How to Make a Shaft for a Spear

By Edwin Thomas

Making a spear shaft is a basic woodcrafts project that might appeal to historians, prop managers, reenactors or someone who wants that extra something special for a Halloween costume. The spear need not even be dangerous, since the spear head could be made from foam or plastic, and even a metal spearhead can have a buttoned tip. Making the spear requires only a few tools and no specialized skills; the trickiest part might turn out to be finding suitable wood for the shaft.

List of Items Needed

  • Hardwood tree branch or pole
  • Hatchet
  • Knife
  • Plane
  • Rasp
  • Wood-peeling knives
  • Handheld rotary tool with 60-grit sanding disc
  • Medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Linseed oil
  • Paintbrush
  1. Find a suitable piece of wood. You must use a hardwood for a spear shaft, with ash and hazel being two classic choices. The shaft could be anywhere from 5 to 12 feet long, but must be between 1 and 2 inches thick. You may be able to find a tool pole to convert into a spear shaft, but you may also need to harvest the shaft from a straight tree branch. If you use a suitable tool pole, skip to Step 4.

  2. Cut off branches and twigs with a hatchet. Whittle the bark from the tree branch with a knife.

  3. Hang the pole from hooks and allow it to season for three to four weeks.

  4. Trim off excess wood and shape the shaft into a rough cylindrical shape with a plane, rasp and wood-peeling knives. Sand down wood knots with a handheld rotary tool fitted with a 60-grit sanding disc accessory.

  5. Sand the shaft into a smooth, rounded cylindrical shape by wrapping medium-grit sandpaper (100- or 120-grit) around the shaft and rubbing it up and down. Finish the sanding using the same procedure with fine-grit (180- to 240-grit) sandpaper.

  6. Apply linseed oil to the shaft using a paintbrush. Allow the oil to cure overnight, and keep repeating the procedure until you have applied at least three coats of linseed oil to the shaft.

Tips and Warnings

  • Depending on your spearhead, you may need to taper the front end of the spear shaft to fit the spearhead.

© Demand Media 2011