Sword customization question - Will Turner sword POTC5

Darrell GreenDarrell Green ✭✭✭
edited January 14 in Fabrication
I have been working on creating an 1860 naval cutlass using a decorative starter sword I purchased at thrift. I am nearly finished but need some pointers on making a passable, if maybe faux, fuller groove. I was thinking of possibly painting it on or acid etching it in but am open to mechanical finishing options. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. The pic with the two swords is one of the unchanged pair alongside my current work. The second and third pic is a shot of original 1860s.

I was imagining placing vinyl sticker material on the sword and then cutting out the fuller section to either acid etch or glass peen (sandblast) the exposed portion.
Post edited by Darrell Green on


  • Etching or sandblasting the faux fuller should work, then you could go back and darken that area with some stains to give it the appearance of more depth.  I can't say I've seen that done, but I imagine it would read ok at a distance.

    The other option would be to grind in an actual fuller, but that is a lot more involved and would likely work-harden the blade.  But all I know about bladesmithing I've learned by watching Forged in Fire, so I'm about as far from an expert as you could get.  :smiley:

  • I thought about it and I think I can put a grinding wheel on a dremel and then attach sn edge guide to grind a light fuller that will at least catch the light. I will try to put this together and test this weekend.
  • Found a good one I want to try. How to make Prop Armor with Tony Swatton, chapter Etching the Comb. Looks like I will need to build my conductor setup but this will give me future etching possibilities on a lot of projects. It is a short section on electroetching an applied pattern, in my case the shape of the fuller. Really stoked and ready to get this set up.
  • OK, now I have a plan. With dc the metal will etch/groove. With ac it will darken and harden the stained area. I plan to etch a decent amount first and then darken it. I will follow this by aging the entire blade slightly with vinegar.
  • Nice, looking forward to seeing how it turns out!


  • and a few originals to compare it to:

    I did not end up with an AC source at such low voltage as all of my spare adapters around the house were ac to dc. But I did find one 120 to 12v DC at 1 amp (the recommended set from most online how to videos) that I split and added alligator clips. With the positive to the sword and the negative holding a qtip drenched in salt water, I etched, leaving the nasty sludge on the blade. I then reversed my leads and using the positive holding the qtip I painted the sludge back into the sword to permanently stain it. I chose not to build a dunk tank for this one off project and just hand etched with the qtip. Because I sm totally new to electro etching, I can only advise to find professional training on the same. My prep pics are below:

  • Nice, that does add some depth to it!

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