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    My Ulrich is DONE!

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    Lightly
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    My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Lightly on Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:57 am

    Hey folks, I have been working intermittently on an 'Ulrich' style crossbow for a client.
    I worked hard on getting the dimensions as close as I could tell from the photos on the Met Museum site, and using materials as close as I could get to the original, which meant, fruit wood (cherry) camel bone (rather than ivory/stag horn) and moose horn nut. 

    The client wanted a 'squiggly' bone inlet along the sides, rather than the classic inlay that is on the original, and, of course, I could not carve it like it is actually carved.
    I am here to tell you that inletting the horn lockplates were a booger. I blew up three pairs before I got the fourth pair to work for me. I learned a bunch about working with horn, and need to learn a bunch more. 

    Anyhoo, I had a photographer friend take some shots for me, and he did an amazing job. The first few photos in the set are of a stock bow for sale, and a stock, so, click along until you reach the Ulrich! (Unless, of course, you need a Maximilian type bow?!)

    I know that Ivo will sigh and tell me I should paste the photos on here, but, I am A) a luddite, and B) lazy.

    This bow is the culmination of much that i have learned from Geezer, and I hope, showcases some of my bowmaking Mad Skillz.

    Click on the thumbnails to make them bigger.
    http://sevenstarphoto.com/clients/swifthoundbows/index.html

    Enjoy!

    Best!

    Lightly
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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Gnome on Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:09 pm

    That's gorgeous!
    Gnome

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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Hermit on Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:33 pm

    Yet another beautiful bow from yet another talented craftsman.with all the talented builders on here,it won't be long before I'm out of different expressions of appreciation,then I'll just have to find a standard format,or god forbid,keep repeating myself.
                                                                  Hermit.

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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by chaz on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:29 pm

    LIGHTLY,

    Absolutely wonderful work .... you should be so very proud of yourself....

    Chaz
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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by jds6 on Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:50 am

    Absolutely amazing!!!! What a joy it is to see the finished product. 
     Can't speak for everyone else, but, you sure inspire me to make better, more detailed bows!!!
    Thanks for sharing.

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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Lightly on Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:55 pm

    Thanks, all!
     

    The only diff between us all, is I get to do this for 7 hours a day..plenty of time to practice! 

    Best!

    L.

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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Rizzar on Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:16 am

    Adore your work, especially the inletting which I have to learn about a lot more myself.

    The horn cheeks are very nice, I´d like to make some in my futute so I can empathize the trouble with them.

    By the way, what kind of wood did you use for the tiller, is it walnut??

    There are only 2 things that hit my eyes to put on constructive criticism:
    The pins for the cranequin are a bit thin ( I know they´re more optical but that is exactly why they should be more massive to conserve an authentic look) You should consider making them in 1/2"+ in the future and a bit more compact. (Besides they could be -dependant on the future cranc- a bit too close to the lock)

    Even more important:
    I know it has to do with your component suppliers, but this tiller would be much more impressive with a more authentic prod.
    Since you apparently earn your living with building crossbows,
    have you guys ever thought about getting your prods made in small series with rolled tubular ends and more medieval looking geometric (stronger in the center, a bit shorter).

    greetings Rizzar
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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Lightly on Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:46 am

    Thank you, Rizzar, I really appreciate your constructive criticism.

    I agree with you about the pin. I am not that happy with it. I felt it was too long, once I put it in place. As well as, a bit too skinny. I hadn't paid enough attention to it, really, and the bow was pretty much done once I placed it, as it would have encumbered my tying the prod on before, or putting the finish on. I let it go, as the client had decided she wanted it by a certain date. But a mental note was made for a shorter, thicker one in the future. 

    As for prods, we CAN get those, they are made in Europe, and we've ordered a few in the past, however, they are several hundred dollars. And, generally, the clients do not wish to pay it. 
    Also, if I understand correctly, those prods are quite strong. Which, while correct, make it much harder for the clients to play with the bows, and they want to shoot them!
    this client wanted hers for target shooting, and the bow is in the range for that. By which I mean, it is 'easy' to shoot, she does not have to really fiddle with a cranequin, or gaffe. She should be able to pull it by hand. *I* could not, but, I have arthritis in my shoulders, which, when it flares up, makes it so I can't span the bow. And, it flares up in winter.
    So, partly, that is the compromise we make, I'd LOVE to have it more authentic, AND, we have to go with what the clients want, as well.

    As far as I could from the photos, the pin is in the "correct" place. I downloaded the photos of the Ulrich from the Met, and carefully gridded it out as well as I could.
    I should really pester Ivo, with his Mad Computer Skillz, to help me with that in the future! I knew the length, but had to extrapolate all else from that one figure. And, I am clever with my hands, but NOT with math! So there was much measuring and re-measuring. The door of the shop is still covered with taped up printed copies of the Ulrich, penciled all over with measurements, and notes, etc.

    The wood was cherry, she wanted a 'lighter' color. Otherwise, I think I might have done it in walnut. On the other hand, the grain was quite pretty in this one. 
    On the other other hand, I learned early this year that many "nice" bows were laminated woods, with a veneer over  them. 
    So, unlike myself, I have to wonder if the grain of the wood was not important to the folks making them back them, and moreso, the bone and other decorations. I think that likely the case. The wood being just the vehicle?

    Any other thoughts? I am very open to them. Here to learn.
    It was thanks to Max, and some German videos that I learned to tie the prod on "properly", and I have learned so much more from you all.

    Youall are an invaluable resource, thanks!

    And, if ANYone knows anything at all about working horn, I would love to hear it.
    I searched the web, Geezer found some stuff, my hubby found some info as well, we used heat, (a toaster over) as well as heating it in lard, all of which worked somewhat.
    I ended up needing to use pins to tack the horn and bone on.
    As the weather changed here, the wood swelled, and shrank, and the bone lifted in a couple places.

    In the future, I need to learn to pin the bone, and put in plugs so they don't show. The pins have a certain esthetic, but, I don't always want that.

    Thanks again, Rizzar.

    Best!

    Lightly

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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Rizzar on Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:39 pm

    You are very welcome

    About that pin distance, I tried to measure them and I come to the conclusion you might be 1/3" shorter than the original, with measuring mistakes in mind this hardly makes any difference.

    This is not a point to mind a lot and really only comes to a point when applying a cranequin.
    Relating to the cranequindesign the position of the pins depends on the design of the ratchet bar (long or short fingers) and the position of the mounting loop.
    If the fingers are too long or the mounting loop is too far in the end of the housing there can be the possibility the cranequin won´t reach the nut.
    As I will be finishing my cranequin in the next weeks (exams right now) I consider in fitting a crossbow to an existing cranequin other than vice versa.


    I know these fine handmade prods, I am in contact with Jens Sensfelder right now because he should build me a prod I cannot produce myself.
    His pricing is very reasonable for this kind of work and I would not even think about complaining about it.

    But you are right, they are not very friendly for the easy pull^^
    I encountered ~220lbs to be possible to pull with both hands, but this is no fun for me anymore.

    His prods are rarely lighter than 250lbs caused by the medieval design.

    I had more for you in mind to perhaps get into contact with a talented metalworker or blacksmith near you.
    Plain spring steel cut into shape, bending, a little forging the ends, professionally hardening and some grinding doesn´t make that much costs and time efford when made in a bulk.
    And with a low thickness you could easily stay in the convenient draw weight area.


    I used to work my horn carefully with a heatgun applying the form in little steps.
    As long as the grain is good and I do not burn it I had little difficulties, but that is hard to compare to those large cheeks.

    I glue my horn/bone in with 2 component epoxy, that should prevent stretching differences.
    Nicely glued in with those pins to ensure its position and smoothly ground would look great and be my choice for the future ( never used those pins before but really like them).


    Concerning lamination and grain:
    A laminated piece of wood can be stronger than a solid grown one.
    Dependent on the grain structure, a carpenter told me, correct laminated wood is best for certain loads.
    Especially when veenering a strong laminated core will do fine.
    The only thing I personally would fear is to get down to the core when rounding the curves of the tiller.


    Greetings Rizzar
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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Lightly on Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:59 pm

    Sorry for such a long time to reply, Rizzar.
    First, i very much hope to see your cranequin soon!

    Second, yes, I did hear about Jens Sensfelder, did he also write the lovely book about crossbows?
    I think we have one of his prods in the shop, on a Padre Island bow, a spanish military bow, that is.
    With my arthritis and bursitis in shoulders, I find that 125 is the most I can pull. This means that poor Geezer must test all my bows over that amount.
    So, I must sadly pass (for myself, that is) on a Jens prod until I can find a good cranequin.
    But, I DO have a blacksmith down the street, who may, or may not! have the skills to make a lighter, yet period looking, prod for me! he is already making some triggers for me. He made the one on the Ulrich bow that I just finished.

    Third, I do think that epoxy will be what I do try next time I make the horn lockplates. Thanks!

    Fourth, well, I thought there was a forth, but, I can't remember!  
    I hope your exams went well, and again, thank you so much for all the constructive criticism. It is very appreciated.
    Best!
    Lightly

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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Rizzar on Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:32 pm

    No problem with some response delay!

    Glad to give as much information/constructive criticism as I can!

    You should think about building some easy spanning device to help you with testing!
    What about an adjustable role spanner that can be applied via a "basket" to any tiller you want without damaging it??

    Exams went very well, I only have oral english exams left which is kinda difficult (strange teacher).

    Sensfelder wrote many good books/articles about crossbows and he has a lot of knowledge.
    He is the author of "Crossbows in the Royal Netherlands Army Museum" which is in my opinion one of the best buys one can ever make. Besides he is the publisher of an annual booklet on crossbows which turned out to me to be very rich of detailed information lately.

    For the cranc I was some kind of lazy the last weeks.
    Winter is coming and it is getting dark so early, making it unconvenient working outside!
    I hope to be in a mood to go on today.

    Greetings Rizzar
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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by DARIVS ARCHITECTVS on Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:19 am

    Fantastic arbalest.  Congrats!
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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Lightly on Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:27 am

    Thank you, Darius! From you, that means a great deal.

    Take care!

    Lightly.
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    Re: My Ulrich is DONE!

    Post by Hotspur on Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:41 pm

    Very elegant. Truly a nobleman/woman's's bow.

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