Crossbows - Everything about Building, Modding, and Using your Crossbow Gear

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» Berkhamsted Castle and Glasgow Museum wooden prod crossbow
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    rick.henion
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    New to the Forum

    Post by rick.henion on Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:09 pm

    This is my first post to the Forum, so I hope I've got it right.  I've long been interested in traditional crossbows but I have been put off by my total inability to make or find bows (prods).  Oddly, gun barrels could be had almost anywhere, and since most of the early guns that I liked were smooth bored, barrels could be made by almost any machine shop.  So I guess that's where I've been the past twenty or so years.

    However; now that I have found this forum, I see that there are some tremendously talented people crafting some fantastic crossbows and related equipment out there.  It makes me wonder why I feared a spring steel bow (prod) right in front of my face, but had no qualms about a gun powder filled tube in the same place.  Be that as it may, I am interested in jumping right into the craft!

    I guess I'll ask my first stupid question: I see Alchem, Slobow, and DIGITARC all currently make steel prods; I have also looked at a number of posts and really fantastic pictures of original and "new" bows in this forum.  I am looking for a recommendation(s) for someone who makes/sells, well proportioned prods, in the 150-300 lb. range, with as close to 'rolled pin tips' as possible, and if possible available without having to wait until the next Renaissance for them?  I was hoping to get started on a build before the winter ends and the demands of summer slow the prospects for progress.
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    Jack Pine
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    Re: New to the Forum

    Post by Jack Pine on Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:39 am

    Hi Rick, glad you're here. I'm not one of the talented people on here, I'm just nuts about crossbows.

    Jack ><>

    phuphuphnik
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    Re: New to the Forum

    Post by phuphuphnik on Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:38 am

    There are a bunch of us that would like rolled and pin tips. The ones I have seen are made by the folks who are making that particular bow. I have an alchem bow (which apparently are made by slobow?) and it looks quite nice, though a bit modern IMHO for early steel bows. I found that if I make a nice heavy prod on the forge of the proper steel, I can have a local spring tempering place harden and temper it for me. It will cost 2-3 times the alchem price. I would love to get together with a few folks and do a run of a dozen or so heavy prods. I've been talking to some elk hunters near me to get neck sinew to do a 1200s composite prod. mmmm hide glue...
    cheers,
    chriso
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    rick.henion
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    New to the Forum

    Post by rick.henion on Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:47 pm

    Thanks for the replies.  

    I have prod orders in with Alchem and Slobow, and I was considering ordering DIGITARC's smaller prod.  I want to see and feel what they are like (the pictures don't show much), but like most folks, this is a hobby and not a profession, so I'm a little limited on how much I can throw into this at this point.  The notion of "making" a prod sounds really interesting, and a few earlier posts make it sound (almost) easy, but I have done just enough blacksmithing to know better.  Also fascinating is the notion, which you mention, of trying to make a composite bow.  There is some great information and links to other sources on the forum here, but I'm going to have to do a lot more reading before I even begin to consider going down that path.

    Next month I Think I'll order a DIGITARC Prod and once they arrive (it sounds like that may take some time) I'll start planning out the next steps from there.  If nothing else, building wheel-locks (I had to wait 20 months for some steel castings) has taught me to patient. Sadly, winter is my best 'building time', and despite the 6 to 12 inches (snow) predicted for tonight, spring is next week.  

    Thanks,
    Rick
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    kenh
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    Re: New to the Forum

    Post by kenh on Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:37 pm

    Hid glue is the easy bit, Criso.  Just go down to your local megamart and buy a box of Knox (tm) Unflavored Gelatine packets, and mix with a little less water than suggested.    Same stuff, but you can eat the leftovers since it's food-grade gelatin! lol!  

    If you're want to go with an historical wood/horn/sinew composite for a prod, I suggest you spend a good bit of time on the Asian Traditional Archery Network board www.atarn.net,  and absorb everything you can from what is arguably the best resource in the netiverse on the techniques and materials of building those kinds of bows...

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    Re: New to the Forum

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