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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Making flint-tipped spear points

Since I'm going to have a prehistoric tribe, I figured I better start making some prehistoric spears.

1: Since I want my spears to look a little more as if they were straight from the tree, the first thing I do is take my hammer and anvil and randomly bang out a few areas along the brass rod. This will simulate bends and some of the smoother knots in a tree branch or sapling. You'll notice your brass rod bending here and there; don't worry about that just yet (or at all, depending on how primitive your tribe might be).

2: Bang out your rough spear points- these don't have to be too wide but you'll want them thin enough that you can clip them and work them over with some needle files. At this point, you can grab a pair of pliers and try to straighten out the kinks and bends in your spears. They don't have to be perfectly straight, however; remember, these are prehistoric.

3: To reach this phase, I use a pair of wire cutters to trim and point my spear tips.

4: Now grab your pliers again- I prefer toothed pliers since they'll hold my spears more steadily as I work them in the next steps.

5: While holding the spear with your pliers, use a needle file to work the spear point into this basic shape. The inset image shows a cross section of your spear point. It doesn't have to be perfect! (6: Some clipped, trimmed and filed spear points- at this point, for most fantasy and historic applications, the spears are finished. But for "older" applications, we need to do a couple more things.)

7: Still holding the spear with your pliers, take the edge of a needle file and file out some nicks and notches along the edges you formed on your spear point from the filing in step 5. Then repeat this step along the sides of your point. Apply the nicks and notches randomly up and down the point. After you've filed a few of these gaps into your spear points, you should be able to see a decent representation of the chipping and flint-napping seen in prehistoric points and tools.

8: Since these spears won't be subject to any casting processes, I simply use some twine to wrap the ends of my spears (I applied a bit of superglue first to the spear, then I wrapped the twine.) Done!

These five spears only took me about 1/2 hour. Now I made these for 54mm size figures, but I'm sure the spear point sizes here would work fine with 28mm. I used 3/64" brass rod cut into 3" lengths. For 28mm, you could probably cut the length down to 1" to 2".

Remember: Always wear safety glasses when you hammer on metal (as well as when you clip the spear points- sometimes those little clippings will snap off, flying across the room). Also, you might want to wear a mask during the filing. Brass dust (just as any small, particulate matter, especially metallic) is not good for your lungs. If you don't wear a mask, be aware of where the dust is going. Sometimes I gently blow on the figure as I file, blowing the metallic dust away from me.


  1. I have enjoyed your simple tutorial. I don't think I have need of any flint topped spears (well, at the moment anyway), but I will keep your hints and tips in mind.


  2. They're looking amazing, very well done!

    If I ever get to the point where I need to make some weapons, I'll make sure I pick up one of those mini-anvils, the things you've done with it so far is simply looking great!