Spears are a simple but effective weapon that has been used by humans for thousands of years. A spear consists of a long shaft with a sharp and pointed tip, with the simplest spears being merely a stick that has been sharpened to a point.
A spear is a useful and versatile tool for survival situations or for use recreationally. Because of its simple design and concept, making a homemade spear is easy.
This guide will walk you through several different methods of making a basic spear in a few simple steps.
So let’s get started!
How To Make a Spear
Making a Simple Wooden Spear
Making a primitive wooden spear is simple, and only requires a few basic tools. If you’re in a survival setting or simply want to craft a spear for recreational purposes, here’s how to make a wooden spear.
First of all, you need to find a good branch or pole. Preferably, your spear should be a few inches taller than you, and 1-1.5 inches in diameter.
Using a long wooden rod from a hardware store is a great option, as long as the wood is sturdy. Softer woods will break or get damaged easily, so hardwoods like oak or ash are your best bet.
If you’re making your spear out of a stick or branch, try to find the straightest branch possible. Again, your spear should be at least as tall as you, and ideally a few inches taller. Older or recently deceased wood is best, as this is tougher and sturdier.
Alternatively, you could use a small sapling of the right height, as long as the wood is strong enough. Green wood is prone to flexing and splitting, which isn’t ideal for a spear.
Once you’ve selected your branch, it’s time to prepare it. Strip away any loose bark and moss, as this can affect your grip. If there are any smaller twigs and branches growing off your branch, trim these off with a pocket knife or small hand ax.
From here, you can begin to sharpen your spear. Starting around 6-8 inches from the tip of your spear, use your knife or hand ax to cut the trim into a point. Use small, deliberate strokes towards the tip, and make sure you always cut away from yourself.
This greatly reduces the risk of any accidents or injury if your knife slips.
If you don’t have a knife handy, you can use a sharp stone like flint or obsidian instead. Failing that, try to sharpen and file down a stone into a cutting edge.
With your spear honed to a sharp point, the last thing you need to do is ‘bake’ it. This is a process that uses heat to strengthen and reinforce your spear’s point.
Build and light a small campfire. Hold the tip of your spear above the fire, with the point just barely touching the flames. Slowly rotate the spear until it starts to change color. This removes all the moisture from your spear, leaving it tougher.
When the entire point is darkened, your spear is fully baked.
While this spear is fairly simple, it’s a handy survival tool in a pinch. You can use strips of cloth of the natural bark on the branch as a grip, which makes it much easier to use and handle.
Making an Improvised Knife Spear
While wooden spears are great as a simple tool and weapon, their uses are limited and they become blunt fairly quickly.
If you need to make a spear with more of an edge, a knife spear is a straight upgrade to the primitive wooden spear.
Once again, you need to start off by finding a suitable haft (the pole part of your spear). A straight and rigid branch or pole is a must, as this will keep your grip and the point steady and secure.
One thing to look out for is the strength of the wood. While your spear needs to be tough enough to survive wear and tear, you also need to be able to cut into it.
With your haft found, you need to prepare it. Trim your branch completely, removing any knobs or bumps as well as any loose bark. You want a solid and comfortable grip when using your spear.
Next, you need to create a ‘shelf’ for your knife to rest in. Using your knife, cut long, thin strips vertically along the tip of your haft.
These strips should make a notch the same length, height, and depth of your knife’s handle snugly. Cut the strips out to form the shelf for your knife.
To attach the knife to your handle, fit it into the notch. Then take a length of rope or cloth, and start wrapping it tightly around where the knife fits into the handle.
Start a few inches below the knife, working towards the tip. You might want to wrap back down the shaft of the spear as well for extra stability. Finish it off with a simple tight knot.
Making a Spear With A Spearhead
You can purchase proper steel spearheads from many bladesmiths, either online or at knife and hunting stores. These can be used to make high-quality spears, as well as making the spear much easier to craft.
If you’re using a store-bought spearhead, you may as well get a store-bought haft too. If you’d prefer to use natural wood instead, ash and oak are the best options due to their strength.
Your branch needs to be the right size for your spearhead. If the haft is too thin, your spearhead won’t have a secure fit. A haft that’s slightly too big is preferable, as you can taper the wood for a snug fit.
Gently taper the tip of your branch, being careful not to cut too far down the shaft. When you attach your spearhead, it shouldn’t be able to budge.
Many store-bought spearheads will have small holes in the socket (the hollow part where the haft slots in). These are so you can drive a nail or pin through and secure the spearhead firmly to the haft.
Using a pen, mark where on the pole the holes are and remove the spearhead. Make sure that the holes are in line and that the spearhead doesn’t shift, as the nail will need to go straight to go through both holes.
Take a small drill and drill a hole through the middle of the haft, connecting the two markers. Put the spearhead back on your haft, lining up the holes in the socket with the hole through the haft.
Push a nail or pin through, making sure that there is a bit of excess on either side. Use a ball-peen hammer to flatten down the nail, securing the spearhead firmly in place.
Now you know how to make three different types of simple spears in just a few easy steps. Remember: spears are weapons, not toys, and can be dangerous if they aren’t handled properly. Always make sure you’re staying safe with a spear.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how to make a spear. Whether you’re preparing for a survival situation or want to make a spear for recreational use, by following these simple steps you’ll be able to make a great simple spear in no time at all!