Years before he would ever work at Lucasfilm, master modelmaker and former Mythbuster Adam Savage visited a touring exhibition in 1994 that included one of the original Star Wars lightsaber props on display. He took photos with a camera (film, since digital cameras were not widely available at that point), and used images of the lightsaber as a guide to recreating the prop using his own skills. Savage, who had just started working with Jamie Hyneman (the two would become Mythbusters together in 2003), describes the lightsaber as one of, if not the, first time he ever decided that he wanted to ahve the experience of building a prop replica for himself.
In a video above shared from his Tested YouTube channel, Savage shares his saber, along with a "blank" replica that is essentially a perfect copy of the screen-used weapon, to compare and contrast them, while talking a little bit about his history with Star Wars and the experiences around going to see not just the lightsaber but the original, five-foot model of the Millennium Falcon built for filming on the first Star Wars movie. Unlike the Death Star model -- which was thrown out after filming as a result of a studio too short-sighted and cheap to pay for a storage unit holding what would, decades later, be considered basically priceless Star Wars props -- that ship has been pretty well upheld, its relevance immediately obvious and its craftsmanship too remarkable to end up in a shed someplace.
There's also a fun story in this clip about how, against all odds, the replica in question was one of two created by a young Savage and its "twin sister" ended up being wielded by none other than Mark Hamill himself (albeit in someone's living room, not on camera).
Here's how Savage's YouTube channel describes the video, which you can see above:
In his journey recreating his favorite film props, Adam has made many lightsabers. But this machined replica of Luke's lightsaber was Adam's first foray into prop replication using reference photos he took of the original. He made this in Jamie's shop over 25 years ago after seeing the prop in a touring Star Wars exhibition. And even though it is far from a perfect replica, it holds up as capturing the essence of the prop and the gratifying experience of making the prop his own.
You can check out more of Savage's Star Wars videos at this link.