Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Improved Field Expedient Spear/Gig

A fellow Blades and Bushcraft forum member shared some smart design improvements to the basic survival fish spear/frog gig that I posted on recently. The improved design incorporates easily carved barbs as well as an increased number of tines, both of which will improve the likelihood of spearing and retaining prey.

Yesterday I had a chance to get out and try my hand at making the improved spear and I will share the build photos here. The process is pretty well explained by the following series of photos:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Field Expedient Fish Spear

The completed spear
Yesterday I was out for a day in the woods and got caught out in a sudden storm. As the storm rolled in I headed for the shelter to wait it out. The shelter performed wonderfully and provided me with a nice, dry place to work on a project. I took that opportunity to try my hand at the July monthly challenge at Blades and Bushcraft which is to build a fish spear/fog gig from materials found in the bush.

Closeup of wedges and binding
The spear itself is made from green maple and the cordage is a two-strand reverse wrap I made from dogbane. I split an end of the maple staff into 4 quadrants with a knife and baton. I then carved two wedges which were driven into the splits 90 degrees form one another. I carved a notch in the "top" wedge to allow it to seat on top of the "bottom" wedge better. The cordage was used to bind the splits so that the wedges did not move any farther down the shaft.

The completed spear alongside my day bag

The end result is rough but serviceable. I originally planned on carving barbs but I found that overly complicated and difficult for a "survival" weapon/tool. I think if I was going to actually use the spear I would fire harden the tips and use more cordage to lash the wedges a little tighter. Also, I assume that drier wood make for stronger tips but also a greater potential to crack apart when split, but that is something I will have to experiment with.