Just a short time ago I finally managed to finish my last project and thought you could be interested in it. It´s something very different from all the things I´ve made before, a reproduction of a whaling harpoon, which dates to around the early or middle 19th century. I think this things look just very cool, and I wanted one to hang it among the other curiosities on my wall.
I can do some smithery, but such a piece would surpass my possiblities, as I have (still) no forge. So I had to trick a bit, but that´s of course a main aspect of prop-making. I sculpted the harpoon head from sculpey and the rod is wood. The grommet is actually forged from a thick piece of a steel plate. Everything is glued together, and the sculpey and wood parts painted. Sadly the silver-colour was quite viscosous and concealed some of the details. It was a common practice to add the name of the whaling ship to a harpoon, and to make my model to more than only a fake harpoon but a prop, I chose the name of the most famous fictional whaling vessel - the Pequod from "Moby Dick".
It was not that easy to make the coil around the grommet, because most strings I had looked very different from the original tared hemp or manilla which was used. Of course I could have bought real tarred hemp line, but this stuff is quite expensive, and I needed only around 2 m. So I bought cotton line and painted it with coffee, to get a hemp-like and also somewhat darkened colouration.
I've always been surprised that there aren't more literary props. Fans spend an inordinate amount of time crafting items from even abysmally bad movies, but props based on books are vanishingly rare. Lovecraft's works are an obvious exception. I think that can be attributed to two factors. First, the popularity of the "Call of Cthulhu" role-playing game and it's tradition of player handouts. Second, the fact that Lovecraft encouraged artists, most notably Clark Ashton Smith, to give his creations physical form.
The one non-Lovecraft literary item I'd love to have is a variable sword from Larry Niven's "Ringworld" books. The description has stuck with me since I first read it back in the 70s.
"I have a variable-sword," said Speaker-to-Animals. "I urge calm." The kzin stood against a curved wall. In one clawed fist he held something like an oversized jump rope handle. Ten feet from the handle, held expertly at the level of the kzin's eyes, was a small, glowing red ball. The wire which joined ball to handle was too thin to be visible, but Louis didn't doubt it was there. Protected and made rigid by a Slaver stasis field, the wire would cut through most materials including the back of Louis's crash couch.
One of these days I'll get around to ordering parts for the handgrip from one of the custom lightsaber shops.