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    New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

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    Sugarbuzz
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    Fresh Blood Doesn't meanI'm new to crossbows

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    New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by Sugarbuzz on Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:42 am

    Hi guys, I finally got off my butt and started working on a couple projects I started a couple years back. I ended up taking a long hiatus from crossbowery (is that a word?) and pursued various projectile weapons. Mostly longbow making, sampling various woods around my area for suitability etc. and tried my hand at atlatling. I digress however, and left a crossbow I had purchased a prod for which was gathering dust on a shelf as well as the cut out body with parts all ready to assemble. Not really sure why I ended up letting that stagnate, I had started out with a serious desire to get it built. I finally finished said bow a few months back, worked the shape out to something not exactly historically accurate but comfortable to shoot in dense brush and woods like I live in. It was sort of a "carbine" medieval if I would call it anything. Simple roller nut release, oak body and brass hardware. I enjoy shooting that little bugger out in the yard, though it consistently shoots leftish no matter what, pretty sure it's the bow itself just slightly out of whack. I will work on it later though because I found a photo of a medieval sporting bow being used at Warwick Castle and thought it was about the snazziest crossbow I had seen. I love the rounded belly of some of those weapons as well as the cheek rest and decided I was going to reuse an older prod I had lashed to one of my dustier projects. I purchased some nice planks of poplar and a nice strip of red oak at Lowes and started in on mimicking the crossbow as well as I could see from the limited pictures I had seen. I had decided I wanted a longer tickler as well and bought some cold rolled round steel bar stock. I was very pleased with the end result after much MUCH filing and careful bending, ending up with a tickler that suited my taste with a long down swept tail end that tapered nicely. I had also purchased some slimmer poplar slats for widening the lock section and cheek rest, realizing when I got home that had a horrid greenish tint compared to the main body material. I was too lazy to bother returning them though and set about incorporating them anyway, thinking that just maybe they wouldn't look too bad, and if all else failed I could can the entire project and start new for less than $15.  I set aside a couple hours a day to work on this bow, being careful not to work too quickly and foul it through shoddy workmanship. I am glad I did as it began to take shape slowly and I got more excited about the whole thing. The greenish poplar still rankled with me, and I mistakenly ended up with an unsightly gap between a couple sections but nothing catastrophic, just cosmetic. I had a hell of a time working the cheek rest, trying to imagine the bow on side, back and bottom and settled on one similar to Lightly's crossbows I had seen in some photo's she had posted during her work. I simply rounded the off side under to meet the cheekrest following the slope from that side resulting in an appealing looking shape and pleased with the feel of it. In the future I won't skimp on wood materials but overall it came out very nice in my opinion, and I was even more happy that its a pure joy to shoot as well as fairly dang accurate! (When I'm not suffering from shooters flinch  Mad ) I learned a lot on this one, and sharpened my interest in making as much of my own parts as possible from horn steel and wood by hand. I'm not up to prod making, but I'm studying as much as I can find on the subject of it as I can. Any info you guys might have on making a steel prod without needing to mess with annealing and heat treating would be great as I have no access to a forge or kiln. I found some info on crossbow wiki talking about shaping and cutting from leaf springs that makes no reference to softening or hardening the steel, more along the lines of tediously and slowly working it into shape. Anyhoo heres some pics of my crossbow, thought some of you might be able to suggest some insights into improving my skills as I go. I realize this isn't technically a proper replica but I tried to adhere as much as possible to sticking to something period correct outside of the stirrup attachment.




    Specifics are poplar body with red oak table (my choice of woods is somewhat limited at the time, I need to find a good place to buy more diverse woods). The prod is an Slobows 110 pounder which probably pulls under that due to my reducing the draw to an inch shorter for security and a more authentic look at full span. I shaped the stirrup from the same type of steel as the tickler and mounted it with some very unauthentic wing nuts and steel screws  Embarassed . I just really wanted something that wasn't going to give me any flack while spanning by hand and so far it works like a charm! The string is another one of my artificial sinew makes I am using until I get my hands on some dacron b50 for a more permanent one although I find the sinew string to be pretty forgiving and easy to work with. The nut it just some delrin with a deeply cut groove and steel sear, nothing particularly fancy but it works great for me until I can aquire a true horn nut. The bridle is some inexpensive hemp cordage bound tight with even more cheap thin hemp cordage. It worked better than I had anticipated, its rock solid. I was particularly happy with the horn bolt holder and ramp, took quite a while but once I had completed it I was quite pleased. I had never bent horn before, but after a few trial and errors I got it just right. I'd intended to put a nice little curl in the tip of the bolt holder but decided to work it as seen since it has a nice little inner curve that fits perfectly. I allowed for only screw holding it in place to allow me to slide it to the side for loading and quick access to the nut.  I had forgotten just how stinky that stuff can get, needless to say I ended up spending my days outside working on the horn parts. I had thought of using brass for the sideplates but I just wasn't feeling it and ended up making the diamond shaped red oak sideplates that I cut out and inlaid. There are some mistakes made but overall I was happy with how it turned out and learned a fair bit more to prepare me for my next project! I plan to make another very much like this with a lot more inlay work, hopefully with horn, I love how that stuff develops that mellow softness after lightly buffing. Horn lockplates would look great I think, its just the finding of wide flat sections that has confounded me. The bolts are just simple lightly barreled poplar with 5/16th field points glued on but they shoot rather well. I had made four but managed to "robin hood" one the other day  Mad . Anyway I would appreciate any feedback/constructive criticism/advice! Thanks for taking the time to read what seems to have turned into a short story...

    Todd the archer
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by Todd the archer on Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:19 pm

    Looks great, just me but maybe I would have stained it a darker color for hunting reasons. Curious as to what your power stroke  and draw weight is probably under 100 pounds.  Do you know total arrow weight and maybe get a chance to run it through the chronograph. I ask all this to see how suitable it is for hunting.

    Having said all that I still think you did a great job and nothing to really improve on but if I have to nit pick maybe a different stirrup configuration.

    Geezer
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by Geezer on Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:32 pm

    Okay, I would have mounted the stirrup differently too, but in fact it will be nice and strong that way.  No problems at all, just not as authentic as some other mountings.  Geezer

    Sugarbuzz
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by Sugarbuzz on Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:58 pm

    @Todd I believe the draw weight is under 100, these Slobow prods are all a rough estimate give or take 10 pounds or so, compared to my 110-120# prod it feels comparable. I shortened the draw to 10.5 inches at the nut with a 4 inch brace height. I will be setting the brace height an inch lower when I get the proper string materials which will add somewhat. I had made the string a little short expecting some stretch but it hardly budged to my surpise! As it is it shoots pretty dang quick, no chrono to speak of so all I can do is wild guess on these things. I lose a few points on speed due to slight drag across the table, but that was suggested by the prod maker. The bolt weight is also just guesses, I made them all as equally as I can but have no scale to determine weight though I left them pretty light for target shooting across my front yard. I left it its pale color with only a clear coat since I won't actually be using it for hunting and I liked the contrast in colors, but my next bow will be more powerful and of a darker coloration or as you suggest, stained. The funky greenish poplar seems to look more favorable now, my son says he really likes it.  Cool  I may have to make him a lighter version of this for his birthday!
    @Todd @Geezer I like the durability and security of the stirrup, but I do agree it doesn't look right. My past cord bound stirrups always find a way to wiggle loose over time, I need to order some thin rawhide and give that stuff a go. I allowed for future adjustments, thus the wingnuts, if I decide on a different setup somehow I will simply remove it and fill the 2 holes. Any suggestions on a more authentic stirrup? I found few enough for crossbows with the longer nose end, usually they employ either a wippe ring mount or goatsfoot. I couldn't justify buying or making a goatsfoot for the bow, its easy enough for me to draw by hand, but a wippe would be simple enough to make and use, I started one months ago that is sitting around gathering dust, it just needs some tuning. I had just recently seen some wippe setups that use different mounting methods so I will fiddle around with that I think.  I thought I had read about a wippe that used the prod as the front mounting point, I am having troubles envisioning this and couldn't turn up any image results anywhere. Is it possible for anyone to explain how that works please? I can kind of how imagine it looks, but I always seem to make things the hardest way first and THEN see a different easier method.  Neutral

    Lightly
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by Lightly on Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:38 pm

    Well, I think it is beautiful. As Geezer says, I'd've done the stirrup a bit differently, but, I think it is still perfectly fine.
    It is beautifully rounded and shaped. For my tastes, I would have made the cheek piece a bit shorter, and the segue between the body and the cheekpiece less abrupt. However it is well placed and looks great.

    The only other thing that I wonder, is the spring clip. The way it comes down on the bolt, I do not know that the bolt slides under it as well as it might, if the end of the clip came up a little bit? It is hard to tell from the photo, but, it gives me the impression that the end of the clip scrapes along the top of the bolt, rather than having the bolt slide smoothly under it. But, I could be wrong!

    All in all, a terrific bow, especially, as you say, that it shoots extremely well!
    Thanks for showing us...

    Best!
    Lightly


    Sugarbuzz
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by Sugarbuzz on Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:14 pm

    In reply to Todd's question about arrow weight I borrowed a scale and measured the 3 poplar ones I made in addition to another red oak bolt in the same dimensions and came up with the poplar bolts at 17 grams with a negligible variance in weight to my surprise and the oak one at 22 grams. The oak one drops a little quicker as expected and hits harder but the poplar ones would surely be perfect for light game with blunt points and perhaps a little more heft at the front end. As regards to a chrono reading I am stuck, I can't afford one and know noone who has one, regrettably. If I can figure out the exact draw weight I will post that later.
    Thank you Lightly, I learned a lot reading up and studying your photos and walkthroughs, those were invaluable and saved me a lot of heartbreak, in addition to a ton of information and guides from everyone else here on the forums. Geezer's expertise is wonderful, I doubt I would ever have started making serious crossbows without this site!  Smile  I don't get out much so it's really great to have people of a like mind to talk to.  Razz About the spring clip, it has a natural inner curve from how it was cut that sits well on the bolt end and presses down only very gently, so far it has worked out very well, better than my usual brass ones and looks a damn sight better as well! I smoothed and rounded the contact point thoroughly to minimize drag. I may make another with the tip up-curved as you suggested and see if that makes any difference, I have several pieces of horn laying around that would be serviceable.

    phuphuphnik
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by phuphuphnik on Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:13 am

    I built one of these: http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=1485256
    It works OK until I shot one of the coils.

    Pavaise
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by Pavaise on Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:26 am

    I added a couple of sockets to a stop watch to which I connected a micro switch attached to the crossbow. When the string hits the micro switch it starts the stop watch, it's stopped when the bolt goes through a couple of pieces of silver foil separated by copier paper on the target. Crocodile clips go on the foil and connect to a couple of cables that also go to the stop watch. I had every faith that this would work but a fellow crossbow shooter with an engineering degree was shocked, especially how consistent it was! Once in a while the bolt piercing the target doesn't make contact and stop the timer but it's not too bad.

    c sitas
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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

    Post by c sitas on Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:10 pm

    Pavaise ; You have a beautiful build . My self ; after all the "kinda questionalable  speed  infomation   on here before , I think we should not be so quick to comment . Meaning , that's what they made chrono's for.  Keep up the good work , it shine's , my friend.

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    Re: New crossbow I have been working on for the last couple months.

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