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    bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

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    stuckinthemud1
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    bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:16 pm

    I want to fit horn re-enforcing plates to the bridle-eye but I am really struggling with the decorative aspect of the thing; does anyone have any images or links to images of any examples (except the 'Ulrich bow' - the Met museum set of images is excellent)
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    Re: bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

    Post by Geezer on Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:12 pm

    You wanted to know about reinforcing the 'bridle-eye'. Years ago, I had the opportunity to re-bind a Haenish crossbow (with roller-lock, dated 1881 on the bridle-block's underside) Somewhere along the line, this bow had been re-bound, rather inexpertly, and the collector who now owns it, wanted the bridle re-done.  After removing the old sash-cord bridle, I wound a new cord of flax and rebound the prod.  I discovered the bridle-passage (or 'eye') was cut in a deep 'D' shape (common with German sporting bows) The maker had reinforced the leading-edge (front) of the passage, by inserting two blocks of antler or ivory, (they meet in the center, rounded on the outer edges, to avoid cutting the string.  The passage had no other reinforcement around the edges... just the front surface where the load would be greatest, and the bone reinforce was quite invisible with the bridle in place. The fore-end also had a stout reinforcing rivet , just behind the prod-socket, from top to bottom. 
    A careful examination of crossbow photos online should turn up some illlustrations of fancier, decorative reinforces.   That's what search engines are for... I love the internet, it has made my huge collection of crossbow snapshots, taken in museums quite unnecessary.   Geezer.
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    Re: bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:17 am

    Hi Geezer, one of the questions I had was how deep the horn/bone was inlaid, so that's really useful for me.  My tiller has a deep shake running right up to the 'eye' it has pulled together nicely with yellow glue but I'd like the piece of mind the re-enforcement will provide.  

    Regarding an internet search, I have spent more hours than is healthy on-line and found very few examples of decorative inlay around the bridle even in period paintings, maybe only 3 or 4?
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    Re: bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

    Post by Geezer on Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:12 am

    How deep is the horn inlay?  Generally speaking the horn/bone/ivory inlays I have seen were all about 1/8 of an inch deep (2-3 mm) The bone reinforces for the 'bridle eye' on the Haenish crossbow (famous family of crossbowyers in Dresden) had two pieces of bone that met in the middle.  The crossbow in question is perhaps 1.5 inches thick at the head, so the bone blocks were @ 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, 3/4 in. wide, and 3/4 inch long... the maker cut the bridle passage about 3/4 inch wide (it's been years, so I'm approximating... I make my passages as a 3/4 or 7/8 inch round hole, then flatten the front of the passage to make it a D, and round off the flat bit on the edges, to ease the bridle cord.  Haenish made his passage @ 3/4 in. wide, but more like an 1-1.25 inch front to back (again D shaped) and then glued the blocks into the flat section so they met in the middle and extended out to the edges of the passage.  Rounded off the outer bone bits so the bridle cord wouldn't be cut. The result was a pretty average bridle-eye/passage that had @ 1/4-3/8 inch. bone blocks reinforcing the front of the passage.  The bone blocks showed little or no wear from bridle pressure, so I guess they work.  I hope this makes sense.  Geezer.
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    Re: bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

    Post by Geezer on Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:26 am

    Further observations on the Haenish bow: (German @ 1881) The stock was a short, fat German sporting pattern that I call 5B in my online catalog.  Take a look... most of you will recognize the type immediately.  The lock is a multi-axle roller nut model... some internal pieces missing. Nut is about 1 1/4 to 1 3/8 diameter and a bit over an inch wide... pretty average looking, made of good quality antler... little or not pith.  Here's the cool bit.  The nut-socket was reinforced front and rear with bone/antler blocks. The front block (actually two pieces, side by side) actually moves a little in its mounting... I don't know how it was attached, but it DID move a bit if you jiggled it... Perhaps this allowed the front edge of the socket to 'give' a bit if the roller oscillated in the socket?  Certainly the front blocks were in very nice shape, with very little wear. 
    Second oddity: the sides and bottom of the nut socket were lined with some sort of thin leather... The nut is pretty loose in the socket after 140 years, but if new... I wondered if the maker intended the 'leather' lining to be saturated with some sort of oil or grease that would lubricate the roller. 
    Years ago, when i was travelling to SCA meets all over the country, I discovered crossbows made in Austin (Tex) in high humidity tended to get loose in the lock when I took them to Arizona.  Locks made in dry winter conditions tended to get very tight, and even lock up western Pennsylviana in the summer time, if the humidity was high, or if it rained.  Assuming I'm correct, and the 'leather' lining in the Haenish bow's lock socket was intended to be saturated with lubricant, when humidity went up and the stock began to swell, the oil/grease would be forced out, and presumably the lock would remain reasonably tight, yet still spin easily.  If humidity went down in winter, presumably the shooter/owner could add lubricant to the pads, which would swell, keeping the nut centered in its socket and running smoothly.  There were some other oddities from the Haenish bow.  I'll put together another commentary on that one day, but for now, my shop is calling... 'cut wood, glue stuff, make thing..."  Geezer.
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    Re: bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

    Post by Geezer on Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:36 am

    Geezer here: You're right: bone-inlet reinforces for the bridle-eye don't show up often.  I seem to recall a large 15th century crossbow in the Metropolitan, (horn/sinew prod) which had flambeau flashes inlet in the sides and I think it had bone reinforces around the 'eye'.  Some of the sketch-drawings of stocks in Egon Harmuth's Die Armbrust also show some sort of reinforce around the 'eye... not much detail of course.  There are some really nice crossbows in Holbein the Elder's painting "Martyrdom of St. Sebastian".  You might find some nice inlay there.  Also look at paintings by Lucas Cranach... he has some huge hunting scenes with rich Nabobs shooting crossbows.  I would look carefully at their bows.  Will do a bit of searching in my snapshots to see what jumps out.  I've got a lot of pics from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna... they have lots of bows, so maybe I'll strike gold... or ivory.  Geezer.
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    Re: bridle eye horn re-enforcing examples anyone?

    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:19 am

    Thanks Geezer

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