Saturday, October 24, 2015

Staff Tutorial

Welcome back to GeekGetup. This week I'll be going into more details on how to make a 6 foot staff that can separate into three pieces for easy transportation. I have made five of these that I will be using for my Mystogan cosplay for WorldCon.

Reference photo found here.

As I mentioned last week, transportation was one obstacle that I was trying to overcome. My wife and I are flying to Kansas for WorldCon and the idea of traveling with five 6 foot staffs seemed difficult. I needed to find a way to separate them into smaller pieces for easy transportation. As I was asking around for ideas, one person had mentioned using lamp posts that could screw together. One of the problems I saw with that was getting all the lamp posts I needed without spending too much money. I came up with the idea of using PVC pipe, and a wooden dowel. I used fifteen 1/2 inch x 2 feet pipes and one forty-eight inch length of 5/8 inch thick wooden dowel. I used the dowel to connect each pipe piece. Since I want the end results to look like wood, I got a Rust-oleum Painter's Touch khaki colored spray paint and Kilz Complete primer. I am sure that there are other brands out there that would work just as well. (I got my supplies at Home Depot, but they can also be found at the links above. You can check your favorite local hardware store, too, and shop around for the best price.)

1. Start off by preparing the pipes for priming and painting. Sand down the pipes to roughen them up. This way the primer and the paint will stick to the pipe without scratching off as easy. I used a 60 grit sand paper and then a 400 grit to help get rid of the small plastic threads.

2. Prime the PVC pipes and let them dry before painting. Since I live in an apartment I put the pipes by an open window for drying. Once they are done drying you can add the paint.

Let the paint dry until it is no longer sticky. The paint had dried on mine but was still a little sticky when I bundling them all together. The next morning they had stuck to each other. It messed up part of the paint and I had to touch up a number of areas.

3. Next, the dowel needs to be cut down into smaller pieces. I do not own my own saw and I did not know anyone with a powered saw, so I borrowed a hack saw from a friend. Mark the dowel and then cut it into the individual pieces. I went with 4 inches each so that each end of the pipe had enough surface area from the dowel to hold together.

4. At their current size, the dowel pieces are a bit too wide. Sand them down until they start to fit inside the PVC. They shouldn't be too loose, because you want them to be able to hold the two pipes together without falling off on its own. The picture below shows how the pipes are connected by the dowels on four of the staffs, with the fifth one fitted together completely.  

5. You want to make sure that the dowel doesn't slide over time and get stuck inside one of the pipes. So you will want to glue half of each dowel to the inside of one of its pipes. Gorilla Glue is great for this and holds tight. You don't need very much either.

Doing this ensures that one side is permanently attached while the other side can attach and lengthen the staff or separate for easy transportation.

Well, there you have it. This is just to make a basic staff. From here you can add other props to it. Change the color and put a scythe head on it and you have a prop for Death. If you change up the dowel for a bigger PVC pipe and change the paint color, you can make a lightsaber. From here you have a wide variety of places you can go with it. I'd love to see pictures of your adaptations in the comments. 

As I mentioned above, I will be using these for my Mystogan Cosplay. I will be working on the heads for each of his staffs that will also be able to separate and attach with ease. I will be sure to put those designs on here when that time comes. 

Check out next week's post for GeekGetup's Halloween special. Thanks for reading!

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