When sundering a weapon, knowing its material is important to determine HP and hardness.
As I understand it, metal-hafted weapons are weapons that use metal as their handle's material. Are any standard weapons metal-hafted? What is the difference between a one-handed blade and a one-handed hafted weapon? Are some weapons considered not hafted at all?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ What's the context for this question? That is, do you need an answer to determine rust monster leftovers or for a specific feat...? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2014 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Determining the hardness and hp of items about to be sundered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hunter
    Feb 23, 2014 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Almost a duplicate of rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/29718/…, if the 3.5e/Pathfinder distinction is important here (I don't believe it is). \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 24, 2014 at 1:32

2 Answers 2


The rules don’t ever say what different parts of a weapon are made from

They just don’t get into that level of detail. The default materials are leather, wood, and steel, but which parts are made from which materials (and what type of leather, wood, or steel, for that matter) just isn’t brought up.

Weapons do some times have brief descriptions of their physical appearance and construction; there probably exist a few weapons where the wood or metal of the haft are mentioned, but that’s almost entirely coincidental. For the most part, the rules assume that weapons are made in a reasonably realistic manner, but don’t actually care that much.

A “haft” usually refers to a relatively long handle

This is just English at this point, but it would be weird to call the handle of a sword a “haft.” Typically, when the handle is much longer than the “business” part of the weapon, the handle is called a haft. I’m sure there’s a technical definition somewhere, but I’m equally sure that Dungeons and Dragons is not a game that pays too much attention to such technicalities. Anyway, axes, spears, polearms are typically considered hafted. Swords, knives, and so on typically are not.

Historically, hafts are made from wood, just for the sake of cutting costs; steel was rather expensive and time-consuming to work with back in the day. But as a “regular” material, Dungeons and Dragons does not have rules for a “special” all-metal haft; that’s just a choice available to the person who makes it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not to mention having a metal haft would probably add a lot of weight, which makes it more impractical historically. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2014 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Short steel hafts would be a possibility - it's more dense, but sturdier so you can make it much thinner than wood. Axes and maces with a steel handle have been made historically, it's only polearms that should be restricted to wood. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peteris
    Feb 24, 2014 at 0:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Peteris Eh, not buying that. True for actual human beings, but actual human beings don’t have nearly the strength or stamina of D&D characters. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 24, 2014 at 1:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ See my answer on the pretty-much-dupe question for some ideas around that. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 24, 2014 at 2:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ While uncommon to refer to it as such, "haft" is a synonym for "hilt," even for short-handled weapons such as a short sword or dagger. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brian S
    Feb 24, 2014 at 14:42

The documented rules in the PHB weapon descriptions lists which weapons are metal hafted. (ex.: light and heavy mace are described as metal hafted weapons).

This likely means if the description is not mentionning the weapon to be steel hafted, the normal version of that weapon (stats, weight, etc.) as described in the PHB is wooden hafted.

But I agree that crafting a metal hafted weapon should be possible.
I have not found any rules on that though, so probably a house rule will be needed here if that is an option you want to pursue.

I recommend that at the very least

  • A metal hafted weapon should increases cost significantly (and thus crafting time) from the normal wooden hafted version.
  • A metal hafted weapon should weight a lot more than the wooden hafted version. The larger the portion of the haft in the weapon, the bigger the weight increase should be. (On average Steel weights 8 times more for the same volume of Wood, but by using the weight, size and thickness comparison between a heavy wooden shield and a heavy steel shield, D&D seems to take a factor of 4.5 instead, so I'd go with that)
  • I would personnaly also require the weapon to be made of masterwork quality in order to function properly (which would also add 300gp to the cost of the item).

example 1: Cost and weight for a Metal Hafted Handaxe would be 309gp and weight 8.5 lbs (A wood hafted handaxe cost 6gp and weight 3lbs. the haft portion is about 50% of the weapon so take (0.5x3)x4.5(steel weight factor vs wood.) and add the remaining 50% for the axe head = 8.25 (% accuracy can be improved this is just for sake of the example)

Example 2: Cost and weight for an iron hafted spear would be 304gp and weight 27lbs (A wood hafted spear cost 2gp and weight 6lbs but the wood haft part is around 100% of the weapon portion, so (100% of 6lbs)x4.5 = 27lbs)


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