April 7, 2021

How to Carve a Spear | A Guide for Craftsmen of all Levels of Experience

Wondering how to carve a spear? Carving a spear is a lot easier than it sounds, and it doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment. The most important thing to remember is that sharp tools are important – and you’ll need a few of them since you’ll likely break a couple while learning this skill.

So, before you get started with the rest of the project below, you should find a way to make your own spear point. You can do this by grinding a chisel to make a sharp point or even using a rock or broken glass.

Tools and Material Required

1) A Carving Knife or Spear Tip
2) A Belt sander
3) Hammer/Mallet
4) Metal file (optional, but helpful)
5) Paintbrush (small and medium sizes)
6) Water-based paint in a color of your choice. For this example, you will use brown. You can use any color you like, but be aware that different colors absorb light differently – so what looks white in a bright room may not show up well when you go outside under natural lighting.

Choosing the wood

  • For your first attempt, I’d recommend something relatively lightweight to start with.
  • You’ll need a good amount of wood to carve the shaft.
  • Wood that is too hard or too brittle will make it harder to carve and will likely snap.
  • Find a branch or stick that isn’t too thick for your hands to hold and is long enough to reach the target.

Draw a basic shape for your spear

An Illustrasted Spear Tip
  • Depending on the size of your target, there are different shapes for different effects.
  • The point of impact is the center of gravity, so you’ll want to place half of your weight there if possible.
  • Think about how you will be using the spear and select a shape that will give you range and speed as well as force.
  • All spears have front ends with fine edges, so that’s where we will start by tracing a new shape for our tip.

Carve away the unwanted wood

  • Take a look at your tracing to get an idea of how much wood you will need to remove.
  • If you are unhappy with the shape, don’t worry – it’s easy just to cut a new one and then scrape off what you don’t want.
  • A belt sander is a handy tool for removing large amounts of the surface area quickly. The grip is simple, and it helps you work at an even pace.

Grinding the shaft

  • If you’re using a stone, make sure to wear gloves – your skin will take some damage while you grind.
  • Start with a flat surface on your woodblock and place the chisel (or broken glass) on top of it.
  • With the sharp edge of the chisel facing towards you, strike it with the hammer.
  • Continue striking until you’ve created a nice, flat surface on the wood.
  • Note: The hammer and chisel can fly apart if you do this too quickly. It’s important to take your time when doing this step, so don’t rush or try to force it.
  • Finish making your shaft by sanding it down with the belt sander. This will help make it smooth enough for your hand to fit within comfortably.

Carving the tip

  • If you haven’t already, trace out the base of your spear’s tip.
  • Do this by simply making a mark and then using the “X” shaped cutout to guide yourself along with the wood.
  • Be sure to cut away any excess around the “X,” as this shape will be helpful later on when smoothing it out.
  • Please note: This shape is not required for a working spear tip.


  • The paint will help protect your spear from damage, so make sure the whole shaft is coated.
  • Let it dry for a full 24 hours before attempting to use it.
  • While this step isn’t essential, the paint will help you keep your spear straight when you’re throwing it. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure that the tip looks sharp when you’re done coloring it.
  • You can remove the excess wood on the tip by using a metal file.

You may also be interested in our post about How to Carve a Pencil.

David D. Hughes
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