Assemble and ballast a spear or javelin for Herja


Required materials

  • a solid shaft
  • resistant adhesive tape
  • some string
  • a spear or javelin blunt
  • something to act as a weight
  • white or wood glue

1/ Assembly of the blunt on the shaft

The first thing to do is to get a standard shaft for Herja, solid enough for fighting. There are several wood species that work well, here we mostly use hazelwood as it is vastly available, from all diameters and sizes, but also because the wood is flexible and solid, so perfect for a shaft.

Concerning the size, a 2 handed spear, 1 handed, or even a javelin, all of them must be 2m maximum, blunt included. However, there is no minimum, so you can make it shorter for a javelin, as is the case for me here, measuring 1m70 in this example.

Concerning the diameter, since 2021 in order to have a minimum weight, it has to be of 2.5cm minimum on all along the shaft. We advise to start with a 2.8/3cm as for a 2m spear you won’t have to put as much ballast to reach 900g. Here it is 2.6cm at the thinnest, and 3cm at the largest.

When you have it, dry it in a spot neither too hot nor too humid for a few weeks. Remember to remove the bark for it to dry faster.

When your shaft is ready, it is time to install the blunt on it. For this, you will need to shape the extremity into a pointy shape. There are two possibilities:

  • On the largest extremity. This is was the way it was done historically to get a better trajectory if the weight is in front when it is thrown
  • On the thinnest extremity in order to have a balance point closer to the center to avoid tiring the arm if you are using only one hand to carry it.

Regarding the shape and the size of the tip, this is sadly dependent on your blunt, so you’ll have to manage it yourself. Regarding the method, there are several options. Here a few examples : With a knife, with a drawknife, with a sander/grinding machine, etc. Here I started with a drawknife to shape it and finished it with a grinding machine.

For more safety, we are asking you to finish the tip with a round end and not a real pike.

Once your shaft is correctly shaped, you can place your blunt on it. Do not hesitate to use strength for it to stay in place. Then, in order to respect the ruleset, you have to tape the blunt and the shaft together in order to make sure the head won’t be removed during a battle, which would put other participants at risk.

1/ Assembly of the blunt on the shaft 1/ Assembly of the blunt on the shaft 1/ Assembly of the blunt on the shaft 1/ Assembly of the blunt on the shaft 1/ Assembly of the blunt on the shaft

2/ Putting the weights

Since 2021, a spear, whatever its usage, must weigh at least 900g. If yours weigh less, you have to increase its weight adding ballast weights.

It’s here the case of my 1m70 javelin. As it only weigh 650g, I thus have to add 250g.

Warning ! It is forbidden to place the weights on the bottom part of the shaft opposing the spearhead, the weights must be as close as possible from the blunt.

There are several ways to add the missing weight to the spear. For now, we propose only one, but if you find more, do not hesitate to send it to us so that we can add them here!

The only restriction, although not small, on the method is that it has to be secured for you and the other participants. There must be no strong edges, nothing sharp, pointy, or anything dangerous.

We used here car wheel weights (link to purchase below). What is practical about it is that each block is calibered at 5g, so it’s easy to compute. It’s also in steel which is a relatively soft metal, and already put on a double face adhesive tape.

I chose here to add 300g in order to have a small margin compared to the limit. Very easily, I taped on the shaft, as close as possible to the blunt while still keeping a small amount of space for the finition (see next step). I then covered the whole thing with resistant tape to maintain everything and also secure it more.

2/ Putting the weights 2/ Putting the weights 2/ Putting the weights

Some link to purchase the ballast weights:

Weigh your spear on the scale, and normally it should weigh more than 900g, which is perfect for Herja.

3/ Finitions

The black tape, in my case, isn’t looking great for a viking axe. There is an easy way to hide it, simply by using rope.

If like me your tape isn’t of the same color as the blunt, you can add a layer of tape of the same color to render it more homogenic. Here I forgot before putting on the string.

Take a string bobbin. It must not be too thin, so do not use kitchen twine, nor too large, we said string, not rope! Here it is a 0.6mm diameter linen string.

1/ Start by making a knot as close to the blunt as possible but keeping a small bit longer than the surface to hide
2/ Put on some glue on a not too large surface, otherwise it’s going to dry before you had the time to put the string around the shaft
3/ Wrap the string around the shaft while tightening on each round
4/ Repeat operation 2 and 3 until you have hidden all the tape
5/ End with a knot with the bit remaining from step 1 (and who should be below your strings).

3/ Finitions 3/ Finitions 3/ Finitions 3/ Finitions

And there you go, your spear is assembled and ready to participate on Herja battles!

Spear finished