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Jacob D. Green




Location: Richmond, VA
Joined: 11 Feb 2009

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 3:07 pm    Post subject: Spear construction         Reply with quote

I'm trying to make a spear that's reasonably historically accurate from the time of the Third Crusade. There's a spearhead from Native Way I'm interested in purchasing (referred to in an old post on this forum which I can't find):

http://nativeway.safewebshop.com/socketed_lance_head.html

I want to fit it on a good 6' or 7' handle. I've found the 84" ash pole from the Armory and a 72" white oak bo staff that I can use:

http://www.armory.net/item.cfm/RecordID/AP-1111.htm

http://www.wle.com/products/00279.html

Any suggestions, information, or history that you might have would be fantastic. Also, what do you suggest I do about shipping costs? I can't reach the Armory for more information, and the price for shipping oversize items like these poles are outrageous.

Thanks in advance for the help,

Jacob
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D. Austin
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you checked your local hardware store for 40mm hardwood dowel? It may cost a lot compared to your spear head but this way you could avoid paying shipping costs. Just look for a nice straight one with the grain mostly running straight down it's length.
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Jacob D. Green




Location: Richmond, VA
Joined: 11 Feb 2009

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a good idea... I figured hardware stores would only have shovel handles and closet rods, and I didn't figure the rods would be of great quality.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,368

PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The spearhead looks nice, but 1-1/2 inch diameter socket? That sounds awfully big! I'd say even 1-1/4" is pushing it. One inch to 1-1/8" is a better range, at least for an infantry spear. Don't know if cavalry lances were heavier, maybe. Anyone have any hard data for that era? Most of what I know is Greek and Roman (which frequently were under an inch!).

I've gotten some nice bronze tidbits and other stuff from Native Way. Generally nice folks to deal with. But, "A lance is a thrusting, stabbing tool as opposed to a spear." Um, what?

Vale,

Matthew
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Jacob D. Green




Location: Richmond, VA
Joined: 11 Feb 2009

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 7:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
"A lance is a thrusting, stabbing tool as opposed to a spear."


Haha- I thought that was pretty funny, too. I think it's semantics, though - they're obviously not talking about the Middle Ages, and Wikipedia has a huge list of "spears which are not usually thrown" and "spears usually thrown." Whatever, I dunno.

For Greek and Roman spears, are you referring to a pilum? Because those are like javelins, and the reason they had such a small front end was to increase the puncturing power on their throws. All of that weight in the back creates an awful lot of force.

As I understand it, spears from the era were pretty stout - shorter versions of lances. I could be wrong. Anybody know?
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Andrew Pribor





Joined: 29 Dec 2007

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello, this was my experience with this piece,

I purchased this spear head a little over a year ago & had a friend pin the head onto a hardwood shaft so I could use it in some spear training on straw bales (non hard targets)

The head snapped off at the thinnest junction after only a couple clean throws. It appears that just the weight of the shaft was enough to break it. The steel had the "powdery" look of a poorly cast piece, hence the low price and : "hand made to our specifications in Pakistan"

If this only a decoration piece, no problem, but if you plan on actually using the spear for anything other than show, beware.

For only a little bit more money you can get a more historically correct & functional spear head.
(though I do now have a very nice steel tipped bon fire stick Big Grin )

"The Bow brings grief and sorrow to the foeman; armed with Bow may we sudue all regions."
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Jacob,

I have two of these lance heads. There was a little discussion of these in this thread:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ght=native

Basically I was very happy with the heads, but the sockerts are very thick. The good news is that they are generic enough to be useable in a wide range of eras and areas, without having a fantasy/ahistorical feel. Plus the price is great.

I have one on a plain old 1 /18th inch closet rod (shhh don't tell anyone) and one on a hardwood walking staff. I don't plan on puncturing any bodies with them so that works for me, plus hardwood is ghastly expensive here in the US NW. We did dig up a website that sells ash poles for tree limbing saws, that is probably the cheapest way to buy long ash poles, but the shipping is going to hurt even so.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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R D Moore




Location: Portland Oregon
Joined: 09 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Feb, 2009 8:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, Jacob

I bought two of these lance heads, too, and couldn't find any hardwood hafts in 1 1/2" diameter that wouldn't have to be custom turned. I did an internet search using "hanwei spear hafts" and ordered a couple from a California (I can't remember who) company. They sent them in a 7 foot heavy cardboard tube and were well packed. The shipping was over $35.00, though...$20 for the lance head, $24 for the 7' ash haft and $17.50 for the shipping...per lance. I believe the shipping was going to be $35 for one haft so the two of them spread the cost a bit.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Jacob D. Green




Location: Richmond, VA
Joined: 11 Feb 2009

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the information, guys.

D. Austin, I did check at my hardware store, and they didn't have anything over 4' in length.

Andrew, you say
Andrew Pribor wrote:
For only a little bit more money you can get a more historically correct & functional spear head. (though I do now have a very nice steel tipped bon fire stick Big Grin )
... Where do you suggest I look? Also, did you get just one head from Native Way? Is there a chance your spearhead was just a bad piece in a good lot? I would like to be able to throw it...

R D Moore, is this the place you got your shafts from? http://www.iloveswords.com/CEL_Access101.html I looked around on their site and couldn't find where they were based; it could be California.

Gavin, thanks for the link. Your review was what I was referring to in my original post. That was a long discussion about the merits of a flush join between the socket and the shaft, haha.

Again, thanks for your replies. ...How historical is white oak? I know mostly it grows in the NE of the USA, but is it anywhere else? How about red oak? And is ash used so frequently just because it's strong, or are there other magic properties it possesses?
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R D Moore




Location: Portland Oregon
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacob

That is the compant I bought mine from: http://www.iloveswords.com/CEL_Access101.html

I used a wood rasp to fit the pole to the lance head. Fill the socket with soot from an alchohol lamp or a candle, fit the socket to the pole, and take down the sooted high spots with the rasp or file. Be careful when you get close to the finish not to take too much wood off. The ideal is to have a snugly fitted lance head while leaving the tapered end fairly well sooted...closest fit you can get of wood to metal.


This may be a better source for you: http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=CIOX005 It looks to be less money and closer to VA.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,368

PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacob D. Green wrote:
For Greek and Roman spears, are you referring to a pilum? Because those are like javelins, and the reason they had such a small front end was to increase the puncturing power on their throws.


Nope, regular spearheads. They're quite common finds on Roman sites, in a range of sizes, but the most common ones run 8 to 10 inches long overall, with surprisingly narrow sockets. Lots of smaller ones, too, but it's hard to tell whether any particular head might have been a javelin, or a spear, or a throwing spear, or what! There are a few nice big ones, but I don't think the sockets are ever over 1-1/4" at most.

Vale,

Matthew
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R D Moore




Location: Portland Oregon
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may want to calculate your initial costs, figure in the hours of labor and then compare it all to this
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/pole146.html

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Mark Hanna





Joined: 11 Sep 2008

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have thrown the Hanwie "throwing spear" head with a closet pole shaft quit vigorously without having any problems breaking or bending. The targets were haybails, a shield and earth when we missed.

Mark
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Jacob D. Green




Location: Richmond, VA
Joined: 11 Feb 2009

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2009 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R D Moore wrote:
This may be a better source for you: http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=CIOX005 It looks to be less money and closer to VA.


I can't tell from the order checkout whether or not I'll get charged oversize shipping fees - it says "minimum S&H $6.95." Has anybody ordered these shafts? Is there a $15 charge for oversize shipping? Also, if I get this stave, how would you recommend shrinking the socket on the Native Way head (assuming I buy that as well)? The Knife Center staff is .25" smaller in diameter than the socket on the spearhead.
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D. Austin
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb, 2009 2:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacob D. Green wrote:
Also, if I get this stave, how would you recommend shrinking the socket on the Native Way head (assuming I buy that as well)? The Knife Center staff is .25" smaller in diameter than the socket on the spearhead.


"Shrinking" the socket is quite an involved job, however a simple solution could be to shorten the socket by having a competent person cut it down with an angle grinder and finish it by filing/sanding. This will give you a smaller diameter, but unfortunately, a slightly shorter socket too.
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Andrew Pribor





Joined: 29 Dec 2007

Posts: 52

PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb, 2009 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jacob D. Green wrote:


Andrew, you say
Andrew Pribor wrote:
For only a little bit more money you can get a more historically correct & functional spear head. (though I do now have a very nice steel tipped bon fire stick Big Grin )
... Where do you suggest I look? Also, did you get just one head from Native Way? Is there a chance your spearhead was just a bad piece in a good lot? I would like to be able to throw it...


Jacob, KoA is a great site for various reasons. I have played around with the Windlass "Viking spear head" ($34.95) & it is very durable.

http://www.kultofathena.com/spears.htm

There is always a chance that I did get "the bad one in the batch" from Native Way, but what do you expect for $20.
Worried

"The Bow brings grief and sorrow to the foeman; armed with Bow may we sudue all regions."
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Sun 22 Feb, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many artifacts of "war lance/ spear" head proportion construction actually have very narrow sockets and needle like points. 20 to 23 mm diameter at the base where the wood enters is about right for a wide range of central Europe finds dated near 12th century. (Spear heads are different in your stated period than in earlier Viking-Norman period.) I have not looked in a while, but you can get a feel for proportions and easily scale it from vendors such as Ancient Touch. http://www.ancienttouch.com/medieval%20arms.htm

For a 6 to 7' long spear, you could probably find a long rake handle from the hardware store and just gradually taper the last two feet of it near the socket. Handles made of hickory are heavy, but you may be able to find an ash handle, which would be about right with some tapering.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Feb, 2009 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A related question, if I may.

A spear shaft; does it taper from the butt to the head, or is it constant through it's length, then tapering somewhere before the part where the head is fixed?

M.

This space for rent or lease.
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Jacob D. Green




Location: Richmond, VA
Joined: 11 Feb 2009

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Mon 23 Feb, 2009 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg, go here: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...ght=native ...The discussion leads me to believe the staffs were straight until the socket , then there's a taper to fit the head. I could be misinterpreting the posts, but I think they're straight.

Jared, thanks for the link - that's most helpful. The Windlass "Viking spear head" seems most like the first two spears on the site; I've changed my mind about the Native Way head and will be buying that one. It's not as thin as the Hanwei spear, but I won't have to remove all of that niello crap.

D. Austin and Andrew, thanks for your replies - As I said above, I've decided to go with the Windlass product from KoA.... more expensive, but higher quality, right? And I won't have to shrink the socket or find a 1.5" staff to shape.
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