some more spears

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Dave Budd

Gold Trader
Staff member
Jan 8, 2006
Dartmoor (Devon)
how picky people are about accuracy does depend on why they want the spear. If they are wanting a piece for a particular period, then yes it has to be correct (or at least plausible within known shapes/sizes). But i they just want a cool looking pointy thing, then whatever appeals really :D

The generic spear head of the Anglo Saxon period (give or take a few centuries) is not a throwing weapon. The little heads of only a few inches are the throwing variety, but not the 7-14" blades! The long narrow heads tend to be referred to as lances in the texts and are thought to be for mounted use rather than foot combat, but I doubt the warrior would see much definition between which weapon they use.

I made some throwing spear shafts for an iron age friend using both willow and hazel and they worked just fine, no more prone to snapping off than ash. Also a thrown weapon that breaks on impact can't be thrown back at you, hence the Roman Pila having built in weakspots for that purpose. There are writings of the Celts catching spears mid flight and chucking them back at the thrower. When it comes to the larger spear heads then 20-30mm thick wood of any variety is going to be tough to snap anyway!


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 6, 2008
South Queensferry
Myagi: In Europe, the UK included, most spear shafts archaeologically appear to be ash or willow, though hazel, chestnut and elm have been found. Most woods are better cleft and shaved to round rather than used 'in the round', but straightish hazel and willow shafts are so quick and easy from a well managed stool :)

I like that info about the tassels and ribbons on spears, makes sense. I expect it also helps to distract the opponent from the dangerous part too?

Thanks for the info Dave.

I agree about the cleaving and shaving, I know the Japanese traditional way is to square them and season them outside under cover, in all weathers, turning them every so often over a year or more before shaving to shape. This is a very long slow process as you can imagine. All of our practice weapons are seasoned oak.

In times of high demand during the civil wars (sengoku jidai), I think they simply turned to bamboo for mass production The Ashigaru (foot soldiers) who made up the largest portions of the armies were drawn from the villages and estates and not of the Samurai class per se. As such, they wouldn't be afforded an expensively produced spear and sword.


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