Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

A central place to talk about weapons and armour, as it relates to your kit. This is where you show it of or talk about making it. Discussing the relative merits of types of weapons goes in the WMA section.

Moderators: caedmon, Greg

Haradir
Silent Watcher over the Peaceful Lands
Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:44 am

Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Haradir » Mon May 04, 2020 3:19 am

So weaponry isn't really my forte (aside from my bow) and truth be told, in the real world when I go hiking a sword seems for trouble than its worth. Man in a cloak hiking = eccentric. Man in a cloak carrying a sword = time to alert the real park rangers. So I had the thought of perhaps disguising a spear as a weapon and utilizing it as a practical walking staff. Is there any way that a detachable spear point would be a feasible thing? Obviously they wouldn't be as sturdy as the real thing but I can't say that I'm likely to come across many orcs roaming my local state parks. Really, I just had the idea of a walking staff and thought I'd see if I could make it a bit more suitable for ranging. If the head is detachable, I could just stow it away in my pack until I'm well enough in the wild. At my height of 6'5" any walking staff would be tall enough to pull double duty. I'm just kinda spitballing here with my thinking so I'd appreciate any more knowledgeable folk than I popping in to lend their thoughts.

I should note that I did do a little google searching to see if I could answer my question before I asked it but most of the results I saw were of the "tacti-cool" variety and not suitable for historical impressions.

Cheers!
User avatar
Iodo
Haeropada
Posts: 979
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:58 pm
Location: North west england UK

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Iodo » Mon May 04, 2020 8:00 am

It's a cool idea that I've given quite a lot of thought to in the past but never gotten round to trying, If it were me, here's what I'd do:

I'd get hold of long straight hardwood walking staff and a simple small-ish spear head, similar to this: https://southernswords.co.uk/small-spearhead.html and I'd taper the end of the staff to fit snugly inside the spear head, then I'd pilot drill quite a small hole through both sides of the spear head (you may have to heat the steel first to un-harden it), at 90 degrees to the existing holes (if they're the wrong size) and through the wooden shaft to match, then I'd open them up (along with the shaft) with a tapered reamer to match a tapered pin that's a little longer than the outer diameter of the spear head, hopefully (it might not work, I haven't tried it) the pin can be knocked in-place securely and won't come out until it's knocked the other way, you should only need 1/8" or less of pin length on each side so it wouldn't look much different to a rivet

this should also work with a straight hole and a nut and bolt but with bolt heads on the side it would look slightly less authentic, it depends what equipment you have, and I'm sure other people might have other ideas about how to do this
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
Elleth
êphal ki-*raznahê
Posts: 2113
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:26 am
Location: in the Angle; New England

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Elleth » Mon May 04, 2020 10:00 am

Well, it was certainly done historically, as Hurstwic has demonstrated:

A passage from chapter 48 of Grettis saga suggests that the rivet could easily be removed with whatever tools people normally carried with them. Grettir arrived at Þorbjörn's farm, Þoroddstaðir, to take revenge on Þorbjörn for his killing of Grettir's brother, Atli. After Grettir arrived at the farm, he sat down and removed the rivet to prevent Þorbjörn from throwing the spear back at him. The head flew off when Grettir threw the spear. After killing Þorbjörn and his son with his sax, Grettir searched for the spearhead, but couldn't find it. According to the saga, the spearhead was found in the marshland behind the farm centuries later (shown to the right, as it appears today). The saga author says that people alive at the time the saga was written could remember the spearhead being found.


http://www.hurstwic.org/history/article ... _spear.htm


That said, I've no idea how common the practice was, or how much it would allay the concerns of skittish mommas on a picnic or concerned park rangers.
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
User avatar
Iodo
Haeropada
Posts: 979
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:58 pm
Location: North west england UK

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Iodo » Mon May 04, 2020 10:05 am

awesome find Elleth
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
User avatar
Eofor
Wanderer
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:40 am

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Eofor » Mon May 04, 2020 11:04 am

We love our spears for hiking, they're quite versatile and from a historical point of view they are the weapon most frequently found in both Anglo Saxon and Viking graves. There is an optimal height though after which they start to get quite tiresome on heavily forested trails.

Detachable spearheads were most certainly a thing historically and there are a couple of ways that you can do it. Either the removable pin/rivet OR (and this is my preferred method) with a sliding ring that creates tension on the split socket and holds it in place.
Here are front and back pictures of one of my living history spears that uses this method. I can assure you it is a very secure mount, at least as solid as any other fixture method I've encountered

Image
Image

That spearhead was made by Czech blacksmith Peter Szabo. He recently made one especially for bushcraft which caught my eye, it's usable as a knife and camp tool when detached but can be pinned to a shaft as a spear

Image

And finally a shot of our shelter set up using two spears as poles (both with rivets), It really gives you options as far as a quick set up goes

Image
For seven days without eating or sleeping the new king sat, until he stood and cried "This cannot be borne!"!
User avatar
Taurinor
Amrod Rhandir
Posts: 569
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:06 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Taurinor » Mon May 04, 2020 3:59 pm

It's something that's been discussed here before, from time to time, so you're not alone in considering it! I know the Cold Steel Bushman (with the black finish stripped off, to reduce the tacti-cool appearance) has been brought up here a few times as a reasonably inexpensive off-the-shelf option for a knife/spearhead combo.

I'm of a similar mind to you with regards to swords and hiking and park rangers. I portray a Breelander, though, so carrying a sword isn't appropriate for my persona. I do carry a belt axe, a long knife, and a walking stick, so I don't feel exactly unarmed, but those are all camp tools and don't seem to cause any alarm mixed in with the rest of my gear (or they haven't yet, at least).

Elleth may be right about spears causing alarm regardless, but if you don't mind a removable spear head, carrying it in a sheath on your belt like a knife in more populated areas probably won't make people MORE uncomfortable, I guess? It also depends where you are in the world, of course. We're a pretty far-flung bunch, here, and play under a lot of different rules/expectations.

Eofor - that is a gorgeous spear, and I LOVE the sliding ring idea! Removable pins have always seemed a bit fiddly or insecure to me, but that ring method looks simple, secure, and adds a little visual interest, to boot! Brilliant!
- Ned Houndswood, Breelander
Richmond Fantasy-Inspired Hiking and Camping (on WordPress and Facebook)
User avatar
theowl
Vendor
Posts: 289
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:15 am
Location: California
Contact:

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby theowl » Mon May 04, 2020 6:30 pm

I have a spear that is pinned in place, but the pin and thus the head itself are removable. It's pretty secure. I tend to wrap a strip of leather around the bottom of the head to keep the pin from working its way out over time.
Haradir
Silent Watcher over the Peaceful Lands
Posts: 137
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:44 am

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Haradir » Tue May 05, 2020 3:06 am

Again, glad to know that I'm not completely off my rocker! :lol:

Elleth wrote:Well, it was certainly done historically, as Hurstwic has demonstrated:

A passage from chapter 48 of Grettis saga suggests that the rivet could easily be removed with whatever tools people normally carried with them. Grettir arrived at Þorbjörn's farm, Þoroddstaðir, to take revenge on Þorbjörn for his killing of Grettir's brother, Atli. After Grettir arrived at the farm, he sat down and removed the rivet to prevent Þorbjörn from throwing the spear back at him. The head flew off when Grettir threw the spear. After killing Þorbjörn and his son with his sax, Grettir searched for the spearhead, but couldn't find it. According to the saga, the spearhead was found in the marshland behind the farm centuries later (shown to the right, as it appears today). The saga author says that people alive at the time the saga was written could remember the spearhead being found.


http://www.hurstwic.org/history/article ... _spear.htm


Dang, I love a good reference. Perfect!

Eofor wrote:Detachable spearheads were most certainly a thing historically and there are a couple of ways that you can do it. Either the removable pin/rivet OR (and this is my preferred method) with a sliding ring that creates tension on the split socket and holds it in place.
Here are front and back pictures of one of my living history spears that uses this method. I can assure you it is a very secure mount, at least as solid as any other fixture method I've encountered

Image
Image



Ooh, that is lovely! Brilliant solution! And quite aesthetically pleasing as well!

Taurinor wrote:Elleth may be right about spears causing alarm regardless, but if you don't mind a removable spear head, carrying it in a sheath on your belt like a knife in more populated areas probably won't make people MORE uncomfortable, I guess? It also depends where you are in the world, of course. We're a pretty far-flung bunch, here, and play under a lot of different rules/expectations.


Yeah, keeping away from ordinary eyes is the main goal. Be it on my belt or rolled into my pack. Texas is pretty loose with their weaponry laws but no point looking for trouble.

My thanks to everyone!
User avatar
Iodo
Haeropada
Posts: 979
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:58 pm
Location: North west england UK

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Iodo » Tue May 05, 2020 7:04 am

I really like that brass ring idea as well, it would save the inevitable loosing of the pin
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
Elleth
êphal ki-*raznahê
Posts: 2113
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:26 am
Location: in the Angle; New England

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Elleth » Tue May 05, 2020 11:31 am

Hunh.

I'd heard of the split socket in a Saxon context, but never really "got" it. Now it makes sense! Interesting - and you say it's just as stable as a pinned construction?

Cool!

Also, that's just *exquisite* craftsmanship Eofor - you guys down there are doing amazing work!
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
User avatar
Iodo
Haeropada
Posts: 979
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:58 pm
Location: North west england UK

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Iodo » Tue May 05, 2020 2:14 pm

I'd be interested to know how thin the steel walls have to be for the sliding of the ring to compress it? I'm wondering if I could get away with buying a cheap spearhead, slitting the side with a grinder and using a slice of pipe as the ring, I'm not sure how I'd get it on though, hmmm...
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
User avatar
Peter Remling
Athel Dunedain
Posts: 3549
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:20 am

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Peter Remling » Tue May 05, 2020 4:42 pm

There are historic examples of this type of attachment. I'll see if I can find it. I believe it's in my copy of Stone's Glossary.

Iodo: You'd have to ground down the outside a bit for say a Windlass spearhead before cutting the slits out. As far as adding the ring, real easy. Heat the socket wings/newly formed langets, bed them inward, slide on the ring, reheat and bend them back.
User avatar
Iodo
Haeropada
Posts: 979
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:58 pm
Location: North west england UK

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Iodo » Wed May 06, 2020 6:53 am

Peter Remling wrote:Iodo: You'd have to ground down the outside a bit for say a Windlass spearhead before cutting the slits out. As far as adding the ring, real easy. Heat the socket wings/newly formed langets, bed them inward, slide on the ring, reheat and bend them back.

thanks, i hadn't thought of grinding the outside thinner, it's been added to my project list :P
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
User avatar
Eofor
Wanderer
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:40 am

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Eofor » Fri May 08, 2020 10:01 am

Thanks for all the compliments guys, I'm a bit embarrassed as so far most of our stuff is just high quality reenactment gear but we are moving forward.

Elleth wrote:I'd heard of the split socket in a Saxon context, but never really "got" it. Now it makes sense! Interesting - and you say it's just as stable as a pinned construction?


It is Elleth! here is a video of a reconstruction by a French Smith showing how the head attaches and he gives it a strength test too. His version does have 4 rings on it but it seems quite firm.

https://www.facebook.com/jeanmarc.gille ... 7597661326

Peter Remling wrote:There are historic examples of this type of attachment. I'll see if I can find it. I believe it's in my copy of Stone's Glossary.


This fixture is most common around the 7th century on Angon (barbed throwing spears) but has been found on spears less suited to throwing.
On longer spears more than one binding ring can be used and I do have other examples if anyone is interested.

Iodo wrote:I'd be interested to know how thin the steel walls have to be for the sliding of the ring to compress it? I'm wondering if I could get away with buying a cheap spearhead, slitting the side with a grinder and using a slice of pipe as the ring, I'm not sure how I'd get it on though, hmmm...


You do have another option Iodo, the spearhead in the video above (and photo below) has more than one slot cut into it's socket meaning that you could probably pinch them in further to fit a binding ring. Instead of a solid ring the smith has also made one of his binding rings out of a heavy gauge wire/metal that he wraps around the head in a spiral. This could be an alternative to an undesirable thinning of the socket?

Image
Image
Image
For seven days without eating or sleeping the new king sat, until he stood and cried "This cannot be borne!"!
User avatar
Iodo
Haeropada
Posts: 979
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:58 pm
Location: North west england UK

Re: Detachable Spear Heads - Feasible?

Postby Iodo » Fri May 08, 2020 11:03 am

Eofor wrote:You do have another option Iodo, the spearhead in the video above (and photo below) has more than one slot cut into it's socket meaning that you could probably pinch them in further to fit a binding ring. Instead of a solid ring the smith has also made one of his binding rings out of a heavy gauge wire/metal that he wraps around the head in a spiral. This could be an alternative to an undesirable thinning of the socket?


cool, thanks :P I guess that the spiral would act like a spring and open up when pushed over the metal so it would be under tension, giving it a bit more grip and making it less likely to move, it's interesting that the example is fitting metal to metal, kind of like a medieval morse taper

i did think about cutting more leaves, maybe three or four, to make it more flexible and get away with thicker metal
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.

Return to “Weapons & Armour”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests