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    Progressing well...and need help!

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    stoneagebowyer
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    Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:44 pm

    Hi, everyone. Last time I posted was in January or so, a German style crossbow.
    That is coming along very nicely. Later, I will post more info, but for now, just a few photos.
    Which brings me to a big question. I need to string my prod so I can serve the bow string, then remove the string, then re-string her once I bind the bow on the tiller. At #175, I am pulling my hair out trying to figure out how one does this. I made a kind of Rube Goldberg contraption from a discarded catapult stand central column, and though it seems to work well, I can only bring the bow about 1" to brace.
    I have been thinking of a kind of press using hardwood and traditional jointry, two pulleys, and a ratchet and pawl taken from an old weaving loom. The ideas I to mount one pulley on the bottom cross piece, one on the upper cross piece, and have a third cross piece with a bracket I can place the unmounted prod on, sort of like a bow making tillering tree. Then I can also use the press to string the crossbow whenever I need to change a string, etc.
    Does that kind of make sense?
    Thanks,
    Dane
    PS I have to relearn to post photos better! Sorry if it is in the wrong place in this post.
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    Basilisk120
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:19 pm

    The crossbow is looking good. Really coming along.
    I kind of followed this: http://crossbow.wikia.com/wiki/Making_simple_endless_loop_strings on how to make crossbow strings. Where I am going with this is it may be easier to put server the sting on a jig than on the prod. When I made my last string I used to small c-clamps to for the posts to mount the string on and served it there.

    As to to a bow press: http://thearbalistguild.forumotion.com/t373-crossbow-press-mk-2#3102 This is one I made and worked on a 150# crossbow.


    I do like your idea. I would think that it might be nice to have a hand winch with a ratchet mechanism to keep it from unwinding at an inopportune time.



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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by 8fingers on Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:27 pm

    How about visiting your local archery shop? They will probably have a bow press that you can copy or can do it for $10.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agLGJxt8HDA
    I've seen a couple plans where they use rollers from a boat trailer to cushion the bow.
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:19 pm

    Thanks 8Fingers I finally figured out how to do the manual unstring method using my foot. But it only would work on my lighter crossbow that had a 80-90 lb aluminum prod. The other crossbow with the 150 lb steel prod that took too much effort. Could quite get it too work, if I had to and had an extra hand yeah I could.



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    stoneagebowyer
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:40 am

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. This community is so great for that. I like that press you built, Basilisk120. I had come up with my ideas before even seeing your machine. One thing I think is really important in this design I am developing is that it should work with crossbows with stirrups and without stirrups, such as the Roman arcuballista and the Greek gastrophetes, both weapons I am keenly interested in interpreting and building.



    I did an online search and glanced at some steel bow presses used with wheelie bows, but am not sure if anything along those lines can be borrowed for crossbows. Since I have never dealt with Borg bows or modern crossbows, I may be wrong. Most compound archers, I think, don’t even own a press, only dealers. Considering how much they cost, I can see why. No way I can go visit the local archery dealer that has a press, as the only one around here went out of business about a year ago.



    I’ll work up a drawing in Google SketchUp in the next few days and post my ideas here. SketchUp is a great 2D drawing program for those of us severely CAD challenged Smile It has been an invaluable tool when I was designing a 2-span Roman scorpio and the tiny hand-held Xanten catapult, as well as for furniture design.



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    basileus
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by basileus on Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:21 am

    stoneagebowyer wrote:One thing I think is really important in this design I am developing is that it should work with crossbows with stirrups and without stirrups, such as the Roman arcuballista and the Greek gastrophetes, both weapons I am keenly interested in interpreting and building.

    ...

    It has been an invaluable tool when I was designing a 2-span Roman scorpio and the tiny hand-held Xanten catapult, as well as for furniture design.

    Dane

    Hi Dane,

    Nice to meet a fellow ballista enthusiast! Have you taken a look at the Greek and Roman artillery wiki? I'm sure you'd have lots to contribute there. My cheiroballistra reconstruction is in the works and will be finished this summer (with nylon springs). As nylon springs are useless if one needs to know the potential of ancient machines, I'm going start making of _lots_ of sinew rope from reindeer and moose tendons. Can't say I'm looking forward to it Smile.

    Yesterday I also started translating the "Cheiroballistra" text from koine Greek so that there's
    at least one modern, freely available (CC-licensed) translation
    available.

    Basileus
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:02 pm

    Hi, Basileus. I didnt know about the wiki, but will check it out soon. Always nice to run into someone with our particular...affliction Smile
    I'm at the point with both machines where I need to make the washers and counterplates, and the trigger parts. It all stopped there, lol. Actually, I need to get back to them and get them finished. Like you, I really want to make springs out of actual sinew, and about the only plan I have is to make friends with slaughter houses and harvest the stuff myself. Rubber boots and a strong stomach will be required.
    For my little 1.25" hand held machine, I estimate it will take at least 150 feet of rope. That is a LOT of sinew. The next closest classical material would be horsehair rope, which Vitruvius and Heron et al do suggest if sinew isn't available. I just need to build a rope jack and get to work making all that rope.
    It will be nice to have a translation that is not Wilkins or Marsden! I look forward to your efforts.
    Later, I'll have to post some pictures of my machines, and hope that they are related enough to crossbows (well, not exactly, but they do hurl sharp pointy things), as do crossbows.
    Dane
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by basileus on Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:14 am

    stoneagebowyer wrote:Hi, Basileus. I didnt know about the wiki, but will check it out soon. Always nice to run into someone with our particular...affliction Smile
    I'm at the point with both machines where I need to make the washers and counterplates, and the trigger parts. It all stopped there, lol. Actually, I need to get back to them and get them finished. Like you, I really want to make springs out of actual sinew, and about the only plan I have is to make friends with slaughter houses and harvest the stuff myself.

    I have the same plan. I'm probably trying to make contacts with hunting societies and slaughter houses before our hunting season, which is in September-November I think. I'm going to try moose and reindeer Achilles tendons (they're pretty long) and backstrap sinew. I'm hoping leg tendons work ok, because they'd make life much simpler as they're basically waste. Possibly the best bet is to visit Lapland in late autumn when tens of thousands of reindeers are butchered in large facilities. Most of them are young, but about 10-20% are adults and have tendons suitable for sinew rope.


    Rubber boots and a strong stomach will be required.
    For my little 1.25" hand held machine, I estimate it will take at least 150 feet of rope. That is a LOT of sinew. The next closest classical material would be horsehair rope, which Vitruvius and Heron et al do suggest if sinew isn't available. I just need to build a rope jack and get to work making all that rope.

    Yep. Making the rope is going to be a very tedious task. But I need to do this properly, as I have scientific interest in the Cheiroballistra. Most scholars have stopped short and settled with speculation and nylon springs.


    It will be nice to have a translation that is not Wilkins or Marsden! I look forward to your efforts.

    Fortunately I took two classical greek courses at the University just for this purpose, lol Smile. Translation is going to take a while: classical Greek is not an especially easy language.


    Later, I'll have to post some pictures of my machines, and hope that they are related enough to crossbows (well, not exactly, but they do hurl sharp pointy things), as do crossbows.
    Dane

    Ivo: perhaps we could have a separate forum board for ballistas? It'd be nice to be able to discuss these things with fellow builders. Granted, there's the RomanArmyTalk forum board, but any time you mention "inswinger" there, a flamewar is started by Alan Wilkins proponents. As the late-Roman ballistas (incl. cheiroballistra) were with 99,9% certainty inswingers (see the ballista Wiki), it's next to impossible to have an intelligent discussion there without background noise. I feel this forum is not as tied to religious issues such as the inswinger vs. outswinger "controversy".

    Ok, rant over, Basileus out Smile.
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by JMC on Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:45 am

    Hi
    here is a link where there is news on a maubalista :
    http://www.webarcherie.com/forum/index.php/topic/27266-manubaliste-de-xanten/
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by basileus on Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:12 pm

    Very professional-looking Xanten-style manuballista! Just got started with my cheiroballistra translation. With this pace will take a few months to get it translated Smile.
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:53 am

    Hi, Basilius. Great minds think alike I guess regarding the harvesting of large amounts of sinew. If I sourced mine from commercial beef slaughter houses, the legs are just thrown out, so I imagine it would not be that expensive a proposition. And, as you clearly know, there has not been one reconstructed machine built to this day with actual sinew springs. I think Schramm did build at least one of his machines using horse hair, which is at least a better material than sinew, but not even Schramm managed to do the job with sinew.
    If we did have a catapult sub category, that would be great. I hope that happens. And yes, there is a very big divide in the out vs. in-swinger crowds. Uggg. A friend of mine who is reconstructing the Cupid Gem machine is convinced that even the earlier stone throwing ballistas were in swingers. Hatra had to be that configuration, but the Wilkins crowd is convinced otherwise lol.
    I will start a new thread with my crossbow press idea, see what you guy think.
    Dane
    PS JMC, nice link. A bit odd seeing a earlier Roman with a later machine, but nicely fabricated, as is the Xanten machine. It does have that pesky MG42-style horizontal piece on the end of the case, but that is a direct result of Wilkins and his dead friend Marsden's work. These were almost certainly belly cockers (IMHO), so the verticle pieces makes little sense to me.
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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by basileus on Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:20 am

    stoneagebowyer wrote:Hi, Basilius. Great minds think alike I guess regarding the harvesting of large amounts of sinew. If I sourced mine from commercial beef slaughter houses, the legs are just thrown out, so I imagine it would not be that expensive a proposition. And, as you clearly know, there has not been one reconstructed machine built to this day with actual sinew springs. I think Schramm did build at least one of his machines using horse hair, which is at least a better material than sinew, but not even Schramm managed to do the job with sinew.

    Actually, I believe Digby Stevenson has used sinew for (cheiro)ballistra springs, or that's what Wilkins says in one of his articles (1995 or 2000). This Stevenson guy wrote his BA dissertation on cheiroballistra and included a chapter/appendix on manufacturing sinew rope. This appendix was later converted into an article which was published in "Journal of Society of Archer-Antiquaries". Apparently Stevenson's cheiroballistra had a range of 300 meters, which is a good result, but nothing spectacular. It was constructed as an outswinger, though. Stevenson used backstrap sinews from cattle, probably because Achilles tendons from cattle were too short.


    If we did have a catapult sub category, that would be great. I hope that happens. And yes, there is a very big divide in the out vs. in-swinger crowds. Uggg. A friend of mine who is reconstructing the Cupid Gem machine is convinced that even the earlier stone throwing ballistas were in swingers. Hatra had to be that configuration, but the Wilkins crowd is convinced otherwise lol.

    You're probably interested in these to Wiki pages, too:



    All of Wilkins' "Cheiroballistra was winched, outswinging weapon" arguments are proven wrong there - as far as anything can really be proved...

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    Re: Progressing well...and need help!

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:56 am

    I read your links yesterday, and found it all great information. I wasn't aware of a Stevenson at all, so thanks. I like how Wilkins theories and practices are dispatched nicely, as well. There is so much wrong going on with his work and his ideas. Just take a look at how he justifies his reasons for extending the battle plate on one particular catapulta he "recreated", even assigning new information to the inscription to justify extending the height of the spring frame.

    My entire perspective in recreating these machines is to try and find out what kind of performance they would have actually afforded the Romans, not how to hot-rod them by extending arm length, enlarging spring bundles, and so on.

    Dane

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