Making a Generic Boffer
The generic boffer, is a very simple, cheap, and common design. It is the easiest boffer to make, and conforms to plenty of boffer fighting regulations. Being
so basic, doesn't look that great, however it's safe and effective. It is a one-handed sword with a 30 inch "blade". If you're new to making boffer weapons, this
is the first boffer you should try to make.
- 3/4" PVC Pipe
- Pool Noodles
- Duct Tape
- Hack Saw
- Tape Measure
- Permanent Marker
3/4" PVC Pipe - PVC pipe is a plastic pipe that is used in plumbing. It's light weight and easy to work
with and make the structure of the boffer weapon. You can buy it at any large hardware store such as Home Depot, HQ, or Builder's Square. You'll need
three-quarter inch (3/4") pipe. A 10 foot pipe costs about $2.00. There are three different types of this pipe. One is white with blue lettering, one
is white with pink lettering, and the other is gray with black lettering. You will want to buy either the white with blue or pink lettering pipe because
the gray pipe isn't sturdy enough.
Pool Noodles - These foam tubes are used as pool toys. They are very sturdy and light weight, and are
used for padding the PVC pipe. They are available at most large super markets during the summer (Wal-Mart, Meijer, Target, K-Mart). As a seasonal item,
most places will only stock them in the summer. Check the pool stores in your area and you may be lucky enough to find one that stocks them year-round.
Pool Noodles come in 5 foot rods for about $2.00-$3.00 each. You'll want to buy pool noodles that have an inner hole equal to the size of the PVC
pipe (about 3/4").
Duct Tape - You can get this at just about any store with a home improvement section. It's a strong
fibrous gray multi-purpose tape. It's used to wrap around the padding to keep it in place and prevent premature damage. There are many grades of duct
tape. Cheap duct tape is usually cheap in quality. Look to spend about $2.00 a roll for cheap tape and up to $5.00 a roll for very good tape. One roll
should yield about 2-3 generic boffers.
Hack Saw - These saws are very common and can be found at any hardware store. They are small hand saws
capable of cutting anything from wood to metal. It makes an ideal cutting tool for both the PVC pipe and the pool noodle. A cheap hack saw will cost you
about $5.00. You don't need an expensive one.
Tape Measure - You'll only need a small tape measure, 10 feet is plenty. You could even get away with a
yard/meter stick. Both can be found any store with a home improvement section. A small tape measure costs about $2.00 or a yard stick is about $1.00.
Permanent Marker - I'm sure you know what this is. You'll need it for marking measurements for cutting,
so get one with a broad tip. I'm partial to Sharpie brand markers myself. Make sure the marker will work well on plastic. If it easily wipes off
it's no good to you.
How to Build the Boffer
Below is a diagram of how the boffer is put together. (The image is not drawn to scale.)
This gives you a one-handed sword with a 30 inch "blade". Follow the step-by-step instructions below for constructing the boffer weapon.
Using the measuring tape and the permanent marker, measure off 34 inches of PVC pipe. Then measure off 34 inches of padding.
Use the hack saw to cut both the PVC pipe and the padding at the 34 inch line.
Measure off 4 inches on the padding, and use the hack saw to cut the 4 inch piece off. You should now have two pieces of padding, a 30 inch piece and a
4 inch piece.
Measure off 26 inches on the PVC pipe and make a mark.
Thread the PVC pipe inside the long piece of padding up to the mark. This should give you 4 extra inches of padding at the top of the weapon. It's
important to leave 4 inches or padding because if the weapon is thrust into an opponent, it must compact enough not to hurt. (4 inches is generous.
Most guidelines only require for 2-3 inches.)
Note: Sometimes the hole in the padding is very tight on the PVC. You can work the padding onto the PVC pipe by twisting the padding slowly over
the PVC pipe. Be careful not to let the pipe cut the inside of the padding.
Measure 2 inches on the exposed end of the PVC pipe, and thread the 4 inch piece of padding on it. This leaves 2 inches of padding on the pommel. This
section is padded because you sometimes hit people (or yourself) with the pommel.
With the padding structure in place, we now need to put a layer of tape over the padding. This is done because the padding will slowly slip off if it's
not secured, and also because the padding is easily damaged without a protective layer. Taping the blade is a little confusing at first, but after a
few tries it becomes very easy.
Taping is done length wise up the blade to prevent compacting the foam, which can happen if you wrap the tape around the blade.
Pull 3 inches of tape off the roll, but do not cut it yet. Start the tape on the handle three inches from the blade, and run it up the length of the
blade, pulling off more tape as you go, until you reach the tip.
Pull off more tape (still don't cut it!) and move it over the tip of the blade. It's important that you don't compact the padding when you tape the
Then run the tape down the other side of the blade until you're back to the handle. Leave another 3 inches, and attach the tape to the both sides of
Start another length of tape at the handle, so it's over-lapping the first strip of tape by about 1/8 of an inch. Start the tape up the blade, over
the tip, and back down the other side of the blade.
The third strip of tape should cover the blade entirely. Secure the tape to the handle.
After the blade is fully covered, you'll notice the tape at the handle will want to come loose. Use a small piece of tape and wrap it around the
tape on the handle to keep the tape tight.
Follow the same taping technique to tape the padding on the other end of the weapon.
Fill the handle with a little tape, to cover the PVC pipe.
There is no step 10. You are done! Your boffer is now ready for combat. You'll probably want to make a second weapon, unless you really enjoy fighting
Boffers are not invincible. The padding will wear down with continued use, and will eventually break. To make sure your boffer is in good condition
you may want to read the Boffer Maintenance guide.
Now that you have your new boffer, you may want to learn how to properly use it. Check out the Basic Combat Guide.