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    carving on early crossbows

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    stuckinthemud1
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:57 am

    OK, so this is a bit of a hypothetical chat over a coffee discussion starter than anything. I am building a bpw in the spirit of the Gothic period but not an actual replica as such.  The prod is yew and sinew, the tiller is apple with bone and antler in-lays; stock and bow are both 76cm long. Target draw weight is 150lb. My intention is to add painted black decoration and carved panels.

    I know of only three or four early crossbows with carved ivory/stag-horn panels, including the Ulrich and Corvinus 'bows but I am really struggling with planning the carved stag-horn inlays. It seems the main themes of Gothic carvings are of saints, courtly love and of the hunt, though the Ulrich uses banners and peasants,  

    Help please!!
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    Post by Geezer on Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:05 pm

    Carving and inlays on medieval crossbows: Over the years, i've amassed a lot of photos of medieval crossbows held in various collections. Today you could probably find 90 percent of them with an online search in an hour or two. What I have learned is this:  We don't actually have many medieval bows that pre-date @ 1450 (Ulrich V is @ 1460, as is the large siege bow in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna) Pre-1500 bows, if carved tend toward flashes, wavy flambeaux, and geometric patterns... usually fairly simple ones.   Grotesque faces aren't uncomon.  The Fels Colonna bow at the Wallace collection in London is covered in bone plaques featuring classical figures, hunt scenes, etc.  16th century bows either have religious themes or hunt scenes... hounds, stags, bears, etc.  From 17th century on, the decoration usually moves toward floral borders, wreathes and sometimes pictures of distant cities/ castles.  Hunt scenes remain very common. Animals depected are pretty cartoonish on cheaper bows, but better quality pieces often use bas/relief carving.  Coats of arms are pretty common, as well as cartouches with the owner's initials... ususally very ornately depicted.  Mostly you're going to have to search online for photos of what you'd like.  Then if it's practical, it really helps to go look at the sort of decoration you like. Pictures are great, but there's Nothing like getting hands-on, or as close as you can.  Even if the piece is behind glass, being there gives you a much better sense of scale.  Hope that helps.  Geezer.
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    stuckinthemud1
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:08 am

    Thanks Geezer, I have no idea where my bow fits into a timeline or location, it probably would be generic Western/central European type and in my head I am aiming for c1400 in 'feel.' Consequently I was considering a slightly sideways approach and wondered if 'The Book of Hours', or other period illustrated manuscripts, perhaps even court playing cards and the like, mightn't provide some images or themes to work from to sort of bridge the 'gap' between the pre-1500 and the 1450 examples?
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    Post by Geezer on Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:26 am

    The Gaston Phoebus 'Book of the Chase' dates @ 1390, and has lots of small illustrations that could be helpful.  Pretty much all the crossbows there seem to be rounded stocks with a sine-wave bottom line... larger at head and lock, narrower in between.  You could certainly go with something like that.  Take a look at my online catalog for basic stock shapes.  I don't claim it's authoritative, but there are lots of stock shapes I have derived from extant bows.  I do take liberties sometimes, so given a choice between My say and an original to copy, I say go with the original. ( www.crossbows.net) I also have some simple stock/shape drawings in my Iolo's Book of Crossbows, which you can download free from my website.  Again, not necessarily authoritative, but might be helpful.  Geezer.
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    Post by stuckinthemud1 on Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:32 am

    Hadn't stumbled over that one yet, it looks like it might be exactly what I'm looking for !  I downloaded and printed off Iolo's book a long long time ago, still keep it as a reference Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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