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Building Your Basic Boffer
#1
Lightbulb 
DO’s:
  • Use adequate closed cell foam around the PVC core of your weapon so you can’t feel the pipe.
  • The purpose of a thrusting tip is to prevent the pipe from coming through the end of the weapon. You shouldn’t be able to feel ANY pipe through the tip of the weapon.
  • Make sure you’ve adhered the foam directly to the PVC using double sided tape (carpet tape is great for this). The foam shouldn’t slide on the piping.
  • When duct taping the outside of the weapon, run tape down the length of the weapon (from tip to handle); do not wrap it around the weapon.
DO NOT’s:
  • Do NOT wrap duct tape in a spiral around the weapon, this compresses the foam into something akin to granite.
  • Do NOT add weight inside the piping.
  • Do NOT use wooden dowel or anything other than PVC piping for a core.

There are lots of good tutorials online on how to make safe boffer weapons. Remember to make your weapons properly; even if it passes weapons safety check, a poorly made weapon may break during combat. If this happens, the weapon can no longer be used as it seriously compromises the safety of other players. A weapons marshal may check your weapon at any time during event if he or she feels that the weapon looks unsafe, if it has been damaged, or if other players have complained that your weapon is unsafe.

*Special note about arrows: If arrows are made incorrectly they are a very real danger to all players. If you’re a new player please do not make your own unless you have previous experience making them, as they are almost guaranteed to be failed by the Weapon Marshals. Have a veteran player show you how to make these, or purchase latex LARP.

Materials Needed
  • A core (the base of your weapon, cpvc pipe, pvc pipe or electrical conduit )
  • carpet tape
  • duct tape
  • closed cell foam
  • open cell foam
  • a plastic bag
  • an exacto knife/carpet knife
  • a hack sa
  • a measuring tape
  • a pin/needle
Building Guidelines
The first thing you will need to do is choose what weapon you will be making. Based on the type of weapon you are making, you will need to to conform to certain size and material restrictions. You can find these restrictions on page 89 of the rule book. Once you have decided on the weapon, you will need to choose what to use as your weapon’s core. As a general rule, the larger the weapon, the thicker you will want your core. The example used here will be a pole axe, as this is a large weapon, it will need a thick core, I will use a 1″ diameter electrical conduit for the core.

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Decide how long you want your weapon to be, then, use a hack saw to cut your core about 5″ shorter than that. The reason that you will need to cut the core shorter than you want the weapon, is that you will be adding foam to both ends of the weapon. After you cut the core, it is important to smooth down any rough edges with sandpaper. If you do not, the sharp edge of your core will wear away the foam on your weapon’s tip from the inside. This will greatly reduce the life of your weapon,and can result in serious malfunction that may lead to injury.

The following picture shows both sides of a cut pipe, one that has been sanded, the other has not. Your core should look like the pipe on top before you proceed.

[Image: 12716c3f5bb906b793aae70e48d599ccbb8044ae.pjpg_.jpg]

Put a layer of tape over the end of each side of your core to cap the hole, this will stop foam from being forced down the hallow pipe when you use your weapon. The next thing you will need to do is mark off the sections of your core that will be used for striking (refer to page 69 of the rule book and use chart 6.1 Blade/ Head- min/max to determine the size of your striking surface). Use carpet tape to put rings along the striking surface about 3″ apart from each other. Make sure your rings go all the way around your core. This is what will be used to keep the foam on your weapon, and is a commonly missed step.

[Image: bf536ef83242545fbc6001a0b09a982146827525.pjpg_.jpg]

Next cut a piece of closed cell foam that will fit around the striking surface of the core. The closed cell foam needs to stick out past the edge of your core by at least 1″ but not more than 1-1/2″.

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Fit the foam snugly around the core, making sure there is no uncovered pipe along your striking surface. Often the foam will not fit perfectly around your core. If it is too loose, then cut a thin strip away parallel to the seam. If your seams do not meet up and leave a bit of a gap, cut a strip of spare closed cell foam and fill the gap with it. Then use a strip of duct tape to close up the seam in the foam, ensure you seal the entire length of the seam. It is important that your tape runs parallel to the core. Wrapping tape perpendicular to the core of the striking surface of your weapon may compress the foam, and cause your weapon to fail inspection, this is called horizontal tapping and is generally not allowed, thought there are some times where it may be necessary and even preferred.

[Image: 55d3697538ca5658ba770d71bd4194bbe3e47f33.pjpg_.jpg]

Most pipe insulation foam is only 1/2″ thick, and you will need at least 1″ of padding on your weapon. Repeat the process of tapping rings of carpet tape around the core of the weapon on the now foam covered striking surface.

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Now cover the striking surface with another layer of closed cell foam. Make sue that it fits snugly around the entire surface.

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You can see that the foam does not fit all the way around the inner layer of foam. Cut a thin strip of foam to fill this gap.

[Image: bc436275332451d1b41902f6b3ff9aba025fb34b.pjpg_.jpg]

Seal up the seam(s) with some duct tape. Remember to apply the tape along the length of the core, not to wrap it around the core.

[Image: 8bb263432d5fdb2e06eb2c92c23c43d3f3761d3a.pjpg_.jpg]

Now you are ready to start on the thrusting tip. Mark a piece of open cell foam to fit over the top of your weapon, it will need to be 2″ thick.

[Image: 9ad366f138e55134bef40757bba592a579d33f9e.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: a38366303d7c5203b4b80bbbb87893a8daeb2da6.pjpg_.jpg]

Cut the open cell foam out, and cut out a piece of your plastic bag to fit over top of the open cell foam with about 2-1/2″ of overlap.

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Place the open cell foam at the top of the weapon, and wrap the plastic around the top of it,so that the entire piece of open cell foam is covered by it, with a little bit of the plastic over lapping onto the closed cell portion of your weapon.

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Now pull the plastic snug around the open cell foam (not so tight that you compress the foam), and wrap a strip of duct tape around the edge of the plastic so that it is secured in place on your weapon. This is one of the few times that it is alright to place tape perpendicular to the core of your weapon.

[Image: 3f616a3d51b00bb69aeb57a97dc90bb58b2ed064.pjpg_.jpg]

Make a ring out of short strips of duct tape (approx 3″ long) all the way around the end of your weapon so that it extends above the plastic covered open cell foam but do not press the tape to the top portion of the plastic. Put relief cuts into the ring of tape you just made, and fold each piece of tape over onto the top portion of the plastic covered foam.

[Image: f9026b73805b2b7a088b7f9e7318d151c2b747cf.pjpg_.jpg]

Make a similar ring around the closed cell foam at the bottom of your striking surface. Once again, put relief cuts around the ring and fold the flaps over onto the core of your weapon.

[Image: c5426fc3425fcbe10cdbdf97b3aa2c7b32d485da.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: 5fe26e939e52dbd802fbbe9ec037c7a5a7b44f40.pjpg_.jpg]

Your thrusting tip is now almost done, so we are going to focus our attention on the bottom/butt/pommel of the weapon now, this part is commonly called the waylay tip. Although this part of the weapon is almost never used to strike with, accidents do happen, so we are going to cover it in exactly the same way that we did the top of the weapon. First we’ll mark off at least 2″ of the core to be covered by foam (in the case of pole arms and many other weapons that are not gripped exclusivley from the bottom, you may want to mark off even more area to be covered by foam. With a staff or any other weapon that will have both ends used for striking, you will need to put foam on all of the weapon’s length that will be used as striking surface.) Then we will use carpet tape to put rings around the core so that our foam will stay in place.

[Image: 623262b3c15ffb510b5bdc9dbb50f4851cd843f6.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: 22816e3f5cb608bc93088d8bcb6f7900478e29ab.pjpg_.jpg]

Cut a piece of closed cell foam to fit over the marked off portion of your core (remember to leave about 1″ of foam overlapping the end of your core), and secure it snugly in place (once again cutting away excess foam or adding a thin strip to make sure the entire core is well padded). Now seal up the entire length of the seam in the foam with a strip of duct tape.

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Put rings of carpet tape around the first layer of foam, cut another piece of closed cell foam to cover the first one and secure it snugly over the first layer of foam. Again be sure to cut away any excess foam or fill any gap with a thin strip of closed cell foam. Seal up the seam(s) in the foam with a strip of duct tape.

[Image: ca1269136b56fbbf02fbdb9aa3420efc69b389de.pjpg_.jpg]

Remember to plug up the end of your core, by covering the tip of core itself with a piece of duct tap and stuffing the 1″ over lap with scrap closed cell foam.

[Image: 55926ab37c58bb1f075ba898424881b134170089.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: dd726da3615edbe106fbf297f27843dabfa7859a.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: 000265934257fb0804eb0b96acd69f194cd4285f.pjpg_.jpg]

Now mark out and cut a 2″ thick piece of open cell foam to go over the bottom/butt of your weapon, and a piece of your plastic bag that will fit overtop of the foam. Pull the plastic snug around the open cell foam (not so tight that you compress the foam), and wrap a strip of duct tape around the edge of the plastic so that it is secured in place on your weapon. This is one of the few times that it is alright to place tape perpendicular to the core of your weapon.

[Image: 9ad366f138e55134bef40757bba592a579d33f9e.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: a38366303d7c5203b4b80bbbb87893a8daeb2da6.pjpg_.jpg]

Make a ring out of short strips of duct tape (approx 3″ long) all the way around the end of your weapon so that it extends above the plastic coverd open cell foam but do not press the tape to the top portion of the plastic. Put relief cuts into the ring of tape you just made, and fold each piece of tape over onto the top portion of the plastic covered foam.

[Image: c5426fc3425fcbe10cdbdf97b3aa2c7b32d485da.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: 5fe26e939e52dbd802fbbe9ec037c7a5a7b44f40.pjpg_.jpg]

Make a similar ring around the closed cell foam at the top of your waylay tip. Once again, put relief cuts around the ring and fold the flaps over onto the core of your weapon.

[Image: 22816e3f5cb608bc93088d8bcb6f7900478e29ab.pjpg_.jpg]

Cover all the exposed foam on your waylay tip with duct tape. Make sure to put it on parallel to the weapons core so that you don not compress the foam.

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Now use a pin or needle to poke tiny holes in both the waylay and thrusting tips of your weapon. You will need about 50 holes in each tip. The reason for these holes is to allow air to get into the open cell foam so that it will return to it’s original shape after it is compressed by striking someone.

At this point the boffer weapon is almost done, if you are making a staff, sword or other weapon that does not need a head on it, then skip past the open cell head construction portion to the steps on how to make your hand grips. Get your self a piece of open cell foam big enough to build your axe head/spear tip/mace flanges/hammer head/whatever. Draw the basic shape out on the foam. Then carefully cut out the foam using your exact o knife.

[Image: f4116e3152bc03b39c862357d37dafb9f315d7af.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: 90d26a23e55e8b94054bfd93a96bd1d404360641.pjpg_.jpg]  [Image: 03836be633075efcbec704aeb17c9efc497e1f97.pjpg_.jpg]

Gently cover in duct, and make sure not to compact the foam too much. You may poke holes in the striking surfaces to allow for more softer blows.

YOU ARE READY TO FIGHT!...As soon as you get this safetied by an Armour/Weapons Marshal.

A big thank you to Shawn Murphy for creating this tutorial.
- The All Seeing Eye -
- Backstory Wizard -


Backstory Email: backstories@underworldralinwood.ca
Personal Email: sierra@underworldralinwood.ca
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