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    SCA combat crosbow build

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    Gary D
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    SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Gary D on Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:53 pm

    Hello, I am just starting my first Crossbow build. This one is meant to be an SCA target/combat bow for my daughter. Therefore it has some pretty specific criteria I want to acheive in this build. They are as follows.

    1-light weight (she is a slight 15 yr old girl - 16 for Quad War)
    2-light draw weight (as much for her ease and enjoyment as SCA combat rules)
    3-ergonomically comfortable for her use
    4-relatively durable for the demands of combat use
    5-respectably attractive for the target field (that and she's a 15yr old girl - not to mention I really dislike the rubber-band-gun style SCA combat crossbows)
    You'll note that historical accuracy is not a hard and fast criteria here. However I will make it as historically accurate as the above criteria allows.

    Any input on the above would be great, feel free to discuss and make suggestions. I'd love to hear your thought and ideas. I'm going to leave this post here and address my ideas for each requirement in additional posts. This is for a couple reasons, I'm currently at work and need to move on without making this one really long post, and being a newbie here it will jack up my post count Very Happy
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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Gary D on Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:04 pm

    So addressing Criteria #1 naturally the answer is make a smaller tiller and not use a steel lathe. I am thinking a sleek and low profile crossbow based roughly on Iolo's #1 blank with obvious modifications perhaps more like a #5, and use a 50lb fiberglass prod, which satisfies criteria #2 (50lbs x 8" draw =400"lbs which is well within SCA spec - upto 650"lbs) still good enough for a 20 yard shot.
    So question for you folks. From your exxperiences what wuold you recommend for tiller height and width at the prod end? (not the height of the knotch itself)
    Gary
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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Gary D on Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:28 pm

    Ok, back behind a computer. Addressing Criteria #3 My daughter is aprox 5'4". she is also quite competent with her ruger 10/22, and has stated that she would like to hold the crossbow to her shoulder like a rifle butt. With this in mind I am thinking of incorporating some of the ruger's dimensions into the piece. This will include a 2 1/2 inch downward bend at the butt end from the table which is the difference from the top of the heel to the top of the reciever on the 10/22. Also approximating the front of the tickler to the front of the trigger guard to accomodate similar hand placement we are looking at 14 1/2". Also forehand grip will be 1 7/8" wide between the binding hole and the roler nut, tapering to 1 1/2" at the "small" of the tiller and 1 1/4" at the heel. I am thinking I will keep the 1 7/8" width right up to the prods.

    Styling will be rather central Europen in a darker wood, perhaps a reddish or pinkinsh cherry with a contrasting table from the roller nut forward.

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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Ivo on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:02 am

    Hi Garry,

    The work day is over...correction -"finally" over. Smile

    Before we go over a few points you mention, there is a small article
    that can help a bit. Written by our departed Master Crossbow Builder -
    Robin Allen...there is no reason to doubt the suggested reading, so give
    it a look. Wink

    The Crossboman's Den > Building Kid's Crossbow

    Gary D wrote:
    1-light weight (she is a slight 15 yr old girl - 16 for Quad War)

    ...So addressing Criteria #1 naturally the answer is make a smaller tiller
    and not use a steel lathe. I am thinking a sleek and low profile
    crossbow based roughly on Iolo's #1 blank with obvious modifications
    perhaps more like a #5...

    ...Styling
    will be rather central Europen in a darker wood, perhaps a reddish or
    pinkinsh cherry with a contrasting table from the roller nut forward. ...

    1. Maple is a nice lightweight hardwood widely available at major hardware stores like Homedepot, Lowes(USA). If you look through the stack you can find some nice stuff with a bit of burl that will look great under a couple of coats of linseed-oil or lacquer.

    Gary D wrote:
    2-light draw weight (as much for her ease and enjoyment as SCA combat rules)

    ...use a 50lb fiberglass prod, which satisfies criteria #2 (50lbs x 8" draw
    =400"lbs which is well within SCA spec - upto 650"lbs) still good
    enough for a 20 yard shot.

    I think you're getting a little off track here...50lb prod means it "will pull" 50lb at a certain point of draw...not multiply every inch of draw by 50lb.

    I have a quick question...are you planing on making a prod or buying one?

    Gary D wrote:
    3-ergonomically comfortable for her use

    ...Ok, back behind a computer. Addressing Criteria #3 My daughter is aprox
    5'4". she is also quite competent with her ruger 10/22, and has stated
    that she would like to hold the crossbow to her shoulder like a rifle
    butt. With this in mind I am thinking of incorporating some of the
    ruger's dimensions into the piece. This will include a 2 1/2 inch
    downward bend at the butt end from the table which is the difference
    from the top of the heel to the top of the reciever on the 10/22. Also
    approximating the front of the tickler to the front of the trigger guard
    to accomodate similar hand placement we are looking at 14 1/2". Also
    forehand grip will be 1 7/8" wide between the binding hole and the roler
    nut, tapering to 1 1/2" at the "small" of the tiller and 1 1/4" at the
    heel. I am thinking I will keep the 1 7/8" width right up to the prods...

    Sounds good...try it with some cardboard or as some like to do with insulation foam(visit custom stocks topic for more info) and more importantly make sure the fingers are plenty far from the string path...very dangerous stuff.

    By the way...speaking of stock shapes. Lightly from New World Arbalest built one I really liked and perhaps it will appeal to you as well.


    Gary D wrote:So question for you folks. From your exxperiences what wuold you recommend for tiller height and width at the prod end? (not the height of the knotch itself)
    Gary

    As far as my opinion goes...50lb isn't a lot and the stock can be 1/2" wide and hold the weight just fine....however 1/2" isn't going to feel well in the hand, so you got to make some measurements with your kid. As for "tiller height"...remember my warning about string clearance(keep the fingers far and safe)...and check out this topic to shine a bit of light on what happens on the end of the stock where the prod is mounted. >>> Tinker's build ...long story short>>>you need to get the prod before making any decisions regarding the dimensions of the front end of the stock...jumps me back to my question...are you planning on getting your prod, or making one? (I'm just asking because I know 50lb prods are out there for sale, so... Smile )

    Gary D wrote:5-respectably attractive for the target field (that and she's a 15yr old
    girl - not to mention I really dislike the rubber-band-gun style SCA
    combat crossbows)

    Well, lets get out the drawing board. cheers

    Though I also don't really like the crude ruberband creations ...however... Rubber bands can actually be pretty powerful if applied properly. Wink


    PS:

    And my trigger suggestion will be ...
    This guy built a set forward medieval style trigger that I really liked...check it out.



    I'll put it up for discussion in the "triggers" topic since the design is far from perfect and needs a bit of work before it's a good trigger.
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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Gary D on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:48 am

    Ivo wrote:
    I think you're getting a little off track here...50lb prod means it "will pull" 50lb at a certain point of draw...not multiply every inch of draw by 50lb.

    I have a quick question...are you planing on making a prod or buying one?



    Sounds good...try it with some cardboard or as some like to do with insulation foam(visit custom stocks topic for more info) and more importantly make sure the fingers are plenty far from the string path...very dangerous stuff.

    By the way...speaking of stock shapes. Lightly from New World Arbalest built one I really liked and perhaps it will appeal to you as well.



    Thanks for the input Ivo. The formula (poundage at lock*draw length) is actually the SCA's used to to create their baseline for safety purposes. The accuracy of the thing is actually irelevant as it's the rule we have to play by. light Crossbows are 400-600"lbs, Heavy are 601-1000"lbs.

    As for the prods right now I am just going to buy commercially, it's easier that way, and a fair bit less guesswork in getting it right for weight I need. Good point about the forend length, I won't plan that part until I have the prod or atleast accurate manufacturer specs.

    Being it is designed with specific dimensions for fit, I think I will ruh a quick blank out of a scrap 2x4 so she can hold it and get a feel and make any practical adjustments prior to getting into the real tiller.
    For this one again on the weight issue I will likely give it a whippe ring. she can either use it with a whippe or more likely with a ground plate (electrical grounding plates for buildings are a square steel plate with a short rod welded to them to clamp the ground cable, would be perfect to stand on and just hook a whippe loop on to span, thus drop a few ounces from the front)

    Wow that is a beautifful tiller!
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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Ivo on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:38 pm

    The formula (poundage at lock*draw length) is actually the SCA's used
    to to create their baseline for safety purposes. The accuracy of the
    thing is actually irelevant as it's the rule we have to play by. light
    Crossbows are 400-600"lbs, Heavy are 601-1000"lbs.

    So THAT's what they do now Razz Sorry, for a second I thought I was going to lose my mind and almost decided to dive into a lengthy explanation of calculations involved. Warn me next time, ok? Smile Smile Smile

    Being a big fan of built in spanning mechanisms or to be more exact - built in spanning "levers"... I think this build can greatly benefit from just such a mechanism.

    Since it's a gaming crossbow it will not put the player at a disadvantage...since it's a lever she will be able to reload while still in motion>>> with the added benefit of looking cool reloading the bow with a swing of the lever that will disappear/blend with the stock when not in use(I think that will satisfy criteria #5 quite nicely Very Happy ). With such a light weight prod the construction can still be kept "all wood" even further blending everything into a solid looking piece. Wink

    Ivo




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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Basilisk120 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:49 pm

    Ivo wrote:
    The formula (poundage at lock*draw length) is actually the SCA's used
    to to create their baseline for safety purposes. The accuracy of the
    thing is actually irelevant as it's the rule we have to play by. light
    Crossbows are 400-600"lbs, Heavy are 601-1000"lbs.

    So THAT's what they do now Razz Sorry, for a second I thought I was going to lose my mind and almost decided to dive into a lengthy explanation of calculations involved. Warn me next time, ok? Smile Smile Smile
    I was thinking the same thing. I have heard the Draw length * Max Draw weight before and always wondered why people were using it. Not a very good approximation but as long as its consistent it should work.

    Ivo wrote:
    Being a big fan of built in spanning mechanisms or to be more exact - built in spanning "levers"... I think this build can greatly benefit from just such a mechanism.

    And even better it is a SCA period mechanism. Well wood is a bit anachronistic for a latch style bow but better than a lot of stuff on the field
    Razz

    As for other spanning ideas. If you have the Wippe loop in front you could tie on a rope foot loop and use that. When it wears out replace it.
    Or don't have anything and just have her put the but of the tiller on her hip and span. For a 50lb prod that should be too hard.

    But basically it sound really good and think this is going in a decent direction. Using a 10/22 for rough dimensions isn't a bad idea.



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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Gary D on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:27 pm

    yeah the value of the formula is in it being a consistant way to quantify "whack - good" vs. "Whack - WTF!!!" that field marshalls can measure quickly and easily.
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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Ivo on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:49 am

    Before we move on I ahve a few questions since I have absolutely no idea what happens on that field.

    1. What are the specs on those projectiles? any pictures/info available?

    2. Are you thinking of making a solid stock or are ok with laminating it out of boards? Reason I'm asking is Laminated may be easier since you can drill the axel holes and inlett the trigger prior to gluing the halves/thirds together...and if the lever idea lives then a lever would also be easier to do if laminated stock is used.

    3. and the last one...Do any of you have any pictures of the crossbows used in these games?...this I really want to see. Very Happy




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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Basilisk120 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:16 am

    1. There are specs for combat bolts but I beleive they can vary bit between kingdoms
    http://www.argentlupus.com/CombatArcherySupplies.html has some different styles of combat bolts. They seem to be decent but haven't dealt with them (or do any combat archery) so not sure but they look appropriate.

    3. The last combat crossbow I got a good look at was made from a 2x4 (roughly) with a prod made from fiberglass rods tied togather. Yes the type of rods you can pick up at a hardware store and No I don't have a picture of it Sad but it was as awesome as your imagining.

    So looking forward to seeing a good looking combat crossbow - no pressure or anything Razz Twisted Evil


    Last edited by Basilisk120 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:19 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added a bit)



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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Geezer on Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:51 am

    Geezer here: weighing in on SCA combat crossbows.
    I cut my professional teeth making crossbows for SCA, and for many years, at least half of those were combat bows. Most of them were roller-lock bows, made of hardwood, with long tickler triggers. As a matter of fact, the basic bows listed in my online catalog are made to fit within SCA's 'light crossbow' of 600 inch/pounds regs. I have also made some notch and pushpin combat bows (wooden tickler-lever on the bottom) based on the Skane crossbows from Josef Alm's 'Survey of European Crossbows.' All of these look and work like real medieval bows... within limitations of aluminum-alloy prods and SCA's safety features.
    In fact, a large number of SCA combat crossbows use a notch and top-lever release. I can't personally document that as a real medieval release, but I expect something similar was used in period, at least on children's toys or the lightest of recreational or hunting bows. And yes, a fair number of those notch/top-lever bows use fiberglass prods... some are bits of fiberglass rod, taped together, others use flat sail-battens. They look really crappy, and don't shoot all that well, but they will shoot a padded-bolt reasonably straight to about 30 yards. (max range about 50 yards) The aluminum-alloy and steel bows with roller-locks will shoot accurately to 30 yards and will carry to about 70 yards, thanks to more efficient release and better geometry. Over the years, I have replaced a number of batten-laths in cheap combat bows with aluminum-alloy recurves. The shooters invariably come back later, amazed at the improvement in performance... yet people keep buying the mega-cheap bows anyhow. Sigh.
    In many places, SCA combat archery is an entry-level activity, where players are just getting started. Cheap equipment has its attractions for the neophyte. Also, the combat games get pretty rough.. how do you 'kill' an archer? In most places, you swat him with a club. So equipment gets pretty beat up. People are hesitant to take very pretty, very expensive stuff out on the field, it they expect it to get thrashed, so cheap stuff tends to rule.
    The bows you see on SCA target ranges are generally substantially better quality. There, roller-nut locks predominate, thanks to smoother release and greater accuracy. On the combat field, the notch-locks are quicker to load and if your cheap bow gets crunched, the financial loss is easier to bear.
    And by the way... if you wondered... it's great fun to take your crossbow out on the armored field and shoot the 'knights' in the face-plate. Like a live shooting-range. Of course if they get close, they'll probably swat you, and the armor is awfully heavy, but hoo-boy is it an adrenaline rush!
    And that's how I see it. Geezer/known in SCA as Master Iolo
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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by Gary D on Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:34 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts and and insights Geezer.

    Current progress is that we have cut the tiller from two pieces of red oak and are waiting for me to make the tickler so as to lay out the mechanism. I will take progress pics and as I get further into the project and add them to the projects folder in the near future.

    One question, what is the best choice for a traditional tickler axle and for securing it? A rod with rivetted ends? I wouldn't think a threaded nut and bolt would be very period proper much before the 16th century at best (hell, they did come up with buttons until the 13th century, and nuts weren't really invented until the early 15th century).


    Last edited by Gary D on Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : lack of proof reading)
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    traditional tickler axles.

    Post by Geezer on Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:55 pm

    A Traditional tickler axle would be a rivet, run through washers and peened over on both ends. This makes it rather difficult to disassemble should you need to effect repairs... which is why I use a threaded bolt.
    Roller-nuts for crossbows date back to Roman times. Most extant medieval crossbows use a roller-nut, but there are few extant crossbows that date before @ 1350, so it's hard to prove earlier bows used rollers, but the Buston-Crannog grave find (@ 800 AD) features a bone roller-nut.
    As for buttons, I have heard the theory that they weren't invented before the 13th century, but that is not the case. Buttons go back to roman times too. Button-holes are less common in earlier eras than loops and toggles, but when you get down to it, there's not a lotta difference between the two anyway... and that's costuming, not crossbows. Geezer

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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by 8fingers on Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:37 am

    I plan on being at Quad war and have a lighter combat crossbow I will loan out for the war if you need. Check the Marshals handbook but I thought self cocking crossbows weren't allowed. Deicyn just runs a Corby type rivet through the trigger bar. It is a screw together rivet for knife making, looks slick. Later continental target bows had an extension / protrusion on the under side so the shooter could brace their elbow on their hip
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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by mac on Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:08 am

    Gary D wrote:
    One question, what is the best choice for a traditional tickler axle and for securing it? A rod with rivetted ends? I wouldn't think a threaded nut and bolt would be very period proper much before the 16th century at best (hell, they did come up with buttons until the 13th century, and nuts weren't really invented until the early 15th century).

    Gary,

    I use pins made of iron rod, press fitted into the tiller. Make the hole in the trigger a "running fit" and the hole in the wood just a bit undersized. Cut the rod to be about the width of the tiller. Round off the corners of both ends of the rod. Tap it into place with a mallet. When you need to drive the pin out to service the weapon, you use a pin punch slightly smaller than the pin.

    As far as I can tell, this is the most common authentic method.

    Mac

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    Re: SCA combat crosbow build

    Post by 8fingers on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:03 pm

    In fire arms they use slightly tapered pins and there is a convention on which side they were driven in from.Sorry I don't remember which side is which.

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