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    Questions on my next project

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    Wilhelm
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    Questions on my next project

    Post by Wilhelm on Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:45 pm

    I've been reading up on the different approaches people on the forum are taking to address issues coming up in my next build. Instead of hijacking someone else's thread, I thought I'd just give the details of my own proposed project and see if anyone has any advice or experience that might apply to the decisions I'm trying to make before putting blade to wood.

    I'm planning on making a Central European sporting bow loosely based on some photos of period pieces I found particularly pleasing. I have a steel prod on the way from Alchem that should be slightly north of 200# at an 8" powerstroke. I'm planning a walnut body with a light top, Micarta if I can make it work and walnut if Micarta is too difficult/expensive. The nut will be from Alchem as well - one of the 1.5" plastic rods cut to 1". Does anyone have advice on any of the following?

    1. I'd really like to do a Micarta top veneer, but I'm having a hard time finding any solid info on how feasible this is. Geezer has mentioned in past posts that gluing is a serious issue, and if it is, I would just as soon forego looks and performance improvements to just go with maple. Can anyone chime in on just how difficult these veneers are, good source materials, costs?

    2. I'm trying to decide how to create a nice, strong nut socket to withstand the heavy weight of the prod I ordered. Right now, I expect that I will inlet a separate nut socket from the top. How have people approached this? I was thinking of marking the rectangle with a carpenter's pencil, using a drill press to clear as much material as possible down to a carefully marked depth (using a little tape on the bit to mark depth), and then cleaning it up with a very sharp chisel. I've never done anything like this before, so I'm a tad nervous. Ideally, I'd like to be able to remove the nut to replace it after wear and the like, so I thought about making the detachable socket loose enough to remove and lightly screwing it in with some brass wood screws. Any wise words?

    3. Will a 200-ish# prod need socket reinforcement? I have seen the sockets others have made using rectangles of bone glued into a wooden socket, but I have no source of bone. I was wondering if I could use a hard plastic of similar color effectively, or whether this will cause friction with the plastic used in the nut socket. What materials (with reasonably authentic appearance) have others used with success?

    4. Does anyone have experience with using a rest vs. a groove? For authenticity, I'd love to use a rest, but I don't want to risk performance too much. "Iolo's First Book of Crossbows" suggests a minor dichotomy between accuracy/power from rests and reliability from grooves. Can anyone comment on this? Will it suffice to have a flat top with a very low rest, or do I actually have to slope the table down slightly between the nut and the rest?

    Thank you for whatever advice you might have - please feel free to respond to any part of my question that you can answer. I'm really excited about this first "authentic" project, and I want to do it right by asking first and carving into wood later.
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    Todd the archer
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Todd the archer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:58 pm

    Well here is my version. It is close to what you are going to build:

    It has a 205 pound prod from Alchem. Also the nut and tickler are from Alchem as well. I didn't use Micarta or anything else on the top deck, I wanted to keep it simple.

    I built it with a plain socket bored from the side, works fine. If you make a "drop in" socket you can still replace the roller nut with out taking the socket insert out. Really it is not a problem.

    200 pound prod in a wood socket seems to be working for me. I suppose you could use plastic but I have no experience with that.

    I made mine with a groove instead of using a rest. The reason being it aligns the bolt center better with the string.

    Any other questions just ask, Todd

    Wilhelm
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Wilhelm on Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:20 pm

    Todd,

    That's one nice bow you've got. I was admiring it when planning my own German bow, and I hope the end product turns out as well as yours. How did you cut the area of the stock where the trigger engages the nut? I was going to use a split stock, but it looks like you used one solid piece of walnut. Was it just a matter of patience and a sharp chisel?

    Thanks for the advice!
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    Geezer
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Geezer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:18 pm

    In answer to Wilhelm's questions.
    First: I glue micarta with a urethane-type glue... usually 'gorilla glue'. That's the only glue I have found that does a decent job of glueing Micarta, and then ONLY if I roughen the surface to be glued. If left slick from the manufacturer, it still doesn't stick.
    Second: I get Micarta from an online supplier of billiard supplies. They're substantially cheaper than the knife-makers supply.
    Third: The bone socket is stronger than a self-wood socket. Wood should do the trick, but I prefer to use bone reinforcement blocks over @ 125 lb. You can get cow-bones from pet supply stores, but there's an excellent supplier of bone/horn,etc. in Moscow Idaho. They have an online store. For roller-locks and reinforces, I prefer moose-horn stems.
    The system you suggest for cutting the mortise should work... if you've never done it before, it will take a while... just keep whittling away till it comes out square. I use a mortise-cutting machine to do mortised locks. It works faster, but not necessarily better.
    Groove vs. Rest. I don't think there's much to choose there. A flat table with a small rest, set in a dovetail is a very common solution for 16th century German bows. Theoretically they'll have a little less friction, but be sure to set your rest as far forward as possible, otherwise, the motion of the string will send the rest flying down range. What fun!
    Geezer
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    Todd the archer
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Todd the archer on Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:43 am

    Hi Wilhelm, Yes the tickler passage was done with drill to start and then with a small chisel and other carving tools to finish up. A very tedious job but turned out well. However on more recent ones I mortised a slot from the bottom and then glue in a filler piece of wood to leave a small openning for the tickler.

    Also I saw you were asking how the nut is installed after the socket was finished. The notch in the nut for the string gives you enough clearance to insert the nut from above. Simply start with the rear part of the nut and drop that end into the socket and rotate it and it goes right in. In fact you need to either pin the sides or run a string through it so it doesn't come out.

    Todd

    Wilhelm
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Wilhelm on Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:45 am

    Geezer,

    Thanks for responding with some great advice. I will look into cow bone for reinforcement on the nut socket, as that sounds pretty affordable and readily available and moose horn stems seem to be a bit outside my budget. I imagine you just work them with a bandsaw to get blocks of the appropriate dimensions/squareness, right? Is there a particular type of bone or part of the bone that works well for this function?

    I've had some difficulty finding Micarta. Ace's Billiard Supply sells an ivory-colored sheet, but I can't seem to find a white sheet that suits my project needs. Any chance you could steer me in the right direction?

    Todd,

    Now that you mention the method of inserting the nut into the socket by using the notch, it makes perfect sense. Without the actual object in front of me, that would never have occurred to me on my own and would have caused lots of frustration. Thanks for the pointer!

    Much appreciation for all of your help, folks,

    Wilhelm
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    Basilisk120
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:30 am

    Just wanted to throw the little bit I know about working with bone:
    Wear a mask or resperator but that is usually always good advice. Couldn't find any hard proof but bone dust isn't healthy to breathe in. Basically it falls into the breathing in small hard partical catigory like metal grinding dust. Oh yeah and it could have pathogens in it, granted not likely in bleached, dry pet store bones.



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    Wilhelm
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Wilhelm on Mon Jul 25, 2011 2:37 pm

    Does anyone know a good source for Micarta? I've checked out Ace Billiards supply, but they only have a sort of yellowed type for sale. I'd like something white to look more authentic. There are so many varieties and grades out there on Amazon, professional manufacturers, etc. that I don't really know where to start.
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    Geezer
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Geezer on Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:46 pm

    Wilhelm: the only way to truly replicate the color-variation and subtle grain of bone is to use bone. Whatever the case, bone is seldom truly white, or at least it doesn't stay that way. Get the ivory/cream colored Micarta from the billiard supply... about 1/8 in thick will be about right and it will look great.
    Geezer

    Wilhelm
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Wilhelm on Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:14 am

    Thanks, Geezer. I'll go for the ivory, since bone is probably still outside of my skill set. I hope one day I will have the money to own a piece of work like what I have seen out of your shop with bone, because it sure is beautiful.

    Wilhelm
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    Re: Questions on my next project

    Post by Wilhelm on Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:40 am

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    Michael
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    Next project (wilhelm)

    Post by Michael on Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:00 am

    Wilhelm on your next build why don't you go with a steel nut. When a person is going into the higher range of draw wts for his crossbow just for the safety factor I would go with steel. SO have fun. Mike

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