How to Fire Hardened Wood Spears


Fire hardening has been used for ages to produce primitive edged weapons such as spears. Hardened wood was used as a emergency substitute for flint weapons during the Stone Age. The skills necessary to create a fire-hardened wood spear are taught in survival courses, making this age-old process useful in emergency situations. A U.S. Army manual describes fire hardening as a misnomer, because the process actually uses heat and fire to dehydrate the wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Green wood
  • Fire source
  • Knife or stone sharpening tool
  • Select a proper piece of wood. Use hardwood, such as oak or ash, for a blade-shaped spear point. Softer woods can be used for cone-shaped points. A green wood, cut or broken from a living tree with a high moisture content, is less likely to burn and more likely to harden.

  • Carve the spear point. Use a knife, if available, to shape the spear point. In survival situations, without access to a knife, shaping the wood can be done with stones or rocks.

  • Take the spear to a campfire for hardening. According to the U.S. Army Field Manual, heat of the fire is used to dry the wood. Constantly rotate the spear point while holding it over the fire. Optionally the spear point can be placed deep in the coals of the fire. Inspect the spear point frequently to make sure the wood is not burned or scorched.

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