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

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» profile of medieval composite prods?
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» Need some help with a Reverse Draw Crossbow
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    diyguy
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    Post by diyguy on Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:50 pm

    Hello, folks. I'm new to the forum, and interested in building a crossbow. The picture posted by Bill Barton on Alchem's site sums up my interest, mostly. I'd like to fabricate as much as possible myself, including the prod. And wouldn't mind using hardwood shafts. From my interest in vertical traditional bows, I'm guessing that Douglas fir or Ipe might be good candidates. Technical wise, I'm green, aside from having read Payne-Gallwey's book.
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    Post by kenh on Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:00 pm

    Welcome!  Payne-Galwey is a great place to start.  You can hunt with any version of a crossbow from a Skane style pinlock with a mostly rectangular tiller, to a high-tech modern inswinger with a Star Wars tiller.
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    Post by diyguy on Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:26 pm

    Thank you. I like the one I mentioned, because it seems like a good compromise between traditional in look and modern in application. I understand the old sighting methods, but looking down the bolt, or some type of open sights, with a rifle type stock seems like it would be more conducive to accuracy, with less movement to spook a wary whitetail. If I'm going to do the work, I want it to be (relatively) as quiet as possible, also. Sort of a traditional looking Excalibur. Or is that a real tall task for a first timer? I'm decent at woodworking. I just want to be able to do the job out to 40 yards, like with a vertical bow. No forge, but I can use most other relevant tools. P-G shows a wood and metal cocking device that works similar to a goat foot, or maybe just a modern rope with T handles and double hooks, like the E.
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    Post by kenh on Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:18 am

    The crossbow pictured is a relatively common roller nut and tickler design.  The metal loop over the nut holds the butt of the bolt in place and you can mount an open notch or peep sight there and an adjustable bead-on-a-wire at the other end for modern type sights.  Alchem and the other metal prod makers make good reasonably good products, but there tend to be long lags in delivery times and such.  There are other kinds of prods like the one I made from fiberglass chainlink tension bar that are inexpensive and very functional.  

    It's not hard for a first timer to make a decent hunting crossbow.  The hard part can be picking and choosing between traditional and modern designs.  Traditional wooden prods are not for beginners or the untrained self-bow builder.  Metal prods from car springs are doable if you've got some metalworking skills.  As I said, buying a metal prod can be problematic.  Wood-glass composite prods are for experienced wood-glass bowyers.  Fiberglass bars/rods are easy and cheap.  A new material for crossbow prods that is gaining some acceptance is flattened/shaped PVC pipe.

    There are several actions that can be bought/built simply.  The Skane or pinlock is dead simple to make.  The roller nut and tickler or trigger is also pretty simple and easy.  There are complicated multiple axle actions that an be built it you're into metalworking.  And another member here is making prototypes with the idea of at least limited commercially availability of a great Ming era Chinese action in steel or brass.

    P-G's wippe (sort of a reverse goat's foot lever works well, I've used one on my 250# bow.  But you can get good hunting results with a crossbow that only needs cocking with a foot stirrup or the modern rope/handle/hook cocker - say 200-300#.

    You might be interested in the build I did for my Avatar crossbow.  The tiller, or stock, can be any shape you like, of course.  The matchlock stock design that I chose works perfectly well.  If I took the time to file a V notch or glue a ghost-ring peep sight on the maple bolt holder, and install a bead-wire front sight, I would no hesitate to hunt with this bow.  Including the custom string, this bow cost me a whopping $18 to build!

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