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

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    My second crossbow, the "little devil"

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    My second crossbow, the "little devil"

    Post by OrienM on Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:30 pm

    Greetings to the guild! New member here from New Mexico. I'm a blacksmith and toolmaker with an interest in 'olde-tyme' tools and methods. I'm also a longtime bowyer and archer, and have recently become interested in building myself a crossbow. Thanks in a large part to your fine forum here, I've gleaned enough info make a few successful attempts now. Crossbows are turning out to be a whole lot of fun... Very Happy 

    This is my second crossbow, which I call the "little devil"...quite a small little thing, with a bow only 15" end to end. The bow is cut out of a leaf spring, and pulls what seems like about 150# with a 2" brace and 3" power stroke. It was my first time making a steel bow, I was just happy it didn't blow up! The stock is Ipe wood; the nut is aluminum with a steel sear, and the other parts are also hand forged steel. I have a small charcoal forge, which was terribly handy for shaping parts like the trigger guard, etc.

    I also build a 'wippe' spanning lever, and a set of extremely heavy purpleheart bolts for it...these fly none too fast, but hit with a lot of power. Strangely a lighter bolt doesn't seem to go any faster; the heavy steel limbs can only move so quick, I suppose? In any case it seems like it might have "oomph" enough for small game hunting; my next build attempt, though, will be (what else  brew ) bigger and more powerful.

    " />

    " />

    Lots of fun to does kick fairly heavily, which I expected from a small bow shooting a heavy projectile. I still need to make proper prod wedges, as well as sanding and finishing the stock; I don't really enjoy finish work that much so I'm giving it a really long 'test session' shooting it in beforehand  Smile .

    Thanks for checking it out folks! Cheers,

    Todd the archer
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    Re: My second crossbow, the "little devil"

    Post by Todd the archer on Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:18 am

    Very nice. Has a nice "old" look to it.
    Keep up the good work and looking forward to your next project.

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    Re: My second crossbow, the "little devil"

    Post by Gnome on Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:44 am

    Welcome to the forum, Orien. This looks like an awesome little brute! Yeah, steel is only going to move so fast, but it can haul a lot of freight before it starts slowing down. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the rule of thumb for optimal bolt weight is 1/13 the mass of the prod?
    What do you shoot at with those big blunts? Looking forward to seeing more of your work.


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    Re: My second crossbow, the "little devil"

    Post by MRobin on Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:40 am

    Awesome, I could pretty well see such a crossbow remain in this raw finish look.
    It seems to come straight from the armoury of a medieval castle (except that I can spot some modern screws / bolts, am I wrong?)
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    Re: My second crossbow, the "little devil"

    Post by OrienM on Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:47 am

    Thanks for the nice words! Crossbow building has been a very interesting experience so far; I could never have figured out many of the details without the help of this forum, so thanks for sharing so much of your hard-won info, as well  Cool  . Many aspects of this project were copied directly off posts here (the trigger mechanism being a big one).

    Crossbows are also terribly addicting, I fear  Suspect ...I'm already constructing parts for my next attempt. (A hand forged steel prod with rolled ends, which is just about ready for heat-treating...if it survives testing I'll post photos and specs.)

    The "old' look is probably at least in part because I'm using recycled steel...the side plates, bolt clip and trigger guard were all cut out of a rusty old shovel  Smile, the spring used for the prod was old and rusty, as well. I like things I build for myself to be kind of rough, in any case, so I can use them heavily without worrying about scratching up a nice finish.

    Gnome, thanks for the info on steel prods...I bet these bolts are well over 1/13th of the prod weight! For target practice at set ranges I often shoot at a water bottle full of sand, placed in front of a dirt backstop (homemade "butts" of sorts). A direct hit knocks the water bottle back about 6' or so...whomp! I also like to do some "stump" shooting, walking around shooting at tree stumps, etc at random distances. The heavy bolt weight was really intended with rabbit hunting in mind, but I haven't attempted this with it yet.

    MRobin, good eye...there are indeed quite a few modern wood screws, as well as the big bolt holding the 'nose-ring' on. The screws look OK to me, but the shiny bolt bugs me aesthetically, and will probably get replaced with a big hand-hammered rivet when I finish this up. 

    Thanks again!

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    Re: My second crossbow, the "little devil"

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