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

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    Hello to all.

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    Itegorm
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    Hello to all.

    Post by Itegorm on Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:41 pm

    Hello all. My name is Nick Barber and I am from Boyne Falls Michigan. I stumbled onto this site while looking for a bit more information on building a crossbow. I decided to try to put a crossbow together before our deer season in Michigan as I have never had any experience with one in the past an it looks like a fun project. For my firstcrossbow I am going to go with something along the lines of a plain western European style bow from the 15th century.  I will likely go with a fiberglass prod and a delrin nut for the first one and go from there. 
    Fortunately I have quite a bit of experience with traditional and primitive archery as well as considerable gunsmith inexperience both modern arms and blackpowder (I have built around 20 guns from matchlock to wheel lock to various styles of flintlock and a couple of percussion and even a couple of early style hand gonnes and hackbuts), so I figure I have most of the skills I will need to put together something usable. I have also done a large amount of traditional blacksmithing so I may someday try a period correct steel bow. I have spent the last week or so going through the past posts on the forums and I am really Iimpressed with the amount of information you guys have put forth. Thanks for having me and hopefully I can come up with something to contribute as I progress.

    Todd the archer
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by Todd the archer on Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:16 am

    Welcome and hope we can help if you need it.

    Todd

    jaeger22
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by jaeger22 on Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:55 am

    Welcome Nick! It sounds like we are kindred spirits with the whole primitive archery, gunsmithing, and black powder thing.  Very Happy Lots of good information here on this site.

    kenh
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by kenh on Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:41 am

    Welcome, NIck.  I've got a cousin who has (or had)  a potato farm in that area, and used to instruct at Boyne Mountain in the winters.

    LOTS of good info here.  You mentioned fiberglass prod.  Do you mean a wood-glass composite prod like a long or recurve bow?  Or one of the chainlink tension bar/boat cover solid fiberglass bars?  

    When you've got questions, just ask.  The only dumb questions are the ones we don't answer for you.

    Itegorm
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by Itegorm on Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:27 pm

    Funny you mention the mountian, I live about a mile and a half north of there and standing on my back porch I can watch the skiers head down it all winter long.
    As far as the fiberglass prod thing I am leaning toward trying something similar to the tension bars you have discussed in the past but I will likely use boat cover bars as they are very easy to come by around here. I am also considering picking up one of the inexpensive Chinese fiberglass prods and playing around with that as well.  If neither of those end up working out I may try talking a friend of mine into making me up a prod built the same way as a modern laminated longbow.
    As my short term goal is just something to play with and do a bit of deer hunting as long as I can get it to throw a bolt with reasonable accuracy and speed I will be a happy camper (a at least until the urge to tinker a bit more hits). From what I am seeing put up on the board here I should be able to put together something that will push a 450-500 grain bolt between 150-200 fps without much problem and given the range I will be hunting at (30 yards or less with the thick woods here) that is every bit as good as the long bows I usually hunt with. Again I am hugely Iimpressed with the amount of info I am finding on this board.

    kenh
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by kenh on Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:23 pm

    As you probably read in the Boat Cover Bar thread, jaeger22 found that a 36" long set of laminations isn't going to give you much power with one bar.  Also, that's a really wide prod for your hunting conditions.   You'll probably want to keep the prod down around 28" at the longest, as I suggest, to get serious hunting power.   

    If you can't find the fiberglass chainlink tension bars there, I can get one here and send it to you, if you want.  My whole prod cost a whopping $7.

    Itegorm
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by Itegorm on Sun Jul 20, 2014 6:51 pm

    I am headed into Petoskey tomorrow afternoon to pick up a couple of the boat cover bars from a friend of mine who works at one of the marinas and had a couple sitting around. I am also planning on hitting up a fence company in the area to see if they have any of the fiberglass tension rods. If I can't find one local I may take you up on having you send me one.
    As for prop length I was thinking of trying one built up of a couple of laminations maybe a 30", a 24", and maybe an 18" if I still need some more punch. I am also wondering about binding the whole prod in rawhide to hide the fiberglass a bit and at least make it look a bit more traditional. I know the extra wieght on the limbs will rob a bit of speed but I won't know how it will work until I try it.
    I figure if I can get at least a 10 inch power stroke (12 inch would be even better) it should give me more than enough power. 
    To make it legal for hunting here I have to use bolts at least 14 inches long. Additionally to meet the definition of a crossbow I have to have at least a 100 pound draw. I don't think either should be too tough to meet up with.

    Itegorm
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by Itegorm on Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:02 pm

    Thanks for the welcome guys, the posts from Todd and Jager just came up for me, they weren't there when I checked earlier. Oddly enough a picture of one of Todd's bows is what originally brought me to this board.

    kenh
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by kenh on Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:57 pm

    jaeger22 used  36/30/24/14 and only got 95#.

    I would suggest 28/24/20/16   With 28" you should get at least 12" draw, and perhaps 14" or a bit more.  The bendability of fiberglass in these applications is pretty good.  My 28" tension bar prod has a 3" brace and 13" draw (16" power stroke); and the thinner, multiple lams of a boat bar prod should give you an even longer draw.   

    As far as masquerading the fiberglass, I might slide it into a thin leather cover either sewn or laced to size.  If you use wet rawhide, when it dries it might bind the laminations too tightly; they do need to slide against each other, not be rigidly fixed.

    jaeger22
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by jaeger22 on Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:48 am

    Ltegrom wrote:To make it legal for hunting here I have to use bolts at least 14 inches long. Additionally to meet the definition of a crossbow I have to have at least a 100 pound draw. I don't think either should be too tough to meet up with.
    That should be no problem with the boat cover bows. As Ken pointed out I went way too long at a total length of 36". But personally I would not go shorter than 30 to 32" because I want as long a power stroke and as long an arrow as I can get. I find the short bolt/arrows to be a pain to shoot into targets as they often penetrate past the fletch and then are a pain to remove and often mess up the fletch. Also a longer power stroke is almost like "free" power in the sense that you get proportionally more arrow speed for the same draw poundage. Sure you have to pull it farther but to me it is a lot easier to pull 100# 14" than it is to pull 200# 7" If you get my drift. But is all personal preference. The trade off is that it makes for a larger bulkier weapon. It is kind of like the old saw about rifles; No one likes to carry a heavy rifle and no one likes to shoot a light one! Smile

    Kenh wrote:My 28" tension bar prod has a 3" brace and 13" draw (16" power stroke);
    Ken I am very confused by this. Is the 16" a typo? Maybe I just don't understand the terms but to me power stroke is draw length- brace height or in this case 13-3= 10" power stroke. I understand the terms from my vertical bow background this way:
    Brace height is from the belly of the bow to the string with no pull.
    Draw - this one is a bit confusing, because in the vertical bow world, this is measured from the front of the bow because it is use primarily for arrow length calculation. But for Xbow power stroke calculations,  brace and draw must be measured from the same point so I chose to use the belly to string at max draw. Not sure that is right. ??? But the math works.
    In this picture you can see that my boat slat bow pulled a total 17" so with a 3" brace, it provides a 14" power stroke. I use 22" arrows with it.



    Also you can see in the picture that this about the limit for this bow. Any more and the string is in danger of coming off the tips. In fact in a later experiment, I did actually have the tip cover slip off and things got real interesting in a big hurry! Laughing  The dry fire cause the tip to shoot off at near light speed and I never did find it.
    A note about nocks:
    I was using the plastic tips with built in nocks from the Chinese bow I broke.  But after the above incident  Embarassed I needed new nocks so I used the same process I used on my cut down recurve  bow. I roughed up the back of the fiberglass down a couple of inches and then glued a small block of hard wood to the back with high strength epoxy. I then shaped the nocks into the glass/wood just like any bow. Works great. I would take a picture but I am 2000 miles from home.  Sad

    kenh
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by kenh on Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:03 am

    Yeah I got the term wrong.  The prod is braced 3", and drawn back 13" from that brace (the power stroke). Total draw from the belly of the prod to the string catch is thus 16".

    For prod nocks -- mine has pin nocks covered with white epoxy putty.  I'll do the same thing with longest boat bar, reinforcing the tip with wood, like a w-g composite.

    Itegorm
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    Re: Hello to all.

    Post by Itegorm on Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:52 am

    You guys are most helpful. Headed out in a few to pick up some supplies so hopefully I will have some tinkering to post in the next couple of days.
    Just went down to my wood supply and picked out a plank to build the tiller from. It is looking like I will be going with a piece of sugar maple that I cut about 7 years ago that has been seasoning ever since. And I had a rod of delrin come in the other day so I can get started on the roller nut. I have to decide what to use for the side plates. I have a few pieces of horn and some moose antler palm pieces, but I think I will save those for something other than my first crossbow and either use wood or steel for the side plates on this one. I know I have some good quality hemp cord around here somewhere to do my bindings but just need to lay my hands on it.
    Thanks for the further inspiration.

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