Hello Mr. Fox, very few people have made a rapier, so it is a bit difficult for folks on here to give advise. However, I have seen some very nice swords on Kevin Cashen's website that might give you some inspiration. Also, you can look up Alec Steele's rapier. Good luck!
I have a rapier made by Cas/Henwai and I wouldn't call it small. I believe the length of the blade is 31-32 inches. If you want exact measurements I can get them for you. I've had a hard time photographing it before, but I will post photos as well if you want them.
I think it would be a complicated project. The hilt alone is definitely beyond my capabilities by far.
Thank you all! And I really appreciate the feedback! Think I’m going to wing it and learn as I go. I’m working on the basket guard now.. and have to quench the blade. Just don’t have anything big enough to Thermo cycle. Just need to sit in in and think