How to Make a Wooden Javelin

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Make a sturdy javelin from a knot-free, straight piece of wood.
Make a sturdy javelin from a knot-free, straight piece of wood. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Javelins are one of the most ancient hunting tools ever used. It is arguable that human civilization may never have evolved were it not for the invention of the spear, or javelin. It gave the hunter that much needed advantage in bringing down large prey. Javelins may still be used to hunt by isolated groups of aboriginals, but traditional hunting methods have all but disappeared. Javelins used in competitive sports today are typically made of special composite materials, but it is relatively easy to make a wooden javelin at home.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch-thick wood dowel
  • Vise
  • Wood rasp
  • Knife
  • Sandpaper

Cut the piece of dowel to your desired size. For a small person, cut it to four feet; five feet for a larger person. Use a straight piece free of knots, which may weaken the javelin or make it difficult to shape. Hold the dowel in your hand and find the center of gravity. Mark this spot. After you carve the tip, the center may slightly shift from this point.

Secure the dowel in a table vise so that you can begin shaping the tip. Use even strokes with the wood rasp to create a cone-shaped tip. Rasp from a comfortable position, turning the dowel in the vise as you go. Work one side of the tip and then turn it 180 degrees to work the other side.

Turn it 90 degrees and then another 180 degrees and work the remaining sides toward the middle, forming a centered tip. Do not make the tip too long and thin, as it will snap the first time you use it. Make a conical shape for the tip, with only about an inch (in length) sharpened to a point.

Work on the back of the javelin to taper it slightly toward the back. Use the same method with the rasp and vise, turning it to evenly shave all sides of the dowel.

Remove any tool marks using sandpaper. Sand the entire javelin. Test the new center of gravity and mark the wood to indicate the best place to hold the javelin. Use a knife to carve a shallow notch around the dowel in front of and behind the center of gravity, to create a handle area. Adding texture with the knife within the handle area will help you maintain your grip as you throw the javelin.

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