Tag Archives: weapons

Is This a Dagger I See Before Me?

In this Month’s S*P*A*Minar, Thomas Fiocchi, resident Props Technologist at Ohio University and creator at Fiocchi Swords will give us an introduction on how to make stage safe combat weapons in our prop shops. I know we say this a lot, but you really don’t want to miss this one!

When: Sunday, June 20th at 8pm EST

Where: From the comfort of your home!


We are once again requesting pay-what-you-can donations to support this S*P*A*Minar programming. All money collected will be used to offset webinar operation costs with additional funds going to our annual grant program for early career prop people. Suggested donation amount is $3.

Donations can be made via PayPal Money Pool here.

Registration will remain open until 6pm EST on June 20th and a link to the Zoom S*P*A*Minar session will be sent out to all registered attendees 1 hour before the start of the webinar.

All S*P*A*Minars will be recorded, and the video will be posted to the S*P*A*M YouTube page the week following the event. You can also view all the previous S*P*A*Minars there for free.

Flyer for "Is this a dagger I see before me?" Text reads: A Spaminar introduction on how to build safe stage combat weapons in your prop shop with Thomas Fiocchi of Ohio University. Register for the webinar now! Sunday, June 20th, 8pm EST.

Video: Arrow Into Wall

Here is the third companion video for my upcoming book, The Prop Effects Guidebook, coming this February. The book has a few photographs demonstrating the old “shoot an arrow into the wall” trick, but this video goes into more detail and shows the trick in action.

This is a great trick for Deathtrap depending on how you stage it. I have also used this trick in Wait Until Dark, though that is a knife-throwing gag.

Arrow into Wall

These companion videos will continue to be released as we draw closer to the book’s release. You can watch all of them on YouTube.

The Prop Effects Guidebook is available for pre-order now at most major retailers. If you need a Christmas gift for that special props person, be sure to check out my first book, The Prop Building Guidebook: for Theatre, Film, and TV.

Props for the Weekend

Turning a Realistic Harry Potter Wand on a Wood Lathe – Make Magazine has pictures and a video to show how easy it is to crank out a wand from Harry Potter in less than a day.

Faking It: How Outlander Got That Battle Scene To Look So Real - Outlander is a time travel story set in the 18th-century British Isles. Jim Elliot, props master and resident arms expert, talks about how they recreated the historic 1746 battle of Culloden for a recent episode.

Creating Evenly Spaced Intervals with Dividers or a Sector – Learn how to create a number of evenly spaced marks within a length of material using a sector. I haven’t heard of a sector before this, but Lost Art Press wrote about how to make one last year, and even included a downloadable template.

OMG…I Had a Productive Production Meeting – Finally, Jenner Butler talks about the importance of keeping a production meeting on topic and under three hours.

Four Fun Friday Links

The Force Awakens Blog has posted photographs of 50 weapons and helmets from Star Wars: The Force Awakens in stunning high-resolution. It would be fun to make some of these in anticipation of the movie’s release (though most theatre chains have banned replica guns from their screenings).

I wrote a review of The Theatrical Firearms Handbook for the latest issue of Theatre Design and Technology. It’s an invaluable book for everything gun-related in theatre and film. If you are ever involved with a firearm on stage, you should own this book.

The New York Times has restored designer’s names to reviews of shows in their paper. This is very good news to anyone who has been following this story. Meanwhile, props people consider it a victory to be listed in the back of the program next to the brand of carpeting used in the lobby.

Eyeballs Studio makes a pretty stunning Dwarven Axe using mostly closed-cell foam and PVC pipe. It is amazing what you can accomplish with such cheap and readily-available materials.

Mace from Deathtrap

Anyone who has done Deathtrap knows that the “wall of weapons” could be a challenge. I was able to source most of what we needed, but the mace was a bit tricky. I had a flail, but when we got to tech, we decided it really needed to be a mace. It is never used, but the characters reference it a few times, and they would know the difference between a flail and a mace. I was pretty much out of money, so I decided to build one with whatever I had laying around while they worked on lighting and sound cues.

Mace parts
Mace parts

I printed out some research of a flanged mace that had a cool look but was not too intricate. The shaft was a length of PVC pipe. I attached a bit of wooden dowel on either end; one for the handle and one for the head. I cut the flanges out of craft foam. I drilled out the center of a few wooden toy wheels to make the various ridges, and a lamp finial finished off the top.

Painted pieces
Painted pieces

I attached the flanges to the head with some hot glue and sealed it all with some fiberglass resin. I only used one coat, which did not really stiffen the foam, but since it was just a wall-hanger, I figured it was enough. Everything got sprayed with various metallic spray paints before I attached it all together.

For the handle, I wrapped tape around it to give it more of a bulging cigar shape. I wrapped the final layer of tape in a spiral to make it look like a leather-wrapped handle.


I finished the whole thing off with some weathering and aging using acrylic paints. The end result looked pretty a-mace-ing.