Making stab safe spears

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Making stab safe spears

Post  Oenos [Daedanauts] on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:54 am

Making the spears is a lot easier and cheaper than I had feared. I reckon they can be churned out for about £15 for a 63" (5'3") spear. These might sound a little short but I think that's about as long as you can make them with the cheap 12mm fibreglass tube without them going really wangy. I made a longer one, 72" I think, and it got frowns during weapon check though they did let me use it under the promise that I would only use it one-handed (you can't wang with one hand). People generally preferred the shorter ones anyway - they are light enough that you can hold them one-handed nearer the ass-end if you want a longer poke.

They had little heads (but still within PD limits for stab safety) and if they hadn't looked really ropey because I'm a retard at cutting open-cell foam I think they would have looked just as good as the vendor ones.

If you guys want I can post up the method.
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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Philip on Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:20 am

I have converted repaired, built over a half doxen stab safe spears. The actual converting of the tip (I did that with an edritch 5 and a bit footer) or fix as apposed to a complete build went well. Only every had a few probems. First with the very first one I made which was before tallows guidlines were given to me by simon and second with a converted eldritch stave that went really wippy with the head wieghing it down (the stave was poorly made with no tip rienforcment and a cheap core, I managed to get it passed for half the event before the consequences of retipping it in under a day caught up with it. The last one that caused issue was building a trident, It turned out two wippy but I was using an old core to experiment with so thats ok and needed redooing after i had not reinforced the side prongs enougth.

Making them does eat through blades in my experience (as new really sharp blades give a good smooth cut on the foam). Not sure how you can do them for 15 quid as a whole staff. Even with economy of scale for the latex, isoflex etc, you need to factor in glue, foam, paints blades, cloth tape postage costs for some of these items ie foam. Unless your using pipe lagging for the shafts foam.

I am going to finish my project to try and make some javlins using materials I already have lying around and reckon 15 quid could cover their construction (admitidly a guess)

Finally there is the fact that have found the profesional weapons makers spears do generally handle better (the exception is the retipped eltritch spear of mine) with a one handed style. In fact I think tallows one handed spears are the best at the moment. I find wandering soldiers to chunky although apperantly there is work on a wieghted spear that might pass weapons check.

All in all I didnt personally find building a stab safe spear from scratch worth it especially as its so easy for it to fail or have issues. Fixing one, converting one from a cheap nackered non stab safe weapon which was in need of tlc seemed to work better for me. But thats just my experience, we are all different.

Making the shields was well worth it though, could save a significant amount and allow you to make personalised shields. I noticed a lot of peope had home made shields. My fianal designs were modified with advice from Tallows (which really helped) and came out as strong and durable as I wanted. My early shields needed tlc and I had a lot to learn about straps and making them durable enougth (had previously only made center boss shields)

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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Oenos [Daedanauts] on Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:37 am

Ptomely wrote:
Making them does eat through blades in my experience (as new really sharp blades give a good smooth cut on the foam). Not sure how you can do them for 15 quid as a whole staff. Even with economy of scale for the latex, isoflex etc, you need to factor in glue, foam, paints blades, cloth tape postage costs for some of these items ie foam. Unless your using pipe lagging for the shafts foam.

The amount of plastazote required is pretty minimal for the shaft. A 6" by 48" rectangle of 12mm more than covers everything you'll need. That's only 2sqft - those 1m x 2m slabs of plastazote are over 20sqft and cost about £15. The core is the most expensive thing but it's still only about a fiver. Glue is quite dear but you don't need much on such thin strips. I reckon a £5 tub of evostik will do three spears. Latex isn't too much of an expense. A 5l (£35 or so?) bottle made 5 hoplite shields, 3 spears, 4 shortswords, a longsword and 6 daggers and there was some left at the end - I reckon 3.5l of that was on the shields. The open cell foam is next to nothing. I didn't use cloth tape, I just glued cheap cloth down round the head. An isoflex tin (£11 or so from B&Q) was nearly enough for all of those, too. There's a bit of leather for the grip and other bits and bobs (brushes, blades etc) that might cost another two or three quid. Admittedly, I haven't specifically factored postage in, but I reckon there's enough headroom there.
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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Philip on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:00 am

I found an isofex tine did two shields and some weaponry. But then I use two coats of isoflex, and I go through lots of blades and use electrical tape alot to hold things.

Impressed you could get the 12mmill to fold I have always struggeled but then my basements not glue friendly.


I Allways use cloth tape for the spears, get my leather quite cheap or use ofcuts.

Used a LOT of glue on the shields. Particularly when lining them with linen for strength.

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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Oenos [Daedanauts] on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:47 am

Ptomely wrote:
Impressed you could get the 12mmill to fold I have always struggeled but then my basements not glue friendly.

I don't fold the 12mm to make a shaft. I use three layers to make a square-section block and bevel the corners to make an octagon, then mini-bevel them again to make a rough sixteen-agon. Then sand the blighter to a circle. I assume that's what you meant by fold and not the domeyness of the shield.

Edit: And, yes, I only use one layer of isoflex and a touch-up. It will probably reduce the life of the objects, but since they're only getting wheeled out for a couple of weekends a year I suspect that they will be retired before the iso goes (except for the spears which are surely destined for tip failure before anything else - though they survived event 1 far more intact than I thought).

Edit2: Yes shields eat up a lot of glue. Mine use a tin of solventy evostik, a can of spray evostik and half a tin of solvent-free evostik. That's over a tenner in glue.
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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Archimedes on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:00 am

Gpt you. Your building the traditional baton then sanding it. I really do need to beg my dad for an old sander.

I get my glue in 5 liter tins for 18 pound and I still went through nearly two on the last three shields.

As for Isoflex I want the weapons to last a while. My big problem is getting the jions between upper and lower sides of the shield to not split as I have to latex them in two halfs. Whats freaking me out is I am not silconing them and I am acteoning the edges and letting it dry before latexing the otherside.


My spears are lasting quite well thats why the cloth tap is useful. Going to take a leaf out of wandering soldier and use thicker foam to sandwich the soft cell tip though.


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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Ian Sturrock Aegis Hellas on Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:17 pm

You could quite reasonably leave the shaft as an octagon -- be good for grip, actually.

Also, you can re-sharpen craft knife blades! This is an old tip from Second Skin, the guys who invented latex LRP weapons... just get one of those cheap (pound shop, even) knife sharpeners that is basically 2 small butcher's steels held by a plastic holder in a V-shape, & draw the knife blade through a few times, decreasing the force over time (say do 8 strokes through it quite hard, then 8 at medium hardness, then 8 quite soft & light). You can keep them sharp enough to cut foam this way almost indefinitely.
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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  kev fox (thebes) on Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:56 am

or you can even get a proper 6 inch whet stone in poundland at the minute, a little bit of mineral oil and you can get a craft knife blade razor sharp again and again with very little effort, I tend to sharpen them before I even use them as I can get a much better edge on them than they come with as standard which will glide though foam with very little effort. For the open cell foam I tend to use my Games Workshop hot wire cutter that I use for scenery, very quick, easy to control so the foam doesn't deform, and leaves a nice finish for painting on as it sort of skins over the foam as it goes

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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Steve (Aegis Hellas) on Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:32 am

I have used that hot wire from GW before too especially good for cutting out complex shapes. I did find i need to make a metal jig though to ensure the hot wire cut straight, it does make a very nice almost cauterised finish to the edge though which is great for paintined as you say Kev.
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Re: Making stab safe spears

Post  Olympaeus, King of Sparta on Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:29 am

Hey guys...really interesting thread here with loads of good ideas...just please remember that with stabbers your first priority must always be the safety of your victim!!! (I know, preaching to the perverted(ooops, converted)) Very Happy

For those who noted/are interested, the 6'6" and 7' spears we were using were made by myself. Not really Phalanx friendly as once you get into the crush they are actually too long (in real world, front rankers spears would shiver or be dropped and the Xiphos used) but are great for the more open fight on the flanks. They are actually counterweighted slightly as well, so whilst you have to be quite strong to use them you actually have a quite mighty 3'6" - 4' infront of your hand...that's good reach against a swordsman.

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