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    How close to original would you go

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    stuckinthemud1
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    How close to original would you go

    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:22 pm

    Right, I'll confess, I am a sinister man. I'm left handed. Medieval bows are right handed, I think they are all right handed but could be wrong in that. If I carve a lefty stock in making a close/exact 15th century replica, is this one adjustment too far?
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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by kenh on Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:53 pm

    Medieval prods are not "handed".    Even into the 16th century, they're pretty much a straight stick with varying profiles -- no offset to one side or the other.  Back then handed-ness just wasn't a thing people designed for when making objects - crossbows or shoes or ....

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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:15 pm

    Maybe it was just the high-end crossbows then as, for example, the Mathias Corvinus crossbow seems to have a slightly asymmetrically carved fore-grip with offset 'trigger' mechanism, while the Ulrich bow has a quite pronounced asymmetry to the stock, including a slight 'cheek' and an asymmetry to the fore-grip effectively creating a swell-and-hollow form.  So, sweeping generalisations aside, a straight stock would be the norm, but how wrong would it be to carve a slightly left-handed stock? Is there any precedent?

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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:58 pm

    I first thought this was a lefty but actually the image might have been flipped but it does show that high-end stocks were sometimes 'handed' - the image below is the other way round (I think) 

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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by Geezer on Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:20 am

    Yes, generally speaking, most medieval crossbows are straight (if tapered) sticks, and not built for either hand.  But high-end bows were made for individuals whose tastes differed.  Starting in the 15th century, there are lots of bows with a slight cheek asymmetry for the preferred hand (usually left side for right-handed shooters) I can't recall seeing any bows specifically made for left handers, but I don't think it does any harm to make a few that way.   I've seen at least one bow (maybe 16th century) that had a very asymmetric stock, with the tiller-end offset quite dramatically.  I'll look thru my old snapshots to see if I can find provenance.  Geezer.
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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by OrienM on Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:42 am

    I made my last tiller asymmetrical on purpose...I was having sight picture issues with a straight tiller (shooting to the right, or having to cock my head awkwardly to line up with the bolt). The asymmetrical tiller automatically places my dominant (right) eye exactly over the bolt, a big improvement for quick, accurate shooting. I'm confident the old-timers did it for the same reason.
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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by Geezer on Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:44 am

    No doubt you are right.  Bows made for individuals could be, and were made for individual tastes. Geezer.
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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by OrienM on Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:29 am

    I noticed quite a few original tillers with this sort of asymmetry, once I was looking for that detail. The pics above are a nice example. It makes sense to me; when you are making something for an individual user, you may as well make it fit comfortably... Cool

    I have also encountered a few photos of some VERY asymetrical tillers, like 3-4" off-center...made for a right eyed, left handed shooter, perhaps?
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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by Geezer on Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:30 am

    Yup: somewhere in my photo collection I've got a few shots of a Very Offset (to the right, for a right-handed shooter) crossbow tiller in a European museum.. the butt makes a very pronounced jog, a couple of inches right, then straightens out again. Presumably the shooter could easily get his eye right in line with the groove.  It's around here somewhere.... Geezer.

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    Re: How close to original would you go

    Post by jamesjohnson on Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:36 am

    kenh wrote:Medieval prods are not "handed".    Even into the 16th century, they're pretty much a straight stick with varying profiles -- no offset to one side or the other.  Back then handed-ness just wasn't a thing people designed for when making objects - crossbows or shoes or ....
    Indeed, as a rule, most medieval crossbows are straight sticks, and not worked for either hand. In any case, top of the line bows were made for people whose tastes varied. Beginning in the fifteenth century, there are bunches of bows with a slight cheek asymmetry for the favored hand (typically left side for right-gave shooters) I can't review seeing any bows particularly made for left handers, however I don't figure it does any damage to make a couple of that way.
    I have a mini crossbow that's pretty good. I bought it for hunting practice.

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