Feb 1

I recently finished wiring and putting together our den/theater room, and was stumped on how to decorate it. I came up with an idea, which Nanc readily agreed to. (Remember that did you agreed to this, Nancy.)

I thought that it would be fun to decorate the room with props from some of our favorite movies and TV shows. After doing a little more research, I realized that the stuff that I really wanted was just a tad out of my price range.

Being the resourceful guy that I am, I decided to build some of the pieces myself. It’s fun, and keeps me from doing anything useful. My first piece is finished. Pics and details inside.

On my 5th birthday, I saw Star Wars at the US 23 drive-in. I had the toys. I had the bed sheet and cover set. I had the shampoo. Star Wars anything turned me into a rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth kid. I loved me some Star Wars, so I thought that a lightsaber would be a great place to start.

Turns out, it wasn’t all that hard to make, either. Star Wars was filmed on a (relatively) small budget – around 11M. Many of the props, costumes, and models were made from found items that were jazzed up by gluing on spacey-looking bits and greeblies.

For instance, Luke and Darth Vader’s lightsabers were just old camera flashes, dressed up a little bit. I was confident that I could make this prop, no problem. My next step was to figure which lightsaber to make.

I ended up choosing to make Luke’s lightsaber from “Empire Strikes Back.” ESB is my favorite of the trilogy, and Luke’s lightsaber looks pretty cool.

I did some research online. Luckily, Star Wars geeks are plentiful and computer savvy. I was able to find a great deal of information. Worth mentioning are Parts of Star Wars, and this forum thread from Rebel Scum.

I procured the necessary parts from the e of Bay and got to work. First, I disassembled the Graflex 3-cell flash holder, and cleaned it really well with nail polish remover and Goo Gone for the tough bits.

Next, I carefully drilled holes into the metal handle and used a tap to thread the holes. The holes are needed to secure the black rubber grips into place. Fun fact: the original grips were most likely made from a rubber track for sliding doors. While they look cool, they’re actually pretty uncomfortable to hold onto. Mark Hamill managed to act through the pain. Being a Jedi is not nearly as glamorous as you think.

After getting the rubber grips on, I drilled and tapped the holes for the belt ring. (Just in case um… I ever need to hang it on my Jedi belt. You never know.) From there, the rest of the build was cake. I added a little bit of a computer board to the control box clamp, and put a piece of shiny tape on the clamp to cover up the Graflex logo. The entire project took me about 60 minutes, but I was very slow and deliberate.

And now the first prop is done. (Yay!)… I already have ideas for the next one.

There aren’t any photshopped pictures of me playing with my new lightsaber. Nanc has requested that those not leave the house. They’re probably way too cool, right? Or, maybe she doesn’t want me to end up like the Star Wars Kid.

I’m curious. When you comment, try to think of one movie prop that you would love to have.

3 Responses to ““An elegant weapon for a more civilized age””

  1. aubyn Says:

    when 90210 ended i tried to buy the peach pit cash register from an online auction. i lost the auction but it was fun to think of having that piece of television history. i have always wanted a pink ladies jacket from grease or anything from the set of xanadu. the light saber looks great and i can’t wait to see how the room develops.

  2. Betty Says:

    Word, you’re handy!

    Where’s the sonic transducer? The tank? The laser? The celery?

  3. Kirsti Says:

    I vote for the Star Trek Transporter and I hope it works so I can go down there and share in all the free time that you apparently have that I don’t!