When Matthew Fennell posted a photo to the group of the gear needed to build a spear – I reach out to see if he could write up a full tutorial – not everyone knows their way around a hardware store, so getting something really clear written up would help many people with building out their own spear for practice at home – once you have your spear, setup some old boxes or hay bails – and start throwing!
We all have that nemesis in every race. Yep you guessed it, that pesky Spearman usually followed by Burpees if you fail to stick the spear. I’m going to teach you how to make a spear to practice with. Trust me; your legs and arms will thank me. It’s pretty easy and inexpensive, roughly about $12.00-ish.
Step one, you go to your local hardware store (Lowes, Home Depot etc.), go to the hardware section and find the 12” galvanized nails. Grab one for each spear you plan to build, and then head over to the adhesive section. You want a quick set two part epoxy. I use Loctite brand Quick Set, it’s like super glue on steroids. Gorilla Glue is way too messy once it sets up because it expands and may cause the nail to come out. I like a nice neat look once the project is complete, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Once you’ve acquired your pokey bit and your gluey stuff, now you need the sticky bit. A rake handle from the lawn tools area is perfect for this! Find the replacement handles aisle, usually near your shovels and rakes (if that wasn’t too obvious). Find a 60” wooden Ash rake replacement handle; it needs to have a steel collar with a hole drilled into the end. When choosing your handle(s), look for one with the hole drilled as close to center of the handle end as you can and a smooth finish (you don’t want to get cut up or splinters from a rough finish) this will make it infinitely easier to place your nail properly. Get as many handles as you did nails! While you’re still at the hardware store, keep in mind that you will need a way to cut the head off the nail. If you don’t already have one, a hacksaw or a pair of 24” bolt cutters will work just fine. Now it’s time to go home and start your build.
PARTS LIST FOR DIY SPEARMAN SPEAR (QTY 1)
Hack saw or bolt cutters
1- 12” GLAVANIZED NAIL
1- ASH RAKE HANDLE WITH STEEL COLLET AND HOLE DRILLED IN THE TIP
1- 2 PART EPOXY (LOCTITE QUICK SET ETC.)
To start, put on safety glasses, safety first!
Step two: cut the head off the nail as close to the end as you can. The head would be the end with the big flat part you whack with the hammer, just in case you’re wondering. If you’re using bolt cutters to remove the head, be very careful because when they cut the head off, it will go flying because of the pressure. Yup, you guessed it; I almost took out the window in my truck when I cut one OOOPS. Now that the nail is doing its impression of Marie Antoinette (OFF WITH HER HEAD!), we can make sure the collet (that’s the shiny steel thingy on the end of the rake handle) is seated all the way down. You can use a hammer for this, or just thump it on the ground until it is flush. Next you’ll need a small piece of cardboard or a paper plate to mix the epoxy on. The mixture is 50/50, half epoxy half catalyst. If you’re using the Loctite Quick Epoxy, it comes pre-loaded in a syringe with epoxy and catalyst side-by-side so all you have to do is push the plunger and a relatively even amount of each will come out.
Mix it together with the handle of a plastic spoon or a Popsicle stick, about 10-15 seconds, until it’s well combined. Next, take about 3/4 of it and scoop it into the hole of the rake handle. The other 1/4 will be rolled on the nail’s shank where the head use to be, about 2-3 inches up. Place the spike into the hole pointy end up and lean it against the wall. Employ a few choice four letter words if you like; this tends to help the epoxy harden faster. If you mixed the epoxy correctly, it should be set up in about 10 minutes. I suggest waiting about an hour for majority curing, but if you’re dying to start throwing it, 10 minutes should be fine if you used the quick set epoxy. The nail will be fully set in about 24 hours.
I hope this helped out, and be very careful while training. They did outlaw lawn darts for a reason folks. Your big pokey stick may stick into whatever you throw it at i.e. fences, hay bales, cats, dogs, humans etc. Throw it into the wrong place, and you’ll be using it on the side of the road to pick up trash in a sweet orange jump suit. Have fun, train safe, train often!
Matthew R. Fennell
Chris A. Shibles