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DIY: Spear

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.


Hack saw or bolt cutters

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!

Written by
Matthew R. Fennell
Edited By
Chris A. Shibles

14 thoughts on “DIY: Spear

  1. what do you you use as the target at home though? Badass instructions, definitely going to make a couple of these for practice / home defense!

  2. They’re basically the same thing. They are barely a “standard” as it is 🙂

  3. Hello! I was brought to this tutorial from a recommendation of the podcast Obstacle Dominator.

    I'm wondering in regard to making these spears, how close they will be in relation to the actual spears in the Spartan. Are they close in length, weight and balance to the ones in the event?

    With practicing, I want to get as close to the real deal as possible. Thanks!

  4. Totally going to give this a shot – out of curiosity though, do you have to cut the head of the nail off because the collet isn't suppoesd to come off the rake?

    1. You need to cut the flat head off, or it won’t fit in the neck of the rake handle

  5. what size handle do you get? my store had a few to choose from. want to make sure i get the right one.

  6. Anyone know roughly the distance the race expects you to throw it?

  7. Project time…

  8. Andrew Jones Spartan Race practice! They have a spear throwing obstacle many of us miss every damned time. Now I can practice! and Dylan is rarely in the way. Rarely hardly ever at all.

  9. Sorry, I've got to ask. Just WHAT are you buying all this weaponry for? I saw a post a few days ago that Dylan had a bad night, and now you're making spears? Tough love parenting!

  10. Thanks to these instructions, I have 6 spears sitting in my back yard. Super easy to make, once you've done one.

  11. I made two last week. I used the same ash hoe handle with open end. I got an 8"x1/2" lag screw instead of a nail. The hole diameter is 1/2" so I just screwed it in, then cut off the hex bolt head. I then used a grinder to shapen the end to a point

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