How to make a 6ft spear for use in SCA combat

Written by Hersir (Now Sir) Halvgrim Adalradarson. Originally published in the Online Bird of Prey, Volume 6, 4th Quarter, 2002.

Since taking over the task of publishing the BoP I have asked for opinions on what sort of articles folks would like to see in it. At the top of the request list always seems to be how-to articles on building weapons. I have always wanted to feature this type of thing but couldn’t find anyone willing to write such an article. So, in hopes of inspiring some of the others to do so I have taken the bull by the horns and written this primer on how to build a 6ft spear.

The directions below are certainly not the only method to make a 6ft spear, but they were the way I was taught, and I continue to pass this on knowledge, as it seems to work well.  Until recently I have had the same spear for around 3 years.  Before I got it and converted it into a “slashing spear” it was one of Master Tristram’s weapons, and he had it for many, many years before I got it.

I know the images aren’t the best, but I have temporarily lost access to a digital camera, so I tried to do the best I could with the MS Paint program.

Materials needed

  • 1 stick of rattan near 6 feet long and with a cross section of no less than 1.25″ in diameter

  • Foam (I use the blue foam sleeping mats you can buy at Wally World)

  • Strapping tape (the more fibers in the tape the better!)

  • Scissors (or any other type of cutting utensil)

  • Red duct tape (some kingdoms allow any color as long as it is a contrasting color to the body of the weapon)

  • Duct tape (any color other than red, gray is most commonly used)

Legal issues

Per the Calontir Marshal’s Handbook (Revised Spring 1999): *


A. Characteristics of all thrusting tips must be:

1. All thrusting tips must allow at least 1″ of progressive resistant give, without bottoming out on the haft of the weapon.

                    2. Thrusting tips shall not penetrate more than ½” into a legal faceplate of a helm.

3. Thrusting tips shall not bend more than 45 degrees under the force of a normal thrust. The end of the rattan shall not be detectable at the point of the bend when pressing from the point of the weapon.

                    (As a marshal you should inspect the bend like it would be presented in the thrust, not pressing on the side of the weapon).

4. No metal or other rigid material shall be used in the construction of a thrusting tip. Materials such as trailer hitch covers, tennis balls, cool cups, etc. are not acceptable stand alone thrusting tip materials, they must usually be combined with foam to construct a legal thrusting tip.

5. All thrusting tips must be clearly marked with red tape or an equivalent material. A simple “X” on the end of the tip is sufficient

also note:

C. Two-handed thrusting tips (including buttspikes) shall be a minimum of 2″ in diameter, with 2 1/2″ of resilient material between the face of the tip and the end of the rattan.

*Curator’s Note: The Marshal’s handbook has been updated since 1999, and new standards for weapon construction exist.
Currently the Society Standard is the default for construction Per Revision 02 Nov 2008:
From Chapter VII Weapons Standards, Section 2 Two Handed Weapons, Paragraph 5:
“When thrusting tips are used, they shall be no less than 2 inches (50.8 mm) in diameter/cross-section and have 2 inches (50.8 mm) of resilient material in front of the rigid tip of the weapon, thereby providing progressively resistant give.”

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