I finished the last bit of sanding on the Bat'leth with my Palm sander.
I used about 3 different grades of sandpaper and really had some fun getting it all to look nice. (read "had some trouble" into that comment).
I had a guest in my shop that day to watch me finish the handle, my pet Targ,,,who does not like the noise of the power tools at all!
I moved the Palm sander slowly and lightly over the whole wood handle, takeing down any rough spots and when I was done I rubbed the dust down with a clean cloth, then moved inside the house to be warmer for the stain step next.
Once inside the warnmer house, I set up shop in my wifes walkin closit.
I dragged in a rack that I built last year to heat treat my knives on (for the coloring effects) and tied my batleth to it.
I started the staining from the top and worked it down, this helps me control the drips and stuff,for they get worked into the wood as I go. One time I worked the stain from the bottom up thinking this would lay the stain on thicker as I went, however it made some drips that discolored the wood.
I had my wifes floor covered, dont forgett to do that! and I wore some kitchen gloves to keep my hands clean.
I let the stain sink into the wood for about 20-30 mins, as I watched the Tv.
Whats the color? well....its a mix of 3 different stains by now. I always end up with a little left over in each of the little cans of stain I pick up at the store, and I just hate to toss them out just cuz theres not enough for a whole sword handle. I always try to save the left over stain by dumping it into other cans of stain, even if its the same color or not!
By now, I not sure what color you would call the stain I used, just another "DaQo'tah's own" I guess...
THE RUB DOWN.
Heres where you know if your work over the last few weekends will pay off or not. For once you rub down the stain you can tell what your sword looks like to people.
Now the reason for that, is that I have found that its not the blade of a Bat'leth that people first notice when they see it hanging on my wall , its the handle work you have done.
By luck, today I ended up with a great handle color, I can already tell its going to add to the look of my Super Bat'leth and really bring out the colors of the blade.
I began to rub down the handle, again starting from the top with a clean rag-(well it was a rag when I was done with it anyway,turns out I didnt have a clean rag on hand that day so I used one of my Tee-shirts)
You can rub down the stain hard to take off more stain if you wish, I didnt do that here , but I have done that on other swords I have made a bit too dark.
After you are happy enough with the color and look of the stained handle, its time to walk away for the night and let it dry.
After I let the handle stain dry over nite, I used a can of "LACQUER" to seal in the stain and make the woodstain look really cool.
You got to cover the stain on your handle with something like Lacquer or something, cuz the stain will tend to rub off on your hands when you hold your Bat'leth without it.
I picked a spray can of Lacquer for only one reason - its easy!
I sprayed on a coat every few minutes during station breaks on Tv.
In the end, I must have sprayed on over 10 coats!...Now I guess in many wood-worker books they will tell you to lightly sand between coats,,,well Forget That, this sucker is almost done and Im not doing Anything that I might screw up and have to start all over!
Again let the bat'leth dry over night,,,for the next step is,,,well,,what happends next can be a "do or die" time for your bat'leth.
You will strip off all the paper that covers and protects the blade while you have been working on the handle, so when you do that you want your fingers to be clean and stay dry.
If you dont let your handle dry all the way,and the stain or lacquer is slightly wet, you will put fingerprints on the blade,(YES I have leraned this lesson the hard way) so let it dry all the way!
When you strip off the paper covering that has been protecting your blade from getting marks on it, you will find JOY...or much Pain.
Or a mix of the two.LOL
Im my case, I was happy to see my Bat'leth at last in its full glory.
The color of the blade was great, my handle design works way better with the blade than the three handle design, and the stain on the handle brings out this color and works to make the whole thing look that much more real.
Now, there were a few problems,(there always are with my blades)it seems I hit the nice color of the blade a few times with my drill press drum sander in some places.
This has taken off a bit of the color where it hit the blade.
I was a little depressed when I saw what I had done, for I knew to fix it right would have ment "starting over"...
Starting over???,,,No WAY!, this thing is going on the wall tonight!
So I got out some "Extra Strengh Gun Blue" and put very small amounts on the few places that show where I bumped the blade with my drumsander,,,,,and it worked!
Im not sure what this "Gun Blueing" stuff is , but it does hide the discoloration, I may have to try to cover a whole weapon with this stuff next time.
The other little problem you might find on your Bat'leth at this time is at the place where the wood for the handle meets the steel of the blade. There is likely a chance that a bit of glue, stain or lacquer might have gotten on the blade and will need to be taken off.
The glue will pop off with a very sharp knife, just cut it from the wood handle and twist the sharp knife just a little to pop the glue free.
I had a bit of woodstain on my steel that had gotten past my tape-job, so I used a bit of the gun'blue on a toothpick to cover up that problem.
The next step was (after showing my wife how cool this Bat'leth looks now), was to take the weapon out to my One Inch belt sander.(yes,just now fixed again)
To take off all the color from the sharpened blade areas.
When you are carefull and take away the heat-treated color from this area, it kinda out lines the Bat'leth for you.
It makes everything show up way better, and it also makes the blade look like its very sharp too.
I hung my Super bat'leth on my sword wall tonight,,,
as you look at a weapon like this,,,something that took as long to make as this one did me,,,you keep thinking to yourself,,,"Never Again!"
Done, Im done with it!
Im never ever ,ever doing another sword that is this big and takes this long,,,,,,but then,,
then you start to notice that, if you made another one,with a slightly different curve to the blade,,,,it would look so very cool,
And its then that you understand that you will Never be done ,there is just something about the look and shape of the Bat'leth that speaks to your heart and says,,,, "You can do it!"
I spent all night just looking at my Bat'leth, trying to answer the next question..."Do I put leather on the handles or not?"
I decided that the oak needs something else and tried a few wraps of leather on one handhold,,,but it just didnt look different enough.
I wanted this Super bat'leth to look as different from other Bat'leths that people have ever seen. Adding common leather as seen on the bat'leths of the Tv show seems a step in the wrong direction for me to take.
thats when I came up with a new idea.
I picked up some replacement wraps for tennis racquet handles,on the odd chance they might work....and they do!
this type of wrap is different than leather, it has a different look and a very different feel to it.
It seems to give a softer grip,yet it also seems almost sticky (in a good sure grip way).
there was 3 strips in the package and it was just enough to do my Bat'leth.
Now all I got to do,,,is find someplace to hang this Bat'leth and I can start on another!