Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kingdom Key

Kingdom Keyblade
(Kingdom Hearts)

    I decided that since I needed to make a kingdom key anyway, I would go ahead and get it over with. I made a video tutorial this time (my first one!). Here's the link to it: Kingdom Key Tutorial 

                  Specs: 38.5" long, 12.5" at widest, 2" at thickest; poplar wood; 6 pounds

Saturday, December 7, 2013

X-blade (kingdom hearts)

X-blade (Kingdom Hearts)

As always, I started with a reference image. The overall design is simply two kingdom keys crossed over each other, and a sword design similar to the one on the Ultima keyblades. I've made a kingdom key before, so it will be a little easier making more. 

Materials used:

  • Poplar wood  ( 15ft of 1"x12")
  • Pine plywood ( 3 2'x4' boards, 5 ply)
  • Duplicolor Metalcast anodized yellow, blue
  • Primer, metallic paints, gloss, and lens tint
  • Dowels
  • Wood glue
  • Bondo
  • Sand paper (various grits)
  • Jigsaw
  • Band saw
  • Scroll saw
  • Lathe (optional)
  • Table saw
  • Dremel (sanding and grinding bits)

Handle guards

The first thing I did was make a template for the handle guards so they were all uniform when the layers were glued together.

 Six layers were cut out of poplar: three for each guard, since I thought it was supposed to be 1.75 inches, but it turned out I could have just used 4 since the guards only need to be 1.5 inches. 

I cut and glued blocks together, which I turned on the lathe for the rounded parts of the guards. This will ensure a perfectly round and smooth part. These now-cylinders are cut on the table saw so I have arc shaped pieces. These are glued onto the guards. 

I turned some wooden discs for the raised bands and the bottoms of the handle guards where the key chains connect.

And lastly, I drilled the holes for the pole to fit through.

          Next I had to fuse the 2 handles together. I wanted to make them separate in order to make them symmetrical. Notice how only the inside of the handle guards are elongated at the bottom, not the outside. That means I only had to adjust that part of the handles, while the rest remained as a normal kingdom key.

First I overlap them to get an idea of where to cut.

Cut, and dowels are put in place to ensure they are always in line.

Bondo the handles together with the dowels still in to strengthen the bond.

And the finished double guard complete with recesses.


Following the same steps as with the hand guards, I cut out a template for the crowns and made four from poplar.

Now I only need to taper the crowns from 1.5 inches to 1 inch and do some clean up. Holes were drilled into the flat side and on the poles to dowel them together (not shown).


I started making the poles by first ripping the poplar into 2.5 inch wide by 41 inch long boards on the table saw, and gluing them together. The poles will eventually be 39 inches, but I left extra on there to cut off smooth later with a miter saw.

This is where I could've gone two ways, either use a dremel to gradually sand down the posts to poles, or use a lathe to turn them. I used the lathe since it was quicker and would allow everything to be smooth and perfectly round. The main part of the pole is 2 inches diameter, and the handle is 1.5 inches diameter.

I used a spiraling tool on the lathe to make a grip pattern like you see on metal barbells (knurl). This will add to the realism of the key. The holes are also drilled for the dowel rods between the poles and crowns. The poles fit successfully into the handles as well.


Now that all the parts are made, I can put the keys together. I measured out where and at what angle the keys fit (35 degrees and 25 inches from the bottom) and used a halved joint through that section of each keyblade. This will allow them to fit together as if they were made joined. 

Add some bondo and smooth it out, and you can't even tell they were cut besides the sudden gray patch. The crowns are glued onto the poles, and bondo is applied to fill in the area. (sorry, no pics)

The crossed keys are done.

Sword and Filigrees

I decided to wait to draw out the sword area so I knew it would fit right into the keys. I used an MDF sheet for the filigree since it was already 1/4 inch thick. 

I used poplar for the sword which was about 4 feet long. I used a belt sander to bring the edges to points, and a dremel to make the tenon (piece that fits into the mortise, or slot).

Assembly (cont.)

Now that the placement is set I can cut the slot into the crossed keys for the tenon in the sword designs using a tile cutting bit for the dremel (since it was the best way to cut it assembled).

Wood glue is applied and the pieces are held together. 

Bondo is applied to fill in the gap left by the slots.


First a layer of sandable primer is sprayed on.
There were a few spots that needed to be filled with bondo, and sanded smooth and to a higher grit. After finishing sanding, a final layer of white primer is applied which will be sanded to 320 grit.

Now the real painting begins! I applied a base coat of silver over the whole keyblade. 

Now of course, putting metallic paint over something really brings out imperfections, so after the silver I added several patches of bondo to smooth out the key. It would be useless to put a picture of each layer, so I'll just put one.

Everything was taped up except for the sword. I sprayed a base layer of metallic gold over the whole sword and designs, then after waiting a few minutes, shading is added. I used metallic silver for the lighter areas and copper chrome for the darker areas.

   I found a spray paint by Duplicolor called "Metalcast anodized ....." which I think is perfect for the handle guard and rainguard. It works by using a transparent spray paint which, when sprayed over silver, looks metallic. It looks like a plain color when sprayed over white.

 The black for the handle and anodized blue for the rainguard are painted.

Finally, the anodized yellow is sprayed on the handle guard.


      The keychain pendant was made by making two miniature keyblades and crossing them using a halved joint like with the x-blade poles. The heart was made separately and a trench was carved out for the keys to set in. Some bondo was applied to fill in the holes and hold the keys onto the heart.

Painted with acrylic black, lipstick red, silver metallic, inca gold, and a coat of enamel.