Looking for spear making info

Hello all,
I don't have much use for a spear myself, but I did get a request for one today from one of my co-worker's fathers. Evidently, his hobby is
hunting wild boar with dogs and a spear- not my cup of tea, but if he's into that, I'm not going to be the one to tell him no.
He must have done this in the past, at least once, as he evidently lost his trusty boar-hunting spear on a recent expidition, and now he's looking for a replacement.
Seems like a blacksmithing job to me, if there ever was one- and I've got a couple of bars of 1095 steel that will work nicely.
But here's my dilemma- as I'm not a spear-chucking boar hunter, I have no idea what kind of dimensions a spearhead like that might need to have. I know a boar's hide is tough, and I also know that they're not very easy to kill even with a gun. So, I'm wondering if anyone on here has any knowledge about the situation, so that I can make this thing for the guy.
If it was just for show, it wouldn't be an issue, as it'd just have to look nice- but I hate to imagine the guy sticking a 700 pound hog and only wounding it- not only is it a little less humane than I'd prefer to be turning an animal into a pin cushion while dogs are pinning it down, but it could be dangerous for the hunter if the thing got loose after he pissed it off by giving it a poke or two with an inadequate weapon.
My gut feeling is that I should make it pretty thick, to reduce the chance of breaking or bending, and reasonably slender, to make it easier to drive in. I don't know if I'm going to forge it or grind it from the bar stock, but the forge will come into play during heat treating, at the very least.
Anyone have any particular knowledge on the subject they'd be willing to share, maybe a sketch or two with some rough dimensions on it?
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Prometheus wrote:

Find a kids book on medival weapons.
Look for a picture of one of the spears that has a blade that looks more like a short sword, with a crossbar, to prevent the VERY annoyed boar from getting closer.
Or get the customer to give you his input into what works or does not. (the way I would go)
IIRC the spear as decribed above, was the weapon used in Europe for hunting boar. It may, or may not, meet the needs of the client.
I know that there are outfitters that book hunts, where they will provide the dogs, and, if you do not have one, an appropriate knife.
No guns. No spears.
Up close and personal, wading into the fray, with a critter that can rip you quite to shreds. :-)
Not my cup O' meat, but... could be a pretty good TV sport. If you could get a cameraman that could keep up, running behind the dogs. :-)
Google for "Boar Spear"
Cheers Trevor Jones
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The method used in hunting boars as well as other dangerous game such as Jaguars involved getting the animal to charge you. With the butt of the spear grounded securely you caught the critter in the chest or throat with the tip of the spear and let him run himself onto the blade. The cross bar was -very- important in keeping the enraged animal away from your tender hide. Like having a tiger by the tail, you don't dare let go until it's dead. The blade needs to be very stout, the cross piece even stouter, and the shaft must not break under the enormous strain of the battle with furious animal. I can't quite remember the name of the gentleman who used to hunt Jaguars with dogs and a spear, Sasha something, but he killed dozens. His teacher killed hundreds before his last and -only- losing fight. A real macho way to hunt. The technique with the knife is the way they hunt stags in France. Chase them on horse back, jump off and stab them in the heart. 73 Gary
wrote:

Gary Pewitt N9ZSV Sturgeon's Law "Ninety percent of everything is crap"
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Sounds like this one is the guy doing the latter.
The explanation I got was that they use Jack Russell terrriers to chase the animal around until it tires out, and then send out several pit bulls to clamp onto it and hold it while the hunter spears it. I've never seen it myself, and don't know that it sounds like that much fun, but I'm a bird hunter (when I have the time and inclination, which is not all that often)

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wrote:

My brother (who is now a fairly famous dentist) killed the largest Russian boar to come out of these mountain back in about 1974 by jumping on his back and slitting his throat. Over 450 lbs.
The usual boar hunting technique here is to run down a boar with a small pack of pit bulls. The dogs will tire out the hog and then the hunter closes in for the kill. The usual method is to stick a punkin-ball-loaded sawed-off shotgun up to the hog right behind the shoulder and pull the trigger. On this particular day the dogs had the hog cornered in a little hollow below a trail. Bro got caught up in the affair, took a running leap off the trail, onto the hog's back and slit his throat.
They came back here to the cabin with the hog and a dog with his guts being held in by a shirt tied around his midsection. The hog had sliced up the dog during the kill. Amazingly, after bro sewed him up, the dog lived just fine.
My next door neighbor, Bill White, the subject of the book "Swifter than Eagles" and the leader of the Battle of Athens, TN (where a group of returning WWII GIs overthrew by force of arms the corrupt government that had taken over Athens) hunted bear with a Cherokee indian-style stone spear. Bill was half Cherokee. I don't know if any of his kills were for the record book or not but some were quite large. No dogs or guns. Just Bill and spear vs the bear.
John -- John De Armond See my website for my current email address http://www.neon-john.com http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net! Tellico Plains, Occupied TN I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables!
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wrote:

I have found pictures, but not dimensions. Just having the profile is useful, but the obvious problem is scale. If there's no measurement or point of comparison, a plain spearhead that is 1" wide by 6" long looks just like one that is 2" wide by 12" long, provided they're not side-by-side.

The problem there is that he's in Florida, and I'm in Wisconsin- and even if he were much closer, it's very rare for someone who is not a metalworker or carpenter to come up with something that even resembles an accurate measurement. That's why I'm asking here- I figure most of you guys know how to measure, and won't just toss out an estimate that may be +/- 24" from the reality.

Agreed- I might even watch that, and I hate TV.
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Prometheus wrote:

Have him make what he wants in cardboard, then measure it.
A couple cereal boxes, some tape and a broomstick, and he should be able to provide a very usefull set of dimensions.
Better that than to have to redo the job umpteen times. "more here, less there" sorta stuff.
Work it out, THEN cut it out.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Hi Promethius,
A spear can be made in two ways, socketed or tanged. The spear head is just the trimming imo.
Tangs are great for thrusting.
Sockets are good for lateral pressure. So for this application a socket is recommended.
Killing a pig (we call them razor backs here), you need to get that head in a long way into the pigs body, and need a stop so that the pig wont kill you.
The best example I saw of a boar spear, had a very small head on a long rod terminating in a cross bar, on a socket.
The small cross section of the head made it easier to penetrate the thick hide, and allow the long metal rod to deliver the head into a vital organ.
Even with this head the operator was usually driven backwards. It is necessary to have hunting dogs with you, and to carry needle and thread to stitch up the dogs or your wounds.
Personally I'm not that insane to go pig hunting.
Regards Charles
Prometheus wrote:

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On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 11:26:42 +1100, Chilla

Okay, now we've gotten to the blacksmithing aspect of this. With the cross bar, any gut feeling on whether it would be better to split off tines from the side of a solid bar of high carbon steel and bend them to 90*, or make a joint and weld the cross bar to just above the socket? The material I've got is 1.25" x .5" in cross section. Plenty to hammer it to a wider width, or to keep it thick and make it a little narrower.

I have done a little searching on this, and the thing that I keep running up against is the fact that all the places that sell spears, either modern and for this purpose, or as replicas from the middle ages, only show the spear head from one direction, and provide no way to determine even the rough sizes involved.
Since you've seen one, perhaps you can help- Any estimate on how long the thing was from crossbar to point? I don't imagine it has to be very precise, but I don't want to waste a lot of work making a 4" long spearpoint when an 18" long one is needed, or vice versa. I'll decide how long the cutting edge is going to be as I go- with the material I've got, it might be easier to make a truncated diamond blade that extends all the way down to the cross bar, especially if I decide to grind it rather than forge it.
The other missing dimension is the thickness of the spear head- it's a pretty good bet that it's sharp on the blades, but the middle of the spear is what I'm wondering about. My gut feeling is that a half-inch cross section at the base of the spearhead is not unreasonable, but it's hard to know if that is too thick for a guy to be able to drive it in by hand- I could do it, I'm sure, but I'm a pretty big guy. On the other hand, if it's too thin, I would imagine it's likely to snap off if it hits a bone or gets levered on once it's driven in.

Me either. From what I've heard about hunting them, even with a firearm, I think I'd pass. On the other hand, I come from a hunting family, so I can see where the appeal would be for some guys.
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Prometheus wrote:

The spear I saw was similar to no: 4 The Samburu Spear
<http://www.coldsteel.com/spears-high-performance-spears.html
However it had had a cross bar.
The spear I remember had a rod about 12" long, then the cross bar, then the socket.
I was thinking that you could simplify the design an have no leaf shaped head, but just have a spike. It's easier to push a pin through your hand than it is to push through a 6 inch nail. My theory is that a smaller profile will allow for deeper penetration... just a theory
Regards Charles
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wrote:

The ones I've seen made by locals (NOT blacksmiths, just mountain men making tools from available materials) looked like bayonet blades on poles with cross-pieces welded to the base of the blade. Blades vary in length from about foot to 24" or more. Some undoubtedly ARE modified bayonets.
John -- John De Armond See my website for my current email address http://www.neon-john.com http://www.johndearmond.com <-- best little blog on the net! Tellico Plains, Occupied TN I'm so cool, I'm afraid to catch a cold.
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Having lived in two parts of the country that have wild pig rooting around the yards at night - a big gun / multi-shot and or lots of help - one might want to try to stab it such that a pistol at close range or other knife instrument would finish it. Shooting in a neighborhood is dangerous and risky business.
Or it might be a hunting group trying to do things differently.
Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
Prometheus wrote:

-
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On Fri, 02 Nov 2007 19:46:25 -0500, "Martin H. Eastburn"

It's a hunting group- I suspect it's more a macho man V. beast thing than anything else, but there are probably plenty of folks who would say similar things about blacksmithing when you could use modern machine tools to make your metal stuff.
I can't imagine your average homeowner would really want to run out and spear pigs in the yard, when it'd be a whole lot safer and easier to call animal control to get the sucker off your property- but then again, I've never had that problem. We've got rabbits and racoons around here, but my beagle can (and does) chase them off.
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Or just wait till it's cleared off somewhere else and enjoy watching it until it does.
--
Skipweasel
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Animal control - that's a good one really. What happened at the last place was a professional hunter with traps and bow. People in 20,000 homes and those in 1M sitting next door all were up in arms. When you come out to go to work and you find divots all over the yard after an expensive landscaping was completed. This took about a week when the sheriff called in the hunter.
If you can pick it up it goes to animal control. Larger the local police agency. Anything larger than that requires the National Guard. But elephants are not normally wandering in neighborhoods. :-)
Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
Prometheus wrote:

-
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Might have noted that in some neighborhoods, Moose and bear and such are 'run' out of town by a small party of neighbors - with luck less or equal to 4. Then a 'quarter' share is easier, but away from fancy houses.
Martin Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
Martin H. Eastburn wrote:

-
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