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NeedleFelt Sword Construction

Preparing for Mock Combat

Needlefelt Sword Construction


Disclaimer: The ISPA does not assume responsibility for injuries sustained due to mistakes, poor instructions, simple hazards, or accidents during the coinstruction of or use of needlefelt swords.  Motor Skills Morons should not attempt needle felt construction. Complete responsibility for construction and use is up to the individual user.  If you do not agree to these terms, stop reading.


Construction of the Needlefelt Gladius obviously starts with supplies: We purchase 12" *36” adhesive backed 1/4" thick grade F-3 wool felt from (this will make 6 swords)



Needle Felt Sheets    12” by 36” from


Part Number  87255K73

 $29.73 Each



$25.32 cents each sheet.  Each will make six swords


Adhesive-Backed Sheets






Wool Felt


Length x Width

12" x 36"








lbs. Per Square Yard



Maximum Temperature

200 F





Secondly we use epoxy bound fiberglass kite spars, .298" OD 32.5" long, type RET40 from :


Epoxy .250" x .298" x 32.5"







Price ea.





Epoxy Tube: E40
ID: .250"
OD: .298"
Length: 32.5"
Weight: 20.7 Grams

This spar fits inside the RET75, RET370
This spar fits over the RET248, RET20, RLG2400


To build the sword, we cut the felt into two inch felt "blade" pieces, 22-24 inches long.  We used the actual blade of a Deepeeka AH4211 for shape. We then cut two pieces of the fiberglass tubing to length 6" longer than the felt and bound them together with quality duct tape, 3M Tartan Cloth tape from Home Depot.  We then took a simple cigarette lighter, and, after walking outside, melted the plastic binding the fiberglass fibers together away for approx 1/2" of the rods, making a soft tip.  This end was then wrapped over the top three times and around twice to help insure the fiberglass wouldn't penetrate the tip with thrusting. The adhesive backing was then removed from one of the felt pieces and the rod pair was laid into the center with the tip stopping about 1 1/2" from the tip. The remainder of the tubes protruded from the rear to form a tang for the grip (Alternatively, you could use the felt to form the handle as well, we chose to go with a more traditional Roman pommel). The second piece of felt was added and the whole thing got a crushing along the edge in a bench vise to ensure proper grip of the adhesive.
A standard wooden guard was made from 2" wooden balls for the pommel, 1/2 of a 2" wooden ball for the guard and either a drilled out 3/4 inch wooden dowel, a piece of hollow dog chew bone, or slid on 3/4inch PVC for the grip.  The Pommel ball held it all together and it should be polyester glued (Gorilla Glue for example) together.
Alternatively the needlefelt can be cut to the sword shape including the handle and and pommel, and the rods done the same and the entire structure stuck together.  If this is chosen, you can use 2 tone leather to make a nice looking handle and guard assembly.
We then run a stitching awl all the way around the edge of the weapon, about 1/4" in. We used a standard Leather Factory Sewing awl purchased at Michael's Crafts Store, or available from  They are also available from McMaster-Carr on page 3249 of their online catalog for $17 or so. Black polyester thread was used for the prototype and looks ok, grey upholstery thread will also work quite well.  On some swords we used a red hot poker to make the holes for the thread, as needlefelt is very thick.
A light layer of glue spread along the edge will also help preserve the layering of the needlefelt, but seems unneccessary when it is properly stitched.
These work great for thrusting weapons, for slashing we have managed to break 1 of 24, it simply went limp, and was actually quite funny.  No sharp edges potruded or dangerous points.  Simpled flopped over when the gladiator came up for the next strike.  Do not slash at shield edges. leave that to the Barbarians.

Pics coming soon

IRPA-N America * Imperial Roman Provisional Army * Legions of North America, United!