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    first time build (complete newbie)

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    dackieboi
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    first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by dackieboi on Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:24 pm

    Hi I'm new to this site and to be honest new to crossbows and im looking for some help building my first one because basically i have no idea how to even start designing one so if any one can point me in the direction of either some plans or some reading material i would be most grateful. Im in the uk and also limited in so respects as to materials and to be honest skills but i'm keen to learn new skills and work with new materials so any help anyone could offer would be massively appreciated!
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by kenh on Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:04 pm

    Start by reading into the Crossbow Building Wiki -- listed over on the right side of the page. 

    Sort of the first thing you need to do is decide which kind of crossbow you want to build -- there are dozens of styles, actions, tiller designs, etc.  You'll also need to decide on how powerful of prod you want as that can limit or expand your possibilities. 

    IMHO if I were you I'd start simple and work into more interesting or complicated designs as you gain experience.  Start with something like a Skane style action (sometimes called a "pinlock") and one of the fiberglass "replacement" prods of 120-180# draw, which you can find inexpensively on Ebay, even if someone here has to buy it for you and mail it across The Pond.  Pick a tiller design that appeals, find a nice piece of wood, and start chopping! cheers

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Arminius on Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:18 am

    Basically have and have had the same problem(s).

    On big tip, do not use plywood. Just DO NOT. I caused me much trouble even if it's attractive because its cheap. Then, it depends on what tools you have. It can be rather difficult or not to start.

    What I would recommend (but maybe some more experienced people will disagree), try drawing on a simple piece of paper and figuring out the different parts you'll need.
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Geezer on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:59 am

    Geezer here on woods for beginners.  Pick a local hardwood... something that's available in your area.  In the US, that includes cherry, oak, birch walnut, maple and ash... not the lightweight mountain ash, but the heavier stuff.  If you're in the UK, you might be able to get beech or oak, possibly birch as well.  Don't buy plywood, it's terrible for making crossbows. Pine and other commonly used building soft-woods are also a poor choice.  I know wood in the UK isn't cheap, but you won't need a lot... for a medieval Skane bow, you'll need a piece approx. 3 feet by 1.5 inches, by 4 inches, preferably with the grain running top to bottom... in the four-inch direction, rather than across.  That's all it takes, so the cost shouldn't be prohibitive.  So get to work!

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Hermit on Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:50 am

    I would agree with you Arminius about plywood,however,you can laminate a perfectly serviceable tiller,using 2,3 or even 4 pieces of wood.A laminated tiller will be stronger,and less liable to warpage than a solid wood tiller.If you decide to laminate,2 things are important,make sure you use an appropriate waterproof glue,and be sure you have enough clamps.I have mentioned laminating,because in my experience,plank stock is usually more available in hardwoods than solid,especially with the dimensions needed for a tiller.Wood that you can buy from general suppliers,for example Home Depot,will be finished to standard sizes.A 1ins,by 6ins. plank,will be 5/1/2ins. wide,by 3/4ins. thick,so 2 pieces laminated together,will give the ideal thickness for a tiller(1 1/2 ins.).Unless you have a well equipped woodshop, or are prepared to spend a lot buying tools,avoid rough sawn lumber.I hope this is helpful,and good luck with your project.
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Arminius on Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:58 am

    Wouldn't you say that even that the laminated wood has a big risk of delamiting especially with time and being subjected to stress?
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Geezer on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:11 am

    Laminated hardwood stocks should hold up very well for durability and time, assuming you clamp well and use a good glue.  I recommend Titebond II or III, but there are many good quality wood glues out there.  Just make sure your boards are smooth and flat, use plenty of glue, and clamp the hell out of them.  Have fun!  Geezer
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by kenh on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:55 am

    Laminated hardwoods aren't in the same category as plywood. 

    A three-piece tiller with the central piece being the bolt channel is a great way to simplify building.  As Geezer says, use at least Titebond II or III, not generic white glue.  The joints will be stronger than the wood itself.  A laminated stock can also be reinforced with glued in dowels or even screws, and stands virtually no chance of delaminating.


    Last edited by kenh on Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:55 pm; edited 3 times in total

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Rizzar on Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:11 pm

    Welcome dacieboy!
    If you have question, feel free to ask.


    I think there is one material topic mixed on two threads, perhaps it wwoud be better to regain control.

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Hermit on Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:02 am

    With modern adhesives Arminius,if the joint is done properly,it will be stronger than solid wood(because the glue in the joint is stronger than wood}and because today's waterproof glues are long lasting,and completely impervious to water. 
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by dackieboi on Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:29 am

    Hardwood is really expensive where I am would something like redwood or mdf work? (might be a stupid question)
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Geezer on Mon Jan 06, 2014 7:38 am

    No: redwood or mdf will not work.  Buy a decent hardwood, for Pete's sake:  Look at it this way-you're gonna spend hours or days working on this project. Saving ten dollars or twenty pounds or whatever by buying lousy wood is going to make your project harder to accomplish and when you're finished it will be a weak, crumbly piece of crap.  In the long run, you'll have more fun and produce a much better project if you buy the right materials to begin with.
    Yes, I know the alternatives look attractively inexpensive, but take it from an old pro on this.  Get decent materials... you don't need the very best, but buy something that will work and look good when you're done.  Geezer.
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by mac on Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:07 am

    Dackieboi,

    Where are you?

    What hardwoods have you looked at? ....and what were the prices?

    What do you consider really expensive?

    Redwood http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoioideae  is probably not a good choice unless you are willing to make the tiller too thick for the size of the prod.

    MDF is heavy and weak.  I would not advise using it for any load bearing application.

    High quality birch plywood would work (Joerg Sprave  http://www.slingshotchannel.com/ gets a lot of mileage out of it for his wild-and-crazy slingshot projects)  but it is more expensive than hardwood. 

    Here is an Ebay listing for a hard maple board. http://www.ebay.com/itm/8-4-Hard-Maple-6-5-8-X-42-1-2-/131082982531?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e85279483  It's 2 inches thick, over 6 inches wide and 42 inches long.  There are two tillers in this board, and it could be at your doorstep for $43 bucks.  I am sure there are other options, but this the first one that came up.

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by woodsmith on Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:21 pm

    dackieboi, you may want to consider recycled/reclaimed wood. I'm starting a build using an old birch shelf for the tiller wood. It had fancy routed edges which I cut off, ripped it down the middle and have two boards to laminate together.

    Around here on garbage days you can find all kinds of possibilities sitting at the end of peoples driveways like old furniture, desks, shelving units etc. You can get a good idea if it's a suitable wood by the weight. Amazing what people throw out.

    Another possibility could be wooden shipping pallets, which are quite often made of hardwood, though you would need access to a planer.

    If there are any specialty wood places nearby see if they have cutoffs or remnants for sale, there is one close to me that has racks of these in various sizes and species for decent prices.
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by dackieboi on Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the ideas guys just need to get the stuff together now

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by chaz on Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:22 pm

    Dackieboi

      If you have a local cabinet shop near by, is also a good resourse for hardwood pieces.

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by dackieboi on Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:10 pm

    ok so i'm probably gonna order my first prod on Friday (150lb armex fiberglass job) and im gonna call a local timber yard about getting wood for a tiller but being the noob i am wondering if anyone has like a blueprint or diagram with measurements and stuff because when i say noob i mean ive never even held a crossbow! sorry if im being a pain in the ass but this just seamed like something cool to try and build with my free time
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Geezer on Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:22 pm

    At the risk of repeating myself for the "Nth" time, you can find a decent pattern with measurements on the Alchem Corp. site.  They also offer crossbow prods and parts... but unfortunately, their delivery is so slow that they've essentially been replaced by Garvin's Slo-bows.  Still the Alchem pattern will make a workable more-or-less Medieval crossbow with your new fiberglass prod.  Geezer
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by dackieboi on Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:15 am

    Thanks geezer I'm getting the prod from my local army surplus store looking at those plans do I bolt the prod to the end or is that what the rope bindings for? (sorry like I said total noob)
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by kenh on Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:17 am

    Yes, the prod is lashed onto the tiller, not bolted.  There are actually several ways to attach a prod.  

    Can I tactfully suggest that you actually read and understand the basics of crossbow design and construction.  Even "noobs" need to have a basic understanding of how things work before they can ask intelligent questions.

    I always say there are no stupid questions, just ones you don't get answered.  But you can ask better questions if you know a bit first.
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by War Song on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:53 am

    kenh wrote:Yes, the prod is lashed onto the tiller, not bolted.  There are actually several ways to attach a prod.  

    Can I tactfully suggest that you actually read and understand the basics of crossbow design and construction.  Even "noobs" need to have a basic understanding of how things work before they can ask intelligent questions.

    I always say there are no stupid questions, just ones you don't get answered.  But you can ask better questions if you know a bit first.

    Sorry to butt in, but I been trying to bolt on the prod to the stock instead of lashing, just so I can take off the prod in a hurry if situation calls for it. I find that the bulging of the bow when drawn is strong enough to pull the nuts on my two 5/16 bolts through the pine wood I'm using as the front plate. Any ideas how to get around this? Maybe padding at the back of the plate would help?
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by kenh on Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:36 pm

    Warsong -- can you attach a picture so we can see what you're talking about?

    I'm trying to envision two bolts/screws going through the prod...

    ..."bulging of the bow"... it bulges??? Is this a PVC prod?  Metal?  Fiberglass?  Actually none of them should bulge where they cross the tiller...  Do you mean the recoil when the prod is fired?

    "pine wood...front plate..."  that may be the problem itself.  Pine generally just isn't strong enough even for things like pistolbows...

    Many of the "bolt on" prods are actually set in a vertical slot in the top of the tiller that is set back from the nose.  The "bolt" runs through a nut set into the nose of the prod, and a bolt pushes on a plate, which in turn pushes on the prod.  Another padded plate sits behind the prod against the bulk of the tiller.

    I can't imagine any situation where taking the prod off in a hurry is any advantage.  Even in a paramilitary or similar situation. Been in plenty of sticky military situations, I have...    If you've got the time to unbolt a prod, you've got time to unass the situation without disassembling anything.  Just my tuppence.

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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Hermit on Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:51 pm

    Warsong,I would suggest you look at the sections on this website that show members builds,many of them show pics. of crossbow construction from start to finish.The saying goes"a picture is worth a thousand words".There are pictures of at least 4 different ways of securing the prod,all fairly simple and easy to understand,and not difficult to make.I am all to aware of how difficult it is to describe how to do certain things,especially when technical terms need to be used to describe tools and the operations they perform.You have to look at the different ways to fix the prod,decide which will suit you best,try to build it.Only then will it be possible for the experienced builders on here be able to give effective help and advice.Members here have no idea of your tool using skills,your tooling,or your general mechanical understanding,until they do,it is virtually impossible to give you meaningful advice.All they can do,is point you in the general direction,which is not satisfactory,either to you,or them.I realise that it's not easy to plan out a crossbow when you've never built one before,but that's what you need to do,in order to benefit from the help that's freely given on this website.
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by Hermit on Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:01 pm

    this is a P.S.In order to remove the prod,you will need to unstring it,unless you are practised at it,and have the nescessary stringer,this can take longer than removing the prod,I see no advantage to having some sort of  quick release prod,which is probably why no crossbow that I know of has this feature.
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    Re: first time build (complete newbie)

    Post by dackieboi on Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:18 pm

    ok so i've got a basic tiller (very basic) and im waiting for my prod to arrive but I'm not entirely happy with the aesthetics of my tiller at the moment was wondering if anyone could offer a suggestion on how to make it look less shit also how can i make a safety for a pinlock trigger?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/114412612@N02/sets/72157639775405545/

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