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    What sort of metal for bolt clip?

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    kiltedcelt
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    What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by kiltedcelt on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:52 pm

    My first crossbow didn't have a bolt clip and I've long regretted not putting one on it. The two bows I'm currently working on are 15th and 16th century hunting bows and I'd like both to have a bolt clip but I want it to be period correct. Many of the crossbows I've seen in pics at museums and in books are missing the clips but they usually clearly have a screw where one would have been attached. I was thinking of just getting some 16 or 18 gauge steel and just cutting something out and bending it to shape. However, I'm concerned about rust being an issue as well well as maybe not getting enough "spring" to the clip. Any suggestions? Oh, on a related note, I think I have have seen at least one picture that showed an early (14th c.) bow with a horn bolt clip. Oh yeah, these two bows I'm working on also have "ivory" overlays, so the bolt clip should probably look a little more sleek or decorative perhaps, in keeping with the rest of the crossbow.
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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Ivo on Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:22 am

    clip or no clip it will still be period correct as bolt clips came a little later, I talked with a historian who turned my attention towards this painting..correction tapestry. Smile

    Mr SAM wrote:French tapestry early 16 th century

    Allegory of "The Siege of the Castle Jealousy" from "The Novel of the Rose"
    In the center of the composition a young lady is shown, shooting from a crossbow. And this crossbow is charged with a rose! Very Happy


    The idea was that bolts were initially held in place by the shooters thumb, a dangerous feeling practice I must say. Laughing

    Bone, horn, and metal clips came into play a bit later, not sure whose influence that was, but it was surely a good move on their part.

    One of Todd's crossbow reproductions has a great example of a bone bone clip. Never seen it before, but have to say it's wicked looking. Smile
    >>>http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=159814


    One of Mr. SAM's prints also showing this style of bolt clip.


    Not much in the image department for horn clips, but it is possible that this one trip-wire "trap crossbow" here might just be one of them...poor old beat up thing.



    Also one of Mr. SAM's acquaintances/collectors was kind enough to share a few photos...possibly a horn clip there also.



    All I know is horn was worked/shaped in a fashion similar to plastics...heated/steamed then bent over a form to give it rough shape and then sanded/filed to final shape and of course polished drunken ....horn can have an excellent pearly look after polishing and would probably be the most favorable of all materials considering the improved performance due to the self lubricating properties of horn.

    And metal clips, New World Arbalest puts the common brass/steel clips on their crossbows if I'm not mistaken, but I've also seen a more unique bolt clip when shuffling through online galleries. It's a shaped steel bolt clip...


    Also a clip I've noticed repeatedly on the clap-lock crossbows...Image courtesy of Vidar Halveslak from the Swedish Crossbow Forum


    And their youngest brother, looks like it's just a broken off clip, but I think it's from the Spanish crossbows which were, well on the compact/lightweight sides of the scale...and yeh the nut is backwards in this pic. Razz


    Ivo

    PS: Not a pro, so anyone is welcome to quote me and say different. study




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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by mac on Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:11 pm

    I have always used my thumb to hold the bolt, like the image in the tapestry above. This seems to be standard practice with crossbows having skinny tillers. It also seems to have been used with types of bows where the nut is not held in by a cord or a pin. If your thumb is on the nut, it can not come out and get lost when you shoot.

    It sounds dangerous......but it is not.

    The trick is to press only hard enough to hold the bolt and no more. If you do this the string can get out from under your thumb quite painlessly. If you grip the nut too tightly, the string can give the ball of your thumb a painfull "twack" as it passes. In any case, I have never been hurt doing this.

    Try it! It adds a whole new level of "cool" to your shooting.

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    basileus
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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by basileus on Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:47 am

    kiltedcelt wrote:My first crossbow didn't have a bolt clip and I've long regretted not putting one on it. The two bows I'm currently working on are 15th and 16th century hunting bows and I'd like both to have a bolt clip but I want it to be period correct. Many of the crossbows I've seen in pics at museums and in books are missing the clips but they usually clearly have a screw where one would have been attached. I was thinking of just getting some 16 or 18 gauge steel and just cutting something out and bending it to shape. However, I'm concerned about rust being an issue as well well as maybe not getting enough "spring" to the clip. Any suggestions? Oh, on a related note, I think I have have seen at least one picture that showed an early (14th c.) bow with a horn bolt clip. Oh yeah, these two bows I'm working on also have "ivory" overlays, so the bolt clip should probably look a little more sleek or decorative perhaps, in keeping with the rest of the crossbow.

    I've used brass for my bolt clips as it's springy enough and looks good. Soft steel should work equally well. If you want the metal (steel or brass) to be more springy, you can work-harden it by pounding it thoroughly using light strokes from a ball-peen hammer. Note that this makes the metal more brittle, too.
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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Geezer on Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:59 pm

    Hey guys, Geezer here, spouting-off about spring-clips. According to William Paterson, bolt-clips are a fairly new development. He noted their appearing in literature... uhhh, I think it was about 1350, but that may be wrong. Anyhow, It looks like most sporting bows from late 15th and 16th centuries have them or once did. Certainly the late 15th century Padre Island bows I copied showed no sign of a clip, or any sort of pin or cord through the nut, for that matter.
    I have seen clips made of steel (or iron) and some made of what appears to be cow-horn, antler or perhaps bone. For many years, I made all my clips out of brass, simply because it was shiny and customers seemed to prefer it. In fact, brass is pretty unusual on medieval crossbows. Most medieval metal-work is iron or steel. I still use brass clips for people who want very stiff clips for combat games. We could also note that medieval bows almost invariably attach their clips with a single screw or pin, because it was necessary to get the clip out of the way for loading. Some of my SCA customers prefer clips that are permanently fixed in place to facilitate fast loading that their games encourage. So there's a difference in period practice and contemporary practice.
    If you want a nice, springy steel for bolt-clips, I can heartily recommend the steel banding that is used to hold shipments of lumber together. Some of the broadest bits are just to hard to cut with shears, but the common 3/4 in. wide stuff is easy to work and bend to shape. I cut a piece about 4 inches long, narrow and taper it to need, and simply bend with a pair of needle-nose pliers. If the metal is in pristine shape, it won't require any finishing, but if it's nasty, I wire-brush it smooth, torch blue and quench. A coat of lacquer helps retard dust. Best of all, the banding steel is free. The lumber yard just throws it away.
    The last question is where you want your bolt-clip to press. Many renaissance clips actually fit their distal end right between the lugs of the nut, pressing down on the very butt of the bolt. That's probably an advantage if your clip is pretty loose and won't stay in place otherwise. Again, having the clip lie between the lugs of the nut tends to slow down loading a bit, but with bows that required a cranequin or windlass, that was a small concern. Most of my modern customers would prefer to have the clip press down a bit further forward. Later bows with the notch and clap-lock usually have clips that press on the bolt about the middle of the track, for obvious reasons when you look at it.
    If you do lots of shooting at very short ranges, a clip that's really tall gets in the way of your sight-picture. When I was going to SCA target shoots, I usually swung my clip out of the way for the closer ranges, at least with my strongest target bow (160 lb. Barnett prod) With my target bolts, that bow shot point blank, with nice tight groups, at 55 yards. 20 yards require shooting at the ground beneath the target... but it was indeed a bully-bow. Maybe someday I'll get a 125 lb. Elkridge prod and fit it on my old target piece. That oughta do some serious shooting. Anyway, that's it for now. Geezer, signing off.
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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:57 pm

    It's interesting how often you notice something once it gets pointed out. Now that I know to look for using the thumb to hold the bolt I have now noticed it in a bunch of other manuscripts.



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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by mac on Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:01 pm

    Basilisk120 wrote:It's interesting how often you notice something once it gets pointed out. Now that I know to look for using the thumb to hold the bolt I have now noticed it in a bunch of other manuscripts.

    'tis ever thus...

    Every time I notice something like that, I wonder what else I'm missing.



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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Regerald on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:15 am

    Old blades of a metal saw sometimes are perfect.. But bending in a needed shape is possible only with warming..
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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Todd the archer on Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:32 pm

    I know this is not metal but I made my clip from PVC pipe that used a heat gun to shape it then finished with a file. Depending on how you finish it it could pass for horn.

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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:55 pm

    Hmm thats a clever idea with the PVC. I wonder how it would work if thinner PVC was used?



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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Ivo on Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:38 am

    The thought that visits me often while brainstorming a design is it's
    structural integrity...flat bolt clips are springy due to the flat body
    that equally takes compression and stretch, but an arched profile(half a
    pipe) will give more resistance which will allow for a thinner, stiffer
    and more elegant looking clip.

    BUT...I think thicker is better considering the brittleness of plastics at lower temperatures. I was going to suggest white/tan shades of poly carbonates and acrylics which are a bit stiffer, but temperature issue remains...

    An interesting thought is about Delrin...is it acceptable for thermoforming? study

    Regerald wrote:Old blades of a metal saw sometimes are perfect.. But
    bending in a needed shape is possible only with warming..

    Saw blades make a great bolt clip, modern manufacturers add a strip of plastic to the bottom of the clip at the tip to help reduce friction, as well as a small rubber "silencer" on top to aid in vibration absorption. Could be of use to medieval builders if they approach the question with a bit of creativity. Smile




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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Pavise on Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:58 pm

    Somewhere on the Crossbowman's Den site, Robin talks about making a bolt clip from Kydex. This is a tough thermoformable plastic that is typically used for aircraft interior panels. It is generally available from plastics dealers and or sign makers' suppliers. I have used Kydex and horn and even the flexible steel "keys" used by vehicle trimmers to remove head rests from seats. Long version feeler gauges are also suitable, if thick enough, and can easily be shaped, drilled and blued too. Metal strapping is an old stand-by of mine and I have used this stuff when making kids' crossbows that utilise the tip ends from cross-country skis for the prod limbs.
    But this whole subject of what best to use, makes me think that there is room on this Forum for a dept perhaps called "Resources". All too often we find ourselves searching for materials that lend themselves to the building of crossbows, only to learn, lo and behold, there is something in the local junk yard that will do the job instead of having to search the world over. The transverse fibre glass spring from the rear of a small Chevy van or such would make an awesome prod. Laughing
    And I meant to add that heat-shrink plastic tubing works well on metal bolt clips to deaden the noise as well as on the tip end where dipping and coating in liquid vinyl is a good tip too. (Pun intended.) However a quick quarrel, bolt or arrow will often melt this off after a few shots.
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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by Ivo on Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:34 pm

    You could have just said..."shut up and build something already!"..."it doesn't matter out of what, just build something"..."and Ivo, the place is a damn mess!!!" Laughing [EDIT] At least that what it sounded like to me [EDIT]

    ...But you're right...a few "Resource" topics with an index is a good idea, I'm just a bit short on time to sit down and do it right...lets talk it over PM.

    Ivo








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    Re: What sort of metal for bolt clip?

    Post by justinbell on Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:51 am

    well kiltedcelt, make it done proper as you seem to look putting enough effort to give new look. It is also so precious bows which you have been keeping in pockets since 16 and 18th century and giving them another new look by setting up some extra steel tools.

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