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    Starting a New One

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    OrienM
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    Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:12 pm

    Greetings all,

    Well, I had to do it eventually...looks like I'm going to be building another crossbow. The dang things really are addicting! My last build is only a couple years old, but I just know I can work out the last few little bugs on this next one (or maybe the one after that, lol! Razz )

    Since my current Xbow is rather big and beefy, this one's intended to be compact, but powerful, with a short, heavy (appx. 200#) wood/sinew prod, antler socket reinforcements, and a bone table for wear resistance. The tiller will also be fairly short, probably of walnut wood, and carved in that attractive, curvy German renaissance (AKA short&fat Cool ) style. I'm still debating how to make the trigger; most likely a simple tickler/roller nut setup, but I might attempt some kind of three-axle design if I feel ambitious.

    The other important detail I want to include is a canted/offset tiller, as sometimes seen in old crossbows. I'm having issues with the sight picture when I shoot my big bow; basically it's hard to get my eye exactly centered above the bolt, so I have to aim somewhat to the right of the target. I think shifting the rear of the tiller over to the right by an inch or so may solve the problem.

    The project isn't very far along, still mostly in the materials-gathering stage. I have the prod core roughed out of fresh-cut osage orange wood, which still needs to dry out a bit. I also have a moose antler base ready to go for the nut and socket reinforcements (which I will probably start on next), and a few other odds and ends including a bit of leftover sinew. Everything else still needs to be sourced. A pic of the goodies so far:



    This is likely going to be an exceedingly slow build Rolling Eyes  but I'll post updates as I proceed...thanks for looking folks!
    -Orien
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:07 pm

    I was excited to start working with the moose antler, so kind of jumped right into it and sliced off the crown portion. The diameter is on the small side, and I'm going to have to be very careful how I cut the nut out, in order to to have enough material.

    Never having worked with moose antler before, I'll just say that it's really, really hard stuff compared to deer antler! My little bandsaw struggled to cut it, despite a fairly new blade.




    The next step will be to square the blank up a tiny bit, so I can clamp it in the drill press vise, and choose the best spot to drill the central hole. Once that's established I'll make a shallow mark on the side faces with the 1 1/2" hole saw, and saw/grind/file from there. The nut will be trimmed down to the outside diameter of the hole saw mark, so I can use the same saw later to cut the inside of the socket, and have them match.


    Last edited by OrienM on Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:00 pm

    Got a little more done this evening; the central hole is drilled, and the blank is now roughly cylindrical. The antler is indeed a little too small Neutral ...appears that I'll be going with a 1 3/8" diameter nut, rather than 1 1/2", but I can live with that. I needed a new hole saw anyway... Cool

    On the positive side, I think I may have figured out a way to rig up the drill press as a pseudo-lathe and turn the nut to size, rather than having to saw and file it down by hand. Should be nifty, if it works...stay tuned.

    Edited to add photo. Lots of bumpy surface still showing at this size, but I think at 1 3/8" (inner edge of the holesaw mark) it will almost all be gone. If any flaws remain, I'll locate them in the cutout portion behind the claws. BTW I'm using the bandsaw here as a sort of power rasp, making many short, shallow cuts to remove material in a controlled fashion. Be very, very careful with your fingers if you try this nooo , but it does work pretty well.



    Last edited by OrienM on Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:04 am

    Drill press pseudo-lathe, step one. No doubt a lot of you can see where I'm going with this... Cool 





    ....and the finished apparatus. Seems to work tolerably well...the trickiest part was getting the allthread rod perfectly straight, but the rest was easy to knock together from scrap wood. I may still thin down the edge of the tool rest a bit.  A carving gouge makes a poor turning tool tongue , but seems like it will be OK for the initial rounding-out stage; I'll have to figure out a scraper blade to finish up.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:38 pm

    The result. Sadly, the hole came out off-center on one side scratch...some wobble in the chuck itself, perhaps, or a subtle bend in that pesky allthread. The blank is otherwise pretty nice! I'm going to attempt to correct the issue by plugging most of the hole with an antler dowel, and re-drilling from the side that's centered. The nut is square now, so I think it may work out OK; if it does I'll be able to finish it up. I'll be using a nussfaden (cordage binding) with this nut anyhow, which I'm hoping is a bit more forgiving in this regard than a steel axle.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:37 pm

    Plugging and re-drilling went well! Big sigh of relief. The centering is still a tiny bit off, but it's much improved. I also marked some details out out on the nut, got the notch for the string filed in, and started cutting up more antler for the socket reinforcement blocks.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:03 pm

    Starting on the blocks...squared up the antler and made a little jig out of scrap pine, to hold the pieces in position for drilling. The blocks are lightly glued to the jig along with a layer of paper, so they can be removed easily once the socket hole is drilled.



    On the bottom is a panel of ipe wood, with small pins to allow precise re-assembly of the parts after removing the jig. This piece will be epoxied to the finished blocks, and the whole thing dropped into the tiller as one piece to simplify assembly.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:53 pm

    Drilling the socket went well...the fit with the nut is a tiny bit tight, as intended. I'll take care of the final adjustment through sanding and polishing. The pins were unnecessary, it turned out scratch ...I could have just glued the ipe piece on directly, and saved myself a step or two.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by Onager Lovac on Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:21 pm

    Awesome dude!, i particularly liked your pseudo-lathe idea.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:03 pm

    Thanks! The lathe kind of worked, lol...I think it could be refined to work better; using some thicker, straighter allthread rod might have helped. I'm just kind of jury-rigging working methods as I go along, as usual... Juggle

    Happy New Years eve!
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:45 am

    In a bit of a holding pattern here, waiting until my car gets repaired to purchase more materials Crying or Very sad. I was given a cow horn the other day, which I may use as overlays on the 'cheeks' of the nut socket, but that will have to wait until the tiller is mostly complete.

    I still need to do some more work to finish up the nut. A question for the Guild: this will have a medieval-style sear, passing all the way through the nut and riveted over on top...I need to avoid the central hole, so the sear needs to be  located either in front of, or behind the nut's axis. I'm leaning towards placing it behind the axis, as this seems easier to deal with and more commonly seen in original nuts...is this the best way to go?
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by Geezer on Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:11 pm

    Geezer here: I recommend placing the sear slightly behind bottom center.  In front will create a whole new set of problems.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by c sitas on Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:02 pm

    YES, Geezer; I totally agree with you . It is amazing how much the  trigger pressure can change just by this. Both good or bad .
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:50 pm

    Thank you both! Very Happy

    Glad I asked the question...so the trigger pressure will be increased by moving the sear forward, and decreased by moving it back? That's very interesting; I was not at all sure what the implications would be of moving it off-axis (besides the added difficulty of riveting in between the claws of the nut, which seemed less than ideal). I like the sound of an easier trigger pull; I'll place it just behind center as recommended.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by Geezer on Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:20 pm

    Moving the sear ahead of the trigger tends to make the bows go off on their own.  Moving behind the center shifts some of the upward pressure of the roller in socket to the trigger instead. Proper shaping of distal end of the trigger and the sear will make sure your trigger pull isn't too hard.  If you really want an easy trigger (and still use a tickler) you should look into the two-axle lock that was popular @ 1450-1500. After that date fancy gents bows with to 4 and 5 axle locks that released with a tiny folding trigger.  If you see a 'medieval' style bow that shows numerous lock pins showing behind the lock, that tickler is merely a trigger guard.  There's a little metal box with an actual gun-type trigger near the back of the tickler lever.
    I hope that makes sense.  Geezer
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:58 am

    Definitely makes sense...thanks Geezer!

    I hunted around online a bit and found this video showing a two-axle mechanism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FBShSrI_Dg
    (This same person has posted lots and lots of other crossbow-related videos too, totally worth checking out.)
    After viewing, I had an idea for a modified version, where the working end of the tickler pushes up the back end of a 'rocker bar' lever, thereby dropping the front end of the lever and releasing the nut. This would allow re-setting without a pull-string, and still provide mechanical advantage for an easier release. I will post a drawing of my concept here for review, once I get that far along.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:01 pm

    A couple pics of today's efforts, installing the sear in the nut. Lots of careful work! After drilling a hole in the appropriate spot, the recess was chiseled to shape, and the sear shaped from 1095 steel (an old file).






    Once everything fit correctly and got sanded smooth, the sear was riveted in place, using a small, dome-tipped punch. At this point the nut is basically finished, except for filing the end of the sear down flush with the antler...I left it sticking out to give a firm footing on the anvil while riveting.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:05 pm

    Final pics of the nut, with sear filed flush and polished, and the finished set of bearing blocks.




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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by c sitas on Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:52 pm

    Orien, good job.  You built that thing like a tank. The way you mounted that sear is way strong. Did the face of it end up a scoach behind the center. Don't need a lot,but some.Man you have a great fitup on the assembly.I have never gone this route.That looks like antler, is it.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:37 pm

    Thanks! Yes, it's moose antler. I deliberately made the nut kind of beefy, and took my time to get all the fit-up stuff right, too..I only had the one antler, and couldn't afford any mistakes!

    The face of the sear ended up about 1/4" behind the center (very bottom) of the nut, think that's OK geometry-wise? The steel insert itself is 3/16" thick, and I had to move it backwards just slightly to avoid the axle hole of the nut.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:53 am

    Here is a very bad computer drawing tongue of the trigger mechanism I'm considering...not drawn to scale, but you can get the basic idea.

    For those with expertise in crossbow triggers...does this look as though it will function fairly well? I built a similar one with a small, gun-type trigger lever that worked OK; if anything, I'm concerned the trigger pull here will be TOO lightweight, a hairtrigger-type situation.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by c sitas on Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:40 pm

    Orien; What you show could maybe pull on the light side. The reason it's hard to tell for sure is because you can't ell how much load there is.You could vary the let off just by taking the top last part of your tickler and face it the opposite direction. Finger pointing forward, instead of the way it is.You'll want to move the nose of your second piece in, more close to center of the wheel. Maybe  so it hits the wheel to the right of the axle, about on the right edge. Make a really good mock up in plexiglass or second best --plywood-- third best just plain wood. Now play with a heavy finger pressure on the wheel and trigger it. You'll soon see how moving the pivots effects things real quick. Above all --stay away from hair type setups.When set up right the wheel should not move at all when it's triggered,it should just go off,no starting to go off, or worse move backwards some.There are some real tuts on the forum to study. they explain all.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:47 am

    Thank you for the advice! I will definitely make a working model of the trigger, so I can play more with the pivot points and lever ratios. I'm more of a sculptor than a mechanic, and I often need to build test pieces in order to to understand exactly how something is going to work. I'll also hunt around the forum a bit, and see what I can find about designing triggers.

    The sear's position in the nut is one "unknown" factor, I've never made a nut with the sear so far behind the axis before. The rest of the mechanism will have to be designed to suit the nut geometry I have going on; should be interesting.

    As far as the applied load, I'm hoping the prod for this will pull something in the range of 200-250#, or whatever the maximum weight is that I can draw back using a cocking rope. Most likely, I'll be starting work on the prod next, since I need to know draw weight and length to design the rest of the components.

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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by c sitas on Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:18 am

    Orien; Sounds like a lot of fun. Be careful when testing the final run. That's an awesome gob of power.Would take your thumb of in the flick of an eye. Make sure you have the catch notch of your wheel slightly backwards so the string won't climb out. This kind of power comes with it's own little catches. I've found if that notch is a smidge to forward or vertical, the dam thing will dry fire all by itself, not good.You'll have a lot of fun here. Work slow and careful,you'll be proud when you take your first shot.Like Ive said before ,Ivo has some real good tuts here on the forum . Find them and study up. For me, it was like going to college,which I never did.The only trouble with high power is, every thing is stepped up a couple of notches. It's interesting to watch Todd when he shoots his 3,4, 5 hundred pounders.  Gutty man, but he's been there, done that, and so on.I guess you have to get your feet wet sometime.
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    Re: Starting a New One

    Post by OrienM on Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:04 pm

    Yes indeed, definitely need to work slowly and be careful with the powerful crossbows. I've learned a lot shooting my 160#, including where not to put my hands nooo , and worked out some of the details needed for a smooth trigger release on some earlier builds (I did have dryfire issue at one point...scary!).

    A big limiting factor here is going to be using a cocking rope. I'm pretty sure I'll max out around 250# even with the advantage of pulleys.

    Getting started on the prod here. The core is osage orange, asymmetrical profile (a flat upper edge), 26" NTN length, 1 3/4" x 11/16 at center, 1 1/4" x 7/16" at the tips. Pretty darn short overall, but it was all the particular tree branch could offer; I spent an evening steaming in about 2 1/2" of deflex, which should help prevent the wooden belly from being crushed.

    The stave is "decrowned"...I shaved the back down to a flat-oval shape without following a growth ring. In my experience you can get away with this in sinew-backed bows, since the sinew adds so much tension strength to the back. I won't be doing any tillering until all the sinew is on, though!

    I also started processing up the sinew itself; shown are several pounded deer leg sinews, and a pile of shredded material ready to be applied. I still need to process a lot more sinew, probably 8 more pieces worth at least, for the thick backing layer I'm after.


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