I am currently helping with some special projects on a production of Once on this Island. The actors in the show are all supposed to be storytellers, and all the props are supposed to look like they might have made them themselves. The props are supposed to look like they were made by "skilled and creative people, but without much money or time" (sounds a bit like my job on every show).
A few days ago I made these swords. They were a quick project, but they turned out fantastically and they are a perfect example of the props skill of finding the right shape.
The props master for the show bought several of these rakes on sale for $3 each. He brought them in and told me that he was going to turn them into swords. I didn't see it. Then he started to cut the wires holding the prongs on the rake. I was super impressed.
Take a look at the sword. The result was so simple, but super effective. We added the guard by twisting fabric scrap from one of the costumes and threading it through the hole created when we removed the longer cross-piece.