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    Crusader crossbow

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    hullutiedemies
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    Crusader crossbow

    Post by hullutiedemies on Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:12 am

    This one of my 27 or so currently ongoing undocumented projects I think might actually be worth documenting as public service.

    Sort of a historical reconstruction.
    Idea is to build a simple wooden crossbow that would have been worth to bother to carry to a 12th century battlefield.
    So as minimum recuirement this has to have at least matching ballistics with a Mary Rose type longbow and preferably do better in some aspect.

    Bow here pulls 60kg with 25 cm draw, the full power stroke 38 cm, that makes ca, 90kg total draw weight
    (200#/15") so energy capacity should be about same as 120-150 pound longbow

    Rowan bow 55 x 35 mm middle 130 cm string, 20cm deflex, limbs are barely bend at brace height.
    I trust rowan to take 0.14 J/cm^3 , yew bow of equal power could be about 1/3 smaller.

    Birch tiller
    I roughed out the tiller with chain saw, so it needs some cleaning up. Thus temporary junk rope bridling and polypropylene string.Just to test the bow and trigger before proceeding any further.



    pin-lock with Lillöhus-style flexible tickler should be appropriate for period.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by OrienM on Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:58 am

    Neat! Thanks for posting. Your builds are always interesting, I like your 'rough and ready' style. Cool

    Nice simple, effective looking design...200# out of a self-bow prod is impressive. With a 15" powerstroke as well, it must really hurl a bolt!
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by hullutiedemies on Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:23 am

    I shot it a few times with pp string and 50 & 150 gram bolts. I did not try to measure the speed and the cheap plastic string was a bit slow, but the lighter bolt was going decent archery speed, looked like 60+ m/s , just eyeballing the trajectory. And with the heavier one it was still easy to hit target fom 20 paces.

    Linen string has been stretching a few days
    New string is less elastic. Brace height increaced slightly. And draw weight too.
    I do not have scales to test exact draw weight at full draw, but extrapolating the power curve fron 40-60kg range gives around 110 kg (240#).
    Wich I still can pull back. That gives an idea how heavy the real things could have been.

    The thing is that I am close to 50 years old and never practiced any sports.
    And there are 50-60 year old women who push over 100kg at bench rest even in regional level weight lifting competitions.
    So this crossbow is suitable for an old lady.

    A professional mercenary crossbowman could probably draw closer to 400#.


    Bastard string is still on. Some paper wrapping on the string to allow work out without wearing it out.
    This mud shield may not be historical, but I do not like to press the bridling directly onto wet grass.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by Anatine Duo on Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:03 pm

    interesting concept

    Do the limb tips flex?
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by hullutiedemies on Mon May 15, 2017 2:45 am


    Here is tiller profile.
    From here virtual mass can be guesstimated bit shy of 20g , so 50-60g bolt should be about optimal.
    I had a chance to take couple shots from longer distances. 70-80m seems to be point blank range for 50gram bolt.



    Some terminal effect testing

    Point is 6" nail. The boards are 3cm thick conifer wood.
    It did not quite go trough the bottom board.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by Onager Lovac on Tue May 16, 2017 5:02 pm

    Hey Hullutiedemies, mind if i borrow some of your pictures?, i want to post some of them on archerytalk since the guys there seem to think of crossbows as super hi tech space guns

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by c sitas on Wed May 17, 2017 5:37 pm

    Onager, I've hung around there for years and what you say is no lie. They also don't back up from a 2 grand price tag either. If you spent that much on a rifle ,you would stand a good chance of at least getting your investment back. Not so with the crossbow.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by Onager Lovac on Wed May 17, 2017 6:13 pm

    C Sitas you're the man :thumbs up:

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by White Oak on Mon May 22, 2017 4:35 am

    What a cool bow! I like the simplicity. The mud guard make sense, looks good too.

     I don't know if this is the case or not but it seems to me that the only thing a reasonably handy Crusades soldier in the field might have trouble making was the string. Well, and finding good wood depending on his location.

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by c sitas on Mon May 22, 2017 8:48 am

    Hello Mr Oak.  The parts you mentioned maybe being problematic actually were not.The materials were all at hand . Rather than tell you , take a learning tour ,google is your friend here. Please come back and tell me what and where you found them.This is what this forum is all about.There are some of the most know-ed people in the real crossbow world around here. Not talking modern stuff.If , after researching ,your still at a loose, just ask . Someone will try to help .
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by hullutiedemies on Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:22 am



    Applying some finish. Limestone paint needs another coat in a few weeks once the linseed oil has hardened. That red earth could be a bit redder, but that is what I got and I want to keep this all non-synthetic.

    Ths is a literal crossbow bolt.

    This thing could use couple nicer looking bolts for display, but I am not much of a blacksmith.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by hullutiedemies on Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:23 am

    Onager Lovac wrote:Hey Hullutiedemies, mind if i borrow some of your pictures?, i want to post some of them on archerytalk since the guys there seem to think of crossbows as super hi tech space guns

    Go ahead.
    There is basically an excalibur matrix that grew on my backyard.
    String material was bought, it would have taken a week to clean enough nettle fiber for that.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by Onager Lovac on Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:58 pm

    Thanks man, sick crossbow by the way, looks about ready to storm the castle :Thumbs Up:.

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by White Oak on Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:56 pm

    c sitas wrote:Hello Mr Oak.  The parts you mentioned maybe being problematic actually were not.The materials were all at hand . Rather than tell you , take a learning tour ,google is your friend here. Please come back and tell me what and where you found them.This is what this forum is all about.There are some of the most know-ed people in the real crossbow world around here. Not talking modern stuff.If , after researching ,your still at a loose, just ask . Someone will try to help .
     I don't quite understand what you are getting at. Should I refrain from commenting unless I know exactly what I am talking about? or is it okay to engage in conversation from a place of ignorance?
     I would like to be able to converse on this forum but if I am told (this is just me making stuff up in my head mind you), if I am told to keep my mouth shut unless I've gone and researched everything I want to talk about, I won't ever have anything to talk about here.
     If you read my post you will see that I did not state anything unequivocally, as if I were certain what I was talking about.
     I have and have read most of Payne-Gallwey and have read the first two Traditional Bowyer's Bible volumes. What I lack is hands on experience, for which I am hoping to find the inspiration and support here.

    I am sorry for hijacking this thread, if this is inappropriate please let me know.

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by c sitas on Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:09 pm

    Feel free to have at it my friend.  Sorry I wasn't more clear. I was trying to get you to find out how they made a string  for instance ,or how they fashioned a prod . What they made a string out of. All these things are almost unheard of in modern times. This would also play into your "hands on ".Easy enough to do , if you learn how.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by Geezer on Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:51 pm

    The question concerned medieval/early medieval bowstrings.  Every string I've ever had a chance to examine was made of waxed hemp.  Sir Ralph Payne Gallwey suggested high quality flax cord, and that will work well.  In some ancient manuscripts the bowstring is referred to as 'sinew' that might just be the generic name for 'string' or it might suggest sinew was actually used for bowstrings.  At this point, I don't know any way to tell, but hemp is certainly a strong contender.  Geezer.

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by c sitas on Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:31 am

    hey Geezer, I was reading about Veit Nam  and they were showing guys making bow strings out of some kind of plant stems ,crushing and winding the fibers.They were using them on their monkey bows. Cool how they set down and "make a functioning weapon at one setting".No doubt it would kill. During the war they made lots of booby traps like that.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by Geezer on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:50 pm

    I've had a couple of Vietnamese crossbows in my shop: simple but effective bows for hunting small game.  Bolts fletched with some sort of palm-leaf, folded and fitted into a slotted bamboo shaft.  I can't identify the bowstring fiber, but certainly hemp grows in east Asia.  Lots of my contemporaries learned to smoke the hallucinogenic sort during the late lamentable war.  But of course there are probably other suitable long-fiber grasses that would make reasonable bowstrings.  Geezer

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by c sitas on Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:03 am

    Geezer, in this day and age with all the tech laying around, it really jars ones brain to see and learn how the world turned  yesterday,==without all the huulbalue.I guess that's why I really like the medival crossbow and mountain man era.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by Geezer on Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:38 pm

    Yes: I was very excited years ago when I found the Skane crossbow drawings in Josef Alm's 'Survey of European Crossbows." And though the Skane examples are dated no later than @ 1525, the pattern is so simple it could easily date 500 yrs. earlier.  And there was nothing in those bows that couldn't have been found by an enterprising Northlander in the hills behind his steading. 
    In particular, there was no metal at all.. and though I ended up using some metal bits on my commercial model of the Skane, that was only because customers regularly tore them to pieces out of ignorance.   They're a wonderfully simple/reliable machine. Geezer.

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by c sitas on Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:41 pm

    Geezer, back when I was in the mountain man thing, I know I read about the indians and their sinew bow strings. I even had met two different Indian woman that showed me how they were twisted. You could not possibly break them. Only thing is ,I don't recall what it took to keep them ready to go.I also remember that you would have had to train your fingers for the pain to pull their bow back. They used no guards for the fingers.The strings were very skinny.

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by topfmine on Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:53 am

    Just the type of crossbow I want to make for my next project, where did you get the measurements from. I want to make it simple if a can all from wood and string.
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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by hullutiedemies on Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:00 am

    Finally got a chance to try some long distance shots.
    Launched with guesstimated 40 degree elevation (calm weather, flat ground)
    70 gram bolt went 196 meters
    41 gram 240 meters
    Might have gone a bit further if I had had the time to try more than one shot each to find optimal elevation.
    But anyway these results are competetive with heavyweight longbows, so that part works as planned.

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    Re: Crusader crossbow

    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Fri Sep 28, 2018 1:54 pm

    Managed to miss this thread so thanks for posting to it.  Really enjoyed reading through it, I just love this type of crossbow.  Those distances are pretty impressive for an old ladies' bow!

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