March 24, 2013, 08:24 PM
Hi, couldn't find any old threads about spears. I have found great interest in them and was looking at buying a spearhead or spear outright. Basically I am looking for a decent spearhead. I am going to mount it on a 7'-8' shaft.

I know that this is a very vauge and different question, but what would be a decent spearhead for under $100 that is somewhat historicaly accurate to those of the Greek hopilites?

Purpose/Need for this: none
Want: 8/10

Oh any links to techniques would be appreciated, but I'm sure I could roughly go off of an old bayonet manual.

Thank you,
P.B. Walsh

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March 24, 2013, 08:40 PM
Museum Replicas has a couple (http://www.museumreplicas.com/c-32-pole-arms-spearheads-butt-caps.aspx) of different offerings, both "Greek" and replicas from the movie 300.

March 24, 2013, 08:44 PM
Yeah, I have looked at those, came real close to buying, I was just unsure of their comstruction and durability, I do not want a "showpeice", but something funtional.

Lets not get on how a firearm or other tool is better, I hate nonfunctional items.

March 24, 2013, 08:54 PM

Seller also has a lot of others. I have a 20" leaf-shaped spearhead from this same manufacturer (Windlass) that performs very well though, the edges were not sharp when I received it. Fit's nicely on a shovel handle with a little sanding and a screw. Only jabbed it into straw targets but it's held up and makes neat holes.

If you want to learn technique, find a local HEMA or SCA chapter.

March 24, 2013, 09:07 PM
Spear is the ultimate close-range manual weapon. The basic manual of arms is easy to learn, and it's really, really hard to stop and deceptively fast. 8-9' overall is about ideal, with a slightly shorter spear (counter-intuitively) being better suited for use by very skilled practitioners.

Something like a Cold Steel Boar Spear isn't a bad way to go, just starting out.

Fred Fuller
March 24, 2013, 11:14 PM
I've been reading S. M Stirling's 'Change' series lately, and it's given me a deeper appreciation for weapons and tactics in the pre-gunpowder era. I've always had an interest in how technology drove tactics after the invention of gunpowder (thanks to exposure some years ago to Art Alphin's lectures at the USMA) and this is proving to be a natural extension of that interest.

See http://hem.bredband.net/b108107/stirling/ for some sample chapters from Stirling, if interested.

BTW, you might consider a butt spike for your hoplite spear as well, if you want it for thrusting and not throwing. Museum Replicas sells Windlass Steelcrafts' products - http://www.museumreplicas.com/c-32-pole-arms-spearheads-butt-caps.aspx, and Kult of Athena has a wider variety - http://www.kultofathena.com/spears.asp.

I ran across http://www.amazon.com/STORM-OF-SPEARS-Understanding-Hoplite/dp/161200119X - it looks interesting...

March 24, 2013, 11:54 PM
Well, butt spikes have disadvantages, too, especially for the beginner. I'd start with something simpler, until you've had some practice. A sharp end and a blunt end gives versatility, and you're less likely to hurt yourself.


Fred Fuller
March 25, 2013, 12:35 AM
I was thinking more for balance, than lizard-sticking... :D


March 25, 2013, 12:51 AM
Glistam, gonna sound stupid, but how are you attaching it? Glue or a screw? If a screw, how did you drill through hardened steel?

Glad to know that the ones from KoA and the other Windlass ones are decent, I was wary because of their prices.

March 25, 2013, 06:34 AM
You could get a Cold Steel Bushman cheap and attach the hollow handle to the end of a wooden pole.

SOG also make the Spirit Knife, which is also designed to be mounted on the end of a long pole. You should be able to get either of these for well under $40.

You could also check out a martial art store for a Chinese Red Tassel spear. Not really sure how well the spear point would hold up in actual use. The wood will definitely hold up well, as I practiced with one a lot doing mock battle with a Chinese broad sword.

March 25, 2013, 08:50 AM
P.B.Walsh, the leaf spear had a hole drilled in it already for this purpose. I believe that most Windlass spearheads come this way. If I were to get a socketed head with no hole, it would not be difficult to use a tungsten carbide bit or other drill-bit that is specifically designed to go through metal (just takes patience). It might even be worth it to add a hole or two for extra strength, and a generous amount of JB Weld might help it stay secure even more (I didn't do this because I wanted it to be removable). It is worth it to carefully shape and sand your shaft until it fits securely without wobbling.

March 25, 2013, 02:25 PM
Ok, thats good then, now off to find a shaft that is at least 7'. Are dowel rods good for this purpose? If not I'll find a tree sapling.

March 25, 2013, 02:31 PM
Hickory is good. Canvas micarta is best, but good luck finding a 1 1/8" piece 7' long. I used to use 6' dowels as bo staves, but long dowels are rare.


March 25, 2013, 03:11 PM
Your average hardware store dowel rod is going to be pine. Not gonna work, too soft. Like John said, hickory is good if you find it that long (most shovel and axe handles are hickory). If you know a wushu place they often sell 6-9 foot shafts of Chinese Waxwood (Ligustrum lucidum), which is used both for fighting staves and for those classic Chinese spears with the red fur. It's very strong but tends to be a bit "whippy" and therefore suited to that specific style of spear technique. Ash is your classic spear shaft wood from Europe though I don't know offhand where to get shafts that long.

Fred Fuller
March 25, 2013, 07:48 PM
A different approach to caribou hunting... might find it interesting.

March 25, 2013, 08:04 PM

Hickory or Ash shafts are available.

March 25, 2013, 08:42 PM
What about useing a bayonet or some kind of knife with grips taken off down to the tang ? How deep should a tang go and how would you secure it ? Would Gorilla glue hold a tang in place,or what other method would you use ? :confused:

March 25, 2013, 10:22 PM
What about using a bayonet or some kind of knife with grips taken off down to the tang ? How deep should a tang go and how would you secure it ?Bad idea.

The old spears were mostly self ferruled with a metal ferrule that fit over the end of the shaft.

There is no way to attach a spear-head to a wood shaft by the narrow tang without weakening the shaft, or the blade.
Or wrapping or reinforcing it with a separate ferrule or wire wrap.
Which still leaves a weak tang to break.

Your best bet for a store bought shaft is a hickory or oak handle garden hoe or weed digger.

But you will have to set your sights lower then a 7' long one.

One the other hand, you are talking about a spear, not a pike.

The Roman pilum was decisive in battle for centurys, and the wood handle was only 4' - 5' long.

Of course, the soft iron speer point was another 1' - 2' long and bent over and tripped you in your own blood pool when you tried to fight with one sticking out of your chest.

Probably the most effective spear ever invented and used in war.

Much longer pikes are another matter.

Start here and go there for cheap!

I keep one in the garage for the yard, and I pity the fool that tried to take it out of my hands by force.


Jim Watson
March 25, 2013, 11:20 PM
I visited the Randall Knife shop and saw some of their spears.
Some were on steel conduit shafts, taped or whipped for grip.
Unfortunately I did not study the method of attachment of the ones with wood shafts.

March 26, 2013, 11:58 AM
Micarta would be nice, but very... very pricy. If had had the money, I would spring for a seven foot peice. The link above has a 7' ash pole for $25 before shipping, probably will go that route. Now needing to deside between a longer hewing shape or the greek style in the links above....

I honestly didnt think that this thread would get so many responses, thanks ya'll!

March 26, 2013, 12:33 PM
Slightly better price: http://www2.knifecenter.com/item/CIOX005/CAS-Hanwei-84-inch-Ash-Pole

By-The-Sword is a good seller with items you cannot find anywhere else, but sometimes can be a crapshoot when they actually ship it.

March 26, 2013, 03:48 PM
Hmm Hanwei, heard good about them, and it is cheaper.....

March 28, 2013, 07:20 PM
Today I received the Cold Steel Boar Spear that I had ordered. JShirley had mentioned it in a previous posting, and I had been interested in their spears a few years ago. So, I ordered one off of ebay.

I must say, I am impressed with it. It seems to be a very formidable weapon. Very heavy duty, and solid. Solid as a rock. Like a bayonet on steroids. I like it's length, too. Not too long, or short, for in the home defense, at least that's my impression.

Now I want to check out some spears for throwing purposes. I see some videos on YouTube, and they seem to be something else to explore.

Thanks for this thread. I'm very happen with this spear.

March 28, 2013, 09:57 PM
I was watching Cold Steel's video on that spear and it looked way too big..... am I wrong?

March 29, 2013, 06:18 AM
Total length with head is about 7 feet. I was awed by it's massiveness and weight at first, but I don't think that it's too heavy or long. It's not meant for throwing. It has a very formidable feel to it. The length is good for keeping something at bay. The double bladed head is about a foot in length. Very impressive. You don't want to be at the wrong of this spear.

March 29, 2013, 01:43 PM
Hold the spear with your lead hand palm up, underneath the haft/shaft. Your hands should be about shoulder width apart, with an approximately equal amount of spear on either side of your hands. Blade your body. Think of a standard right-angle triangle, with your lead foot being the point, and your rear foot being the far-right end of the L. (Well, your rear foot might be a little "steeper", but that's the basic idea.) The spear point should be higher in front than at the butt. If you want to thrust straight forward or even down, your lead hand can easily adjust.

The spear shaft should be smooth enough not to catch, but not too smooth, or you'll get carpet burn and the wood will stick to your skin. You can thrust with one of several motions.

1. Holding the spear, you can advance, thrusting with the body alone.
2. You can thrust just by extending both arms at the same time.
3. You can slide your rear hand back, grasp the shaft, and then let the shaft slide through your lead hand.
4. You can slide your lead hand back, grasp the shaft, and left the shaft slide through your rear hand. This is deceptive, and it's hard to see.
5. You can step forward while using #2, 3, or 4.

Basic kata: the most basic spear kata- and over 90% of what is needed to practice using spear- is pretty simple.

You face a swordsman. Thrust towards his forearm* using 2, 3, or 4. If he doesn't move, stab his forearm and continue to thrust into his body. If he does move, use one of the other thrusts and continue to thrust into his body. Simple and effective. Practice this a few times, and it's a real eye-opener- and fast. Again, this is most of what a spearman needs to know. It can be refined, but it doesn't take much practice at all to be very dangerous. A mediocre spear guy will beat a good swordsman.

Hope this helps.

*Practice spears can be made by cutting open a tennis ball, and putting it over the end of a long rod. Then the last 16" or so of the rod should be covered with thick PVC insulation- multiple layers are a good idea. Cover all of this with heavy tape. You still don't want to hit anyone in the head with this, but it's still much safer than just a plain staff, and is weighted more like a real spear.

RC, I submit that Roman discipline and leadership is what conquered, not the silly little spear. Oda Nobunaga (http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Oda_Nobunaga.html) conquered and united most of Japan. One of his innovations was a 14' spear.


March 29, 2013, 05:03 PM
Thanks for the excellent advice, John. I must say that the Cold Steel Boar Spear is impressive, and feels very empowering when holding it. I'm glad that I have it in the arsenal. I'll be going over your comments and working with it.

Andrew Wyatt
March 29, 2013, 06:07 PM
here. have a video on spears, illustrating the underhand technique, From lindybeige on youtube.


March 29, 2013, 06:19 PM
Thanks for the info on the C.S. spear, and to JShirley for the tips!

March 29, 2013, 06:48 PM
What about a closet rod from Lowe's or Home depot?

March 29, 2013, 07:05 PM
Is it basically a dowel? Depends the wood, the width, and the length. 1 1/8 to 1 1/4" around is the right width. Length for the shaft before mounting the head should be about 6.5-7'.

March 29, 2013, 07:30 PM
Agreeing with John, with regard to my boar spear. It is 7 feet long, and seems long at first, until you get used to it. Then, you appreciate the length. It is best to have the length, I think. It works out good in my house, with about an 8 foot something ceiling. I have found that with canes, too. Best to be a bit long. Length is a good thing.

The shaft of the boar spear measures 1.5 inches. It is hefty. Feels pretty good in the hand.

Sam Cade
March 29, 2013, 08:10 PM
I know a few guys who hunt with straightened out crack hoes.

Crack hoes. :evil:


Seriously though.
Crack hoe (http://www.asphaltsealcoatingdirect.com/files/styles/uc_product_full/public/dynamic/content/product/image/238/crack-hoe.jpg).

March 29, 2013, 08:32 PM
Here's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMQ2Uuj6yJY) a decent video. There are some advanced moves in here, too, but the fluid, lightning-fast thrust (tsuki) should be really obvious. You should also remember that distance is your friend, with the spear. It's like rifle vs handgun. If you have the rifle, distance is your friend.

March 29, 2013, 08:33 PM
What about a closet rod from Lowe's or Home depot?
Soft wood. Way too brittle. It will break with little effort and would be dangerous for the person holding it. Replacement shovel handle would be much better. Go to a real lumber yard and they will have Ash or Hickory staves. Reasonably priced.
Wax wood is another option. Harder to find, but although it's very springy, it's almost impossible to break. Good piece of bamboo would work too.

March 29, 2013, 08:56 PM
Seriously, what's wrong with just getting a big sharp stick to practice with?

Sharp sticks have been with us -- and serving us quite well -- for a very long time . . .

March 29, 2013, 11:10 PM
Well, a sharp stick is a spear. Be careful.

March 29, 2013, 11:22 PM
I picked up a spear from IMA (http://www.ima-usa.com/) that was supposed to be an iklwa but turned out to be much too heavy and bulky to be a one-hand stabbing weapon. I re-hafted it on a 6 foot by 1-1/4 inch birch shaft. It makes a pretty good general-purpose 2-hand thrusting spear, adequate for boar in my estimation.

March 30, 2013, 01:47 AM
Sharp sticks are uhhmm not as cool.... everyone knows that! Just kidding, they make good tree fodder.

March 30, 2013, 03:58 PM
Thanks for the link, John. There's some great moves going on, and shows the capabilities of using a spear for defense. Very instructional.

March 30, 2013, 09:11 PM
Sure thing. :) Just remember that some of that video is footage of students practicing- don't lead with your head like that green belt.

April 4, 2013, 05:34 PM
Hey John, I was handling my boar spear today, and something occurred to me. I found myself leading with the spear head end, but also switching to the the butt end. I am ambidexterous, so I find that I can use either hand, either way. I remember what you mentioned about using a tennis ball on a separate shaft for practice purposes, and thought that maybe putting a tennis ball on the butt end of the boar spear would balance out the spear, and give me the choice of using blunt force/jabbing techniques, or a slashing/piercing alternative. I was just wondering your ideas in that regard.

Thanks in advance...

April 4, 2013, 05:44 PM
In sojutsu Japanese spear techniques, the blunt end would be more likely to be used as a strike, while the pointy end would most often be used for a thrust.

You can thrust with the blunt end, but you probably don't want that sharp spear tip too near you. So if it's not near you (i.e., your hands are still near the middle of the spear), you must not be using the spear's length to your advantage.


April 4, 2013, 06:10 PM
Thanks, and good "point" about the sharp head in the rear position possibly getting too near myself. I find the cross guard of the boar spear a good safety measure to prevent that from happening, so that the rear hand prevents that sharp end from getting too close to myself, at least, in most situations.

April 5, 2013, 12:14 AM
DeTerminator, I saw some close-ups of the C.S.B.S. and it looked cheaply made, can you testify to this? Looks good for $80.... maybe too good?

April 5, 2013, 07:57 AM
I think that it's worth the money, very sturdy. I'm glad I bought mine.

April 5, 2013, 10:02 AM
Here's mine, finally got it out of storage from the winter:

It's on a hickory shovel handle. The blade is 14" and the overall length is 6' 4". This is just small enough to wield one handed (if your so inclined) and it can be thrown, just not very efficiently compared to a proper javelin.

April 5, 2013, 11:41 AM
Is that a spearhead from Windlass? How are you liking it?

April 5, 2013, 12:46 PM
Yes it's Windlass. No complaints, though the edges come dull from the factory. The point itself is sharp enough to pierce most things even if the edges are left unsharpened. I mainly used it on straw targets.

April 5, 2013, 06:32 PM
Nice looking thrower, glistam. Thanks for the photo.

Dirty Bob
April 7, 2013, 01:53 PM
For throwing, you can make a simple pilum. Hammer one end of a piece of steel rod to a leaf-shaped point. Drill about a 6" deep hole into a tool handle (hardwood, not pine). I like to wrap it to prevent splitting. Just coat the wood with water-resistant carpenter's glue and wrap with string or twine. This also makes a convenient grip. After seating the rod in the handle, drill a small hole and insert a small nail or piece of wire.

The pilum is one of the most efficient throwing spears of all time, and they're not hard to make, in a simplified form.

Here's a link with more info:


All my best,
Dirty Bob

April 7, 2013, 02:25 PM
They work great on Hogs. I would not want to get stuck with one for sure.

April 8, 2013, 06:43 AM
Arms and Armor has some nice reproduction spears, and also sells a 1 1/8" ash pole for use as a haft. Higher quality (and more expensive) than the Windlass stuff. (Not a knock on the Windlass, just a statement of the quality from A&A.)


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