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Building a totemsub style gun

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Nov 4, 2003
I am planning on building a totem sub style gun around 120 cm and 20mm rubbers and a 7mm spear. I am going to use it in norway and when I am traveling to some where warm. Around 5-20kg fishes.
I know teak is the best but I got some nice european oak totally straight and for free ; )

But how thick should I make the barrel? and will oak do the job?

best regards johan, denmark

PS just heard from Chile that there are big sea lions playing around, leave at next friday:D
well I remember a tread by Maltaspearo who was trying to build his wooden gun, I think you can get further info from that..

Also check www.dapiran.it for the "fat double banded" gun design and basics of it. I think these will really help you in your decisions ;)

ps: online translators are perfectly working with dapiran's site :)
Hi Johan,

Oak will do but IMO you need to encapsulate it with fibreglass to make it last. When doing this, you must not oil the stock as the fibreglass laminates will not stick to oily wood.
For 20mm band the stock does not need to be too thick.

I suggest splitting the board and laminating the piecec back to back to eliminate any possible warping.

There is a lot more on this subject but this will get you started.

I'd be interested in hearing how you get on.

I was thinking along similar lines - can anyone post a short bit of info onthe relative merits and strenghts/cons of a few woods.

I know that the hardwoods are preferable but for example how about a wood with a high tensile strength that does not bend very easily ...

How about :

Purple Heart

etc - i think it wood be really nice and useful to have a wood=primer lesson - sure I can go and ask my brother (wood-worker) but it might not be specific to use underwater.

Yes Oak would be fine but as has been said it needs sealing and preferably laminating. Have a look at Svens gun in the for sale section to see what this is about. As far as glueing goes, use West Systems epoxy but dont over clamp it cos it dont like a starved joint much. you can use the west epoxy to seal the gun too, 2 or 3 coats when its done would do fine. It may be worth trying the gun out in the sea after the first coat so as you can get the balasting of it right before finishing off. Remember that Oak is not as dense as Teak and its going to need more lead or whatever to get it balanced, on the bright side it will have better glueing propeties than teak. Oh and dont forget to use stainless fittings ad steel will make it go black. If your using power tools, watch your fingers :hmm
Ahhhhhhh a thread I can contribute to. :D

I've got some experience using oak for making a wood barrel.

Here's a link to a web page about my project:

My experience has been that saturating the completed oak barrel with epoxy is all you really need to do to protect the wood from taking on water. The epoxy soaks into the wood quickly and fills it's poors as well as stabilizes and hardens the wood fiber. A coat of spar varnish with a U.V. inhibitor or a coat of paint protects the epoxy from sun damage.
before you start doing it, it MAY cost you to build one more than buying new. But if you want to do it for satisfaction....

Anyway the thing that i want to say is, 20mm bands and 7mm shaft config may become too slow for some fishes. In the med. its very slow for most of the fishes... Check ballstic test in www.dapiran.it its italian but you can use online translator to understand a little bit. From personal experiance i noticed that my OMER POWER 18mm bands does not give enough speed to catch the moving fishes with 6.5mm shaft at its max range while the wishbone is in first notch. In second notch its better but not again enough speed that guarantee the the catch at the end of the range. I will change the shaft to the 6.25 soon which i tried on my buddy's gun. It was awesome, or i will shortened the bands. If you think that 6.25 mm shaft will not have enough energy to penetrate fish, my buddy just shoot 5kg grouper with it from 3-4 meter from the tip of the gun. The shaft enter just above the fish's eye and exit from the tail. The gun wa 90cm. However on bigger guns like 110-120 (i use 110 by the way) the shaft will be even longer and it will be slower. ie in my 75cm gun 6.5mm shaft is extremly fast with 18mm powerbands but not in 110. You got the point?;)
to slow

Is this not a straight med thing? No fish in northern europe a so fast that they can react at a slow speargun, and I need the 7mm for prenetation...
I will try to read this italian site, damn this guy made a lot of tests
for all the info you ever wanted about the various woods and their relevence to spearguns do a search on scott merlo spearguns. He lists all that stuff. Definately worth looking for.
Nice Merlo guns and good info on the wood - think I will try to track some down here ... might not find it but guess I can order a few lenghts over the internet - anyone ordered wood over the web before ?

(I live on a small island off the UK called Guernsey - not much in the wood stores except pine which might not be my first choice...).

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