the stain to off-gas and fully dry. A covered back porch or a basement both work well.

Step 7: Cutting a Keyhole Slot

We want our sword mount to be flush against the wall. First this looks very clean and professional, but a flush mount is also more secure as the mount is more solidly resting against the wall behind it.
There are a few options for making these keyhole slots:

  1. They make a keyhole router bit for routers and Dremels. This option is pretty self explanatory; follow the directions that come with the bit.
  2. You can use a drill, a Dremel, and a few more common Dremel bits to achieve the same effect. You will need a larger drill bit, a smaller drill bit, a Dremel cutter bit, and a Dremel straight router bit.
    Needed Dremel bits.

    Needed Dremel bits:

    • Drill a large hole with the larger drill bit.
    • Drill a second hole with the smaller drill bit approximately .5 inches above the larger hole.
    • Use the straight router bit to connect the 2 holes along their centers.
    • Finally, lower the cutter bit into the larger hole, and follow the same line as above. This will create a groove for the screw head to slide along.
  3. Lastly, if you don’t have access to a router or Dremel, you can use something like this piece of hardware to achieve the same effect using only a chisel (I think).

Step 8: Mounting to the Wall

Most likely you will not have wall studs directly behind where you cut the keyhole slots. Even if you space the 2 keyhole slots 16” apart, to center your sword mount, they probably will not align with hidden studs. But that is fine. That is why they make some truly incredible drywall anchors. These are my personal favorite. Rather than drilling a hole and tapping them into place, they are self drilling, and stop once they are flush with the surface of the wall.

Once you shoot the screws into the anchors, they split open and lock the anchor into place. You can also play with the depth of the screws in the anchor to ensure a nice snug fit between the wall and the sword mount. Some other types of drywall anchors don’t give you the flexibility to adjust the depth of the screws, another reason that I prefer these.

Step 9: Mount the Swords

Now it’s time to hang your collection on the wall.
A few things to keep in mind to avoid injury or a scary crash in the middle of the night.

  • If you used the recommended magnetic holder, it should have no problem holding the weight of most swords, allowing you some play in positioning them higher or lower on the mount.**
  • If you use a weaker magnet, the cross guards might have to rest on the upper lip of the wood. This can severely limit the space on the mount, which is why I suggest the holder that I listed up above.

**No matter what, this is IMPORTANT… you want to make sure that the weight of the portion of the sword above the magnet is about equal to the weight below it. If you attach the swords too high so that the swords are top heavy, a good door slam, or any vibration really, can cause the imbalanced sword to pivot like a pendulum with the magnet working like an axle. As it swings, it will most likely knock the others swords around, or off the wall, stabbing anything and everything around. I speak from personal experience. I had to patch a 2 inch gash in the drywall (and put on a clean pair underwear!) after hearing a frightening crash about 10 minutes after proudly hanging the swords on the wall.

Finished Sword mount

Finished Sword Mount

New Member Monday: Costume Contest

New Member Monday: Costume Contest

One of my favorite things about JordanCon is all the cosplay you see. And it is not just Wheel of Time cosplay. It is from all over the fantasy genre.

And trust me, cosplay does not go unappreciated at JordanCon, which is why we have an amazing costume contest every year.

The costume contest takes place on Saturday and is open to everyone (even kids). In this post, we are going to cover some basic information about the contest, but if you are considering entering you should review the full Costume Contest Rule Packet that can be found HERE. And for our veteran con-goers, even if you have participated in the costume contest in the past you should still check out the rules as some things have changed.

The first thing you need to decide is if you want to compete for Juried Awards or Judge’s Choice/Audience Choice.

Juried Awards: Juried Awards include Best in Show, Best in Class, and Best Workmanship. Each of these categories is divided into 3 classes:

    • .Novice– Anyone who has never won an award before.
    • Journeyman– Anyone who has won 2 or fewer best in class awards or no more than 1 best in show.
    • Master– Anyone who has won best in show more than once or Best in Class 3 or more times.

 There is mandatory pre-judging for the juried awards that take place at 4 pm on Saturday in the main program hall. Make sure you are on time for this.

Audience Choice:  The Audience Choice award is determined by audience applause and general rowdiness.

Judge’s Choice: The Judge’s Choice Award is left up to the discretion of each judge.

How to Enter: You will need to register for the costume contest on Saturday Morning between 11 am and 1 pm at the registration desk. This is the same place you picked up your badge.

Two important things to remember:

  • Registrations are first-come, first-serve
  • Only the first twenty (20) juried registrations will be accepted (so don’t dilly dally)

Awards: What is a contest without awards?! Kind of boring, that’s what. So, of course, our costume contest has awards. The following awards will be given at the end of the contest.

  • Best in Show– The best overall entrant from all classes. 
  • Best in Class– The best entrant from each class that is not also the Best in Show.
  • Best Workmanship– The entrant with the best workmanship who has not also won Best in Class or Show.
  • Judges Choice–  Each judge may choose to present an award to any contestant that does not also receive a Best of award. 
  • Audience Choice– This award will be chosen based on audience reaction.

The costume contest is one of the highlights of the Con. I encourage anyone who plans on cosplaying to participate. And if you aren’t cosplaying, come out and support these amazingly talented individuals.

New Member Monday: Saturday Night Dance Party

New Member Monday: Saturday Night Dance Party

How many of you like great music? How many of you like to dance? Well, the Saturday Night JordanCon Dance Party is for you! 

Every year, we have an awesome themed dance party that is DJ’d by none other than Mr. Paul Bielaczyc. If you don’t know who Paul is, by Saturday night you probably will. Paul is in charge of the Dealers Hall and the Art Show.

Here is a little history of this awesome dance party. It all started at the 2nd JordanCon when Paul was bored on that Saturday night and asked if he could set up a dance party and Jay Duro (He will be the person walking around with cookies at the Con. I know that sounds a little strange, but trust me that they’re good!) had some speakers and so they got together and put on a great party. 

After that, Paul was asked to do another dance party at the 3rd JordanCon, and he has done so ever since. 

Every year the dance has a theme. This year it is the Roaring 20’s. You can dress in costume, wear your favorite cosplay, or come as you are.

So if you want to have a great time and shake your booty, your moneymaker, or what your mama gave ya on the dance floor, make sure you don’t miss the awesome JordanCon dance party. You won’t regret it!!

New Member Monday: Seanchan Hold ’em Poker Tournament

New Member Monday: Seanchan Hold ’em Poker Tournament

We have talked about Gaming at JordanCon, but we wanted to go into a little more detail about one of the events hosted by the Charity. Every year at JordanCon we have a Seanchan Poker Tournament!

Now I am sure you are saying “The Seanchan didn’t play poker in the books,” and you are right they didn’t. But as you may or may not know, Robert Jordan said the Seanchan accent was similar to the US Texan accent.  Well, we took that idea and ran with it in this particular case.

The poker tourney is No-Limit Texas Hold’em and all the proceeds go to charity. Even if you have never played Texas Hold’em, you are welcome to come and play.  The tournament usually takes place on Friday night and there is a $20 buy-in. Everybody begins with 1,000 chips. Signup starts half an hour before the tournament. Big blinds start at 20 and small blinds at 10.  Blinds will increase at a regular interval. If you run out, we allow one buy-back for $20 for 500 chips. Buy-back is not allowed at the final table.

As we have said before, we’re not only a great Fantasy Convention, we are also a 501C4 Charity Organization. The poker tournament is one of the ways we raise money for charity. Make sure you come and check it out and play with us. You’ll have a great time and help out a great charity. 

New Member Monday: Gaming Track

New Member Monday: Gaming Track

Gamers, this one is for you!  A weekend at JordanCon is great, but what if you need a quick D & D fix?  Or have you been dying to show off your Magic the Gathering skills to people that will actually care? Maybe you aren’t a gamer, but you are curious about those strategy games that take hours and this weekend you just happen to have the time. Then trust me, the Gaming Track is the place for you!

The game room is an ideal place to meet new people with similar interests. It is a relaxed area where you are welcome to come, play, and have fun, even if you have never played before. Game demos are great to try new games out or just revisit old favorites. There are a wide variety of games and you are welcome to bring your own to share 

If you like Magic the Gathering, they have a Draft for you. D&D is a favorite for those who want to delve into a dark hole for gold, glory, and adventure. They have the annual Seanchan Hold’em Poker tournament to benefit the Mayo Clinic. (More about that in a future post.)  

Gaming is open not only during the regular programming day but afterward until 11:30 pm. So you can have the best of both worlds. Keep an eye out for the Gaming Schedule as we get closer to the Con.

New Member Monday: Volunteering

New Member Monday: Volunteering

A con is nothing without volunteers and JordanCon is no different. Volunteers are part of what makes the con run so smoothly, and you can be one.  I know what you are thinking. “If I volunteer I will miss out on all the fun stuff.” But guess what, you won’t!!

Volunteer shifts are only 90 minutes (the length of a panel). Plus volunteer sign up doesn’t start until 3 days AFTER the schedule for Jordancon is released.  This gives you a chance to look over the schedule, decide which panels you just can’t miss and when you have time to volunteer.

Now you may be wondering, “What can I even volunteer for? It is my first time at JordanCon.” Well, volunteering is a great way to meet people and get a real feel for the con. 

You can volunteer to help with the Art Show, the ConSuite (That is where you go to get food. We will do a post about that later.), Registration, the JordanCon Store, or be on stand by for your selected period of time.

And there are other perks besides getting to meet people. You get an awesome Ribbon (or badge swag, as I like to call it). You also get to participate in an exclusive raffle for some pretty cool items. (I won two Wheel of Time graphic novels.)

Important things to remember:

  • Volunteer Shifts are only 90 minutes each
  • You get to choose where you volunteer
  • You can sign up for as many or as few shifts as you like
  • You get a ribbon
  • You get to participate in an exclusive raffle
  • Check the JordanCon Schedule to figure out when you can volunteer

And most importantly

  • You can volunteer AND have a great time at JordanCon

Keep an eye out for more information about volunteering.

See ya’ next time!