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Custom spearguns pictures

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.
First try

So I guess I'll be the first one to respond...
This is my first attempt to build a wooden gun. I used an Imersion handle and made only the barrel out of solid mahogany. It is 90cm long, currently with 16mm bands which I’m planning to replace with 19 mm. The shaft is 6.25 Demka.
I’m now planning to make a new one, 100-110 cm and if it turns out good, I will shorten this one to 75 cm to use it in murky water (what is often the case where I dive). So here is the debut of my first homemade gun:
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How did you cut the mahogany into a cylinder to fit the Imersion handle? Also did you carve a rail on the barrel where the shaft slides?
50cm hole-hunting "ragueur"

Here is a 50cm laminated oak barrel in progress for hole hunting. It has a grooved rail on the top to support and direct the shaft.

The end of the barrel was cut into cylinder roughly by a machine and later sandpapered to the exact diameter. The shaft guide on the barrel was also made by a machine at the very beginning of the work. Here are some more pictures from the early stages:
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Very nice work, congratulations.
Did you have any problem with the oil inside mahogany forming bubbles after you applied the epoxy?
Thanks :)
I noticed that after the first layer of epoxy some bubbles appeared, but then I slightly sandpapered the surface before every next layer of epoxy and the surface became smooth. There are a total of three layers of epoxy and 2 or 3 layers of polyurethane varnish (I don’t remember if 2 or 3).
One thing that I noticed during all this varnishing is that both the epoxy and the polyurethane varnish have to be as diluted as possible, otherwise the surface of the speargun becomes uneven and with small bubbles.
Congrats on your gun! It looks really cool :)
The bubbles come from the oil in mahogany. One way to prevent it is to rub the wood with acetone before applying the epoxy.
What did you use to dillute the epoxy? Also why did you use both epoxy and polyurethane, are they complimentary of each other? In what order did you appply them?
Hi OregonSpearo,
To dilute the epoxy I used a chemical substance whose English name I don't know. Here it is called AMB, I don’t know if the acronym rings any bells for you. Initially I planned to use only epoxy, but later I changed my mind after watching a demo video of the Totemsub spearguns (www.totemsub.it). The guy who produces them said he uses first 3 layers of epoxy to impregnate the wood and then varnishes it with 2 or 3 layers of polyurethane for that shiny look.
Yesterday I tried the gun in the water for the first time. I was really surprised how well balanced it was and this is by pure chance :) I did not put any ballast in it at all. When it is loaded with the spear it can be hold with two fingers underwater and it stays perfectly horizontal. It is lighter underwater and tracks better than my friend’s Cressi Comanche 90. Without the spear it floats and also stays horizontally on the surface. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to meet any fishes and introduce the gun to its real purpose because it is still very cold here and the fishes are hidden in the depths. However I’m very happy that the gun performs well.
Good idea to have a thread dedicated to gun building.
I have been trying to find out a few things for building an 80cm gun (see a post I made sometime on this site...).

Anyway, I have three peices of teak that have been planed to 18mm by 35mm by 1014mm.

I have some slow cure West System glue coming.

One of the laminates has a slight warp to it (about 2mm).
Is it better to have the warp one way or another ?
ie when I glue it is is better to have the warped peice in the centre or on the outside ?
is it better to have the warp with the ends touching or the centre touching (ie if it is an outside laminate to have it running convex or concave ?)

As for laminating...

Is it better to router the rail before laminating or to make the laminate of the 3 peices and then cut the rail ?

I am making a wooden handle from a lump of purple heart or maybe paduak.

I thought that as the specific gravity of teak is about 0.65 then the purpleheart at 0.86 should give the gun a better balance.

As for balance....

I am making an 80cm gun with a 120cm shaft for quick tracking in the shallows and strong currents for bass here in Guernsey (sometimes as shallow as 80cm and with strong currents).
So the gun should have very good side to side motion but the up and down motion is not so important as you are usually level with the fish but they are making a pass in front of you sometimes quite quickly.

I thought to take the idea of the totemsub Guizzo (light gun with good tracking due to oval / squid shaped section) but to make the barrel more oval - more like the Abellan guns - but then taper it to a thin nose.

My question is this :
For balance for a gun like this does anyone have any advice ?
Do you make a gun with a heavy handle or do you need more wood than I am planning at the nose ?

(No pics yet but when I get the glue I will get posting....)
Gudday Ed
With that warped bit of wood, if it were me, I would wait a couple of weeks then have it re machined straight then glue the stock up asap. After it has settled for another length of time (as long as possible and def over a week) re machine it straight, then rout the rail, that way youll have more chance of keepint the whole affair straight.
I think the wood for the handle is just a matter of personal choice to be honest, theres hardly enough to make any noticable difference at all, you can let in some lead ballast when the gun is nearly finished, I think its best to make it all a bit bouyant and then balance it all afterwards, not that I'm any great authority on the matter, the first gun I made sank like a stone
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I have the wood upstairs in my house lying flat and as it gets quite warm up there with the sun on the roof I thought that any movement that would occur would occur pretty soon.

Is it worth re-planing it as it is only 2mm out ?
I thought that by gluing it to the others it would be ok.

Why did your gun sink like a stone ?
Maybe I can learn from your mistakes !

Another question.
I was going to put a totemsub trigger in - is it easier to fit the trigger in the middle laminate before or after gluing the other two pieces together ?

Hi Spearos,

This is a great thread. I think that you should all be commended for wanting to build your own gun. For those of you that have the basic tools.it is not all that hard. It just takes some good planning and lots of elbow grease.
Just a few things to consider when using different woods. I have pretty much worked with all the woods available. Being a custom gun designer that offers a lifetime warranty, I have pretty much gone back to basics and use only Teak. Why? Because it is the most stable of all the woods to work with, Its fairly easy to acquire, and I rarely have problems with warping and delamination with my solid gun stocks or the laminated stocks on blue water and enclosed tracked guns.
Here is what I have found while working with the four woods mentioned in earlier posts. All are very nice woods to work with and they have advantages and disadvantages when working with them.

Oak. It is a very hard dense wood with nice grain. It can be found with very little or no knots or many. It does not rout easily and tends to splinter in sharp pieces so eye protection is a must. Of course that should be standard for anyone working with power tools. I have found that the oak tends to warp very easily. Even when laminated. IT also likes to soak moisture in through any little break in the stock. Screw holes, scratches, etc. A strong seal and good finish is a must. It also tends to get dark wood rot stains wherever moisture can seep in.
A very well known company that makes probably the most wood stock guns sold, used to have oak and teak laminated guns. They are no longer available due to the warpage and because the two woods have different coefficient expansion rates the stocks would delaminate with time. It happened to me too.

Mahogany. It is a soft wood, easy to work with. but very porous. Its pores are like a sponge and if moisture gets to the stock, it also turns dark. It has the advantage or disadvantage being very buoyant. I used to make Ballast wings (yes me too before I saw the light) out of this material because I could add a greater amt of ballast due to mahogany's buoyancy. It is very important to get a good seal in this wood too. Many manufacturers like this wood because it is readily available, easy to work with and cheap. Almost half the price of teak.

Purple heart. I fell in love with the looks of this wood the first time I saw it. Who would have though nature could make a wood purple! The down side of this wood is that it is very brittle like oak, and tends to splinter. Also it warps easily too. I loved the look, but hated working with it because of all the splinters I would get while working with it. Another down side is it will blacken wherever water contacts the wood. Around the screw holes in the track etc.
Also with time it will turn a lovely tan or brown color as the uv rays fade the wood. It is pretty dense wood.

Padauk. This wood is very dense and tight grained. Splinter city unless sharp blades are used. It is not very buoyant and I had a few guns sink on me.

One thing to remember is that you should never mix woods. There are those that do and make beautiful guns, but when push comes to shove, a laminated stock of all the same wood will have less chance of warpage or delaminating. Want to hear something hilarious? Many years ago when I first got into this seriously, I decide to make the most beautiful gun and used all of the above in a laminated stock. I was so proud of it that when I took it out for the inaugural dive, neadless to say my ego was devastated to see that not only was it delaminating, but it had warped after only a days diving. It had four coats of epoxy and was finished as best as I could do at that time. It was just that the different woods all expanded differently and the epoxy could not overcome the expansion rates.
Another tip is too make two guns. Have a cheap piece of pine or inexspensive wood and do the first cuts and routs on that piece and then do the final one on the stock you are going to use. Better to make a mistake on the cheaper wood. Then just putt he practice stock away.

The bottom line is that no matter what you use there is ALWAYS the chance of delaminating, warpage. Checking of the wood, dark wood rot, etc To lessen the occurrence, stick with one wood, and try to use a very dense stable wood like Teak. I know our rainforests are diminishing but there really isn't a substitute for Teak.

Again congratulations to all you that will take the journey and build you own gun. But remember to not cut corners and make your gun as safe as possible. No matter who's hardware you use, the only safe speargun is an unloaded one.

Aloha, Daryl
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I wouldnt keep it anywhere to hot Ed, have you got a garage or shed? I would definately straighten that piece, even if its just the 1 side and you use it on the outside, the less tension in your stock the better in the long run, it would be a shame to end up with a bent gun next year.
The mistake I made was listening to her indoors, it was a teak/carbon laminate, ultra strong and ultra thin but not enough wood to make it float, man did I feel the plonker (nice to hear the same happened to you Daryl [saves a bit of face]), that shouldnt happen with a conventional gun but better to make it a bit big and hack a lump or 2 off if you know what I mean ;) BTW what s your thoughts on ballast wings Daryl? made me curious now.
Remember when you glue up to coarse sand the inner glue faces to leave space for that epoxy, I learned that one with some tightly curved ebony glazing bars for a cabinet I made a few years ago, the laminates sprung a few days later and when I got into the workshop one morning the thins looked like Sonic the hedgehogs hair do
Got the whole house ! I live in a building site..... old cottage being rennovated.

So what you are saying is not to make it too thin?

I was planning on making it like the totemsub guizzo and giman sub labrax - both of these have thin nose sections.

I guess i could fatten out the handle end more like the Abellan guns but I have no idea of the priniciples of gun balance....

Any one have any handy hints on design and widths / dimensions for a gun like I have described ?

Many thnaks if you can help - cheers Ed
(off for a dive now - see if any more plaice around...)
If its to thin it will bend when its loaded and whiplash when its shot. What I would do if I were you is: make the stock, rout the rail, fit the trigger, mount the bands when its somewhere near the final shape, then plonk a shaft in and take it for a dip to see if its still nose heavy or light, take a few bits of lead with you to play around with the ballast. I think ic spearguns have a section about this on thier site, just take your time and get it right, taking wood off is easy, sticking it back on is a pain.
Hope the dive went well, Plaice is my favorite :p

i think i can give you some general ideas about what you are asking for.

First you have to decide which band and shaft configuration you will use before deciding on barelll dimension.

Since i am quite familiar the diving conditions you told and have similar type gun. I will advise you either 6mm shaft with 16mm bands or 6.25mm with OMER power 18mm. Difference between 6.5 and 6.25 is really huge, you can feel the difference at recoil, shaft speed, and reaction of the fish after speared.

Well, you already know you need oval barell shape for maximum side tracking and recoil absobtion.

if you will use seperate handle and muzzle you will also use some branded reel.
Look, i will advise you what i had used and liked.

For muzzle, in my opinion excalibur 2000 is the best muzzle design i have seen in flesh an used up to date, especially if you modify it the way i did. That way you get all of the pluses of the open muzzle and screw in muzzle, and belive me it makes a lot of difference while tracking and shooting fish. Muzzle is one of the major "accuracy disturber" if you set something wrong.

I liked OMER'S Alluminium handle at best. Its the preciest and smoothest i ever shoot, what i minute, you supposed to have one isn't it?Plastic Excalibur handle will do the job nice too.

In that case reel will be alluminium omer, if you use it with alluminium handle it will be back heavy but the balance of the handle never effect the nose behaviour at all. If you use it with excalibur handle it will be slightly more bouyant. I am shooting with one of my friends 90cm woodie, which has alluminium handle and allu 30 reel and belive me it track and shoots as well as others. I even like the feel of it.

Now the barell, if you will not consider to putting on excalibur muzzle which i strongly recommend you to put one, obviously you better to choose thin nose in that case, since the fishes and environment you are going to hunt will demand fash aiming and shooting. Because of the shaft and band configuration recoil will be minimal so you don't need to worry about nose lift much.

Now i will give you some universalized barell sizes (for that kind of wood guns of course!!!), small cuttlefish bone shape will be perfect in my opinion, so with 5-5.5cm at the center, 3cm at the front, and 3.5-4cm at the back.

I thnik that all i want to say :hmm :)
Very interesting input by Daryl Wong.
First off I must admit to never having made a speargun, however, I have spent a lifetime working with wood. While I generally agree with Darly re woods I slightly differ over mahogany.
Mahogany is a generic term covering a whole family of trees and hence woods. Sapelle and Brazillian are both sold as mahogany but are vastly different in character. Some mahoganies can be very dense, straight and tight grained and non porous. You just need to choose your timber carefully. Again I don't make spearguns but I would have thought some mahoganies suitable.
As for the best wood being Teak I can see the logic in this. Teak has been the premier wood in boatbuilding since Noah was a boy. The primary reason is that it has a very high "oil" content, making it all but impervious to the ingress of water.
However until epoxy came along it had been extremely difficult to glue. Almost all other glues both natural and synthetic meet their match with teak. Even the extrmely sticky polyurethanes can't touch it. This is due to that previously good thing its oil content. Very few adhesives glue oily substances. One of the reasons epoxy can work is that its molecular structure allows it ot penetrate minute pores in substances, even metals. However (again) there' epoxy and then there's epoxy. I've seen a teak boarding ladder, epoxy glued, fall apart under its own weight, never mind anyone standing on it - wrong epoxy.
As for laminating, again this is an old and tried technique, which can be done for many reasons. The main use is probably to produce curves in wood eg wheels, curved furniture frames etc. Laminating spearguns is using this technique but in this case the curve is zero. All wood tends to bend, warp and twist, it's in their nature. Moisture content creates different stresses within the timber and it curves to compensate. You cannot entirely prevent this happening but there are many ways to minimise this effect. Laminating maintains the shape by getting the laminates to work against each other, in other words one bends one way while the other bends the opposite but the glue holds them together and the forces cancel out. Usually the more laminates the better this effect is.
As Daryl offers such a comprehensive guarantee I wonder how many laminates he uses, ie how many per inch thickness and which specific epoxy glue he uses. Also how does he prepare his teak. Is it especially dried and seasoned and does he degrease with say acetone or similar.
I am about to assist on a build and the devil is in the detail, so any help greatfully recieved.
Daryl Wong said:
Hi Spearos,
[...]Here is what I have found while working with the four woods mentioned in earlier posts. All are very nice woods to work with and they have advantages and disadvantages when working with them.[...]

Aloha, Daryl
What do you think of douglas fir for spearguns?
This is an awesome thread. Thanks for the great info Daryl.
I also have a question. Do you all use a brush to varnish the guns and did someone try to spray the diluted epoxy or polyurethane? I want to achieve a shiny glass-like surface on my gun. Is it possible? Any tips on that?
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