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    Primitive Crossbow

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    SoBored
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    Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:34 am

    So to get my feet wet I decided to try a simple notch lock crossbow. Primitive style, wooden prod, wooden tickler. I eventually would like to make a a steel prod, rolling lock bow but no sense rushing in.

    I glued up 2 1x3 x 29" poplar boards I got from home depot and let them dry in the sun. Right off the bat things didn't go perfect as the board started drying in the sun and the edges cupped away from the glue joint leaving a gap down middle of the stock. Oh well, next time I will clamp the pieces in between boards wider than what I'm gluing. I did a few cuts on the old band saw and they went well, not pushing the piece really helped and these were some of the straightest cuts I've done yet, (I'm self taught and new to the band saw).

    Anyway, not much progress but this is a pretty busy weekend. So far the stock is 1.5" wide, 29" long and 2.5" deep at the fattest.


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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Ivo on Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:33 am

    It's a start. Keep going. Smile

    You mentioned you will be doing a wooden prod. What wood are you planning on using for the prod and to what dimensions will you be making it? any experience in tillering?

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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:12 am

    I was thinking of using a red oak 1.5" wide by about 30" long prod. I have tillered a few bows and while I haven't had much luck with red oak, (too strong in tension maybe?), I think the short draw length will go a long way to helping. I'm planning on a sewn on leather wrap on the prod anyway. If that fails I have some white ash cut that has too much propeller twist to be used for longbows.

    I have some lilac, (it's VERY dense!), to reinforce the area around the notch lock.

    I have a good feeling with this, I just happened to find my chisels and my gouge on the weekend so I think this project was meant to be.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by mac on Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:00 pm

    SoBored,

    I've had good luck making crossbow prods on hickory.

    Mac
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:28 am

    Hi Mac,

    Hickory would be a great choice but it's hard to find up here. Red oak and sugar maple are easy to buy or I could self cut some ash easily enough. If I was going for higher poundage I would try to find a piece of Ironwood (HopHornbeam), on my uncles property.

    Some progress last night but not enough to post new pictures.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Ivo on Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:45 pm

    I really liked maple...great to work with and though I didn't succeed, it did look very promising. Perhaps in the right hands it will.
    Red oak on the other hand seemed...a little *rubbery* scratch...and had a lot of set (but again, it might as well have been my crappy tillering )

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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Geezer on Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:53 am

    If the idea isn't too-too radical, how about seeking out one of the great bow-woods, like Yew, Bois d' Arc (there's a hint in that name) or asian mulberry?
    Hickory, as already mentioned, is also a good bow wood.
    And yes, you might actually have to PAY for the good stuff, but limiting your project by what you can get at home-depot will result in pretty mediocre stuff.
    Just thinkin' out loud. Geezer.

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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by 8fingers on Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:01 am

    If you are desperate, look for hickory pick ax handles. Canadian Wood working magazines have ads for wood suppliers or try Windsor Plywood out of Thunder Bay. They (the chain)have a good selection of woods suitable for bow making. Traditional Bowyers Bible has long lists of woods suitable for bows.
    I am going looking for some walnut tomorrow. Plan is to cut it into laminating strips and mix with some white woods and make a 36-38" prod about 115#
    Try laminating some maple and oak together, maple as the core or backing the oak with something. The length of the prod got me to thinking that it would be a great place for a used silk tie or one I didn't like.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by mac on Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:24 am

    I have seen (ash) wheel barrow handles that looked pretty promising. If you have an old style hardware store, rather than a Home Despot, you might find something good in replacement handles.

    Mac
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Regerald on Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:08 am

    Man talks about a primitive crossbow, and folks advice to make a laminated prod Smile

    I would say ash is a perfect wood for a prod. Of cause only in case that it has dried properly, and proper drying takes a lot of time. Actually, many woods are good. Last time I tried swedish whitebeam, and it worked well Smile
    I also would advice to make wooden prod longer, then it's easier to achieve a good arrow speed. I've made sufficient wooden prods with length about 35 - 40 inches..
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by mac on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:03 am

    Regerald,

    Let's be fair here....Three out of four of us recommended woods for self bows. 8Fingers is the only one talking about laminating.

    Mac
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:12 pm

    Wow, this is a great forum, lots of people wanting to help. Thanks folks!

    Yes, osage, hickory or yew would be better woods than ash or red oak. I'm gonna stick with my original plan which was just to get a quick cheap one squeezed out before getting some really nice materials for #2. I'm enjoying it and taking a lot of pride of the workmanship I'm getting into this one.

    Here it is as of last night.


    I was basing it loosely on this one I saw over a year ago;
    http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/reply/124625/t/Re-A-Simple-Crossbow.html#.TpyW55ua9tk

    After checking over that one I realized they used a 39" prod so I will definitely make mine at least 36" They were able to hit 126 pounds with that red oak prod so if I get two thirds that, I'll be happy.

    Decided to use bone for the leading edge of the notch as I think it will look nicer. Still have to settle on a push pin design but a coil return spring would be nice.

    Thanks again for the interest guys, more later!

    Tim
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:24 pm

    Got the tickler worked out tonight.



    I'm going to bind it with hemp cord in the notch on the tickler and the hole in the tiller.



    Chiselled out the notch and was going to cut some bone to epoxy in there. I couldn't find the bone so I went onto the prod.

    This prod I started about a year ago. It has nice straight grain, heavy latewood growth and is about 39" long.




    I started rough tillering it and it still barely flexes with I try to bend it on my shin. This may take a while. When making red oak bows I think I rush them into brace and then there are belly stresses from the back outworking the belly. I'm going to try to avoid this. I am thinking of saving this prod for a better crossbow. I have a nice white ash bow about 62" I had roughed out that might become this crossbow's prod. It's cut from a sapling and the outer ring is the back so I have a lot more confidence that I can get it to work than this red oak one.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Basilisk120 on Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:43 pm

    Its looking good, Keep up the good work



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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by 8fingers on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:03 pm

    That grain really needs to be backed with something. I suggest rawhide because it will pull the string follow out of the bow when you take the tension off.
    Composite crossbows came back from the crusades, showing up in England in the late 1100s.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Regerald on Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:49 am

    mac wrote:Regerald,

    Let's be fair here....Three out of four of us recommended woods for self bows. 8Fingers is the only one talking about laminating.
    Yes, yes. I wasn't really serious Smile
    SoBored, progress is looking very nice, keep going.


    Last edited by Regerald on Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : tags)
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:05 pm

    So I went to two different pet stores looking for bone. They used to sell dog bones that where nice and clean and white for a couple of dollars but no one seems to sell them anymore. Somewhere hidden in my basement are a few pieces I was thinking of using for knife handles but who know's when I'll come across them. The pet stores had 5" long pieces of elk horn for $17.99 Shocked I think I'll keep that in mind but pass on it for now.

    I then popped into a surplus store and they had blocks of Delrin! cheers Anyway, I bought a block of white and a block of black for $5 a piece. I think I can get about 4 roller nuts each out of them and have some scraps.

    My question is, do you think I should I use delrin for the front of my notch? And if so, will normal epoxy bond it?

    Thanks.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:33 pm

    Okay, so I'm gonna pass on the delrin notch reinforce as it would probably be overkill. I'll go with some red oak. I rough shaped the red oak piece and fit it with a good dose of Titebond III.



    I worked on the pin mechanism. It's a stainless steel carriage bolt modified to be more round head. I chucked it into the drill press and hit it with the metal file, then I cut off the threaded part and rounded the edges. I countersunk a flat bottom hole (5/16"?) up the bottom of the push pin hole to fit the return spring. I countersunk the bolt head into the tickler a little.




    Other than that I roughed in some pin nocks on the ash sapling prod I'm working on and took a few strokes off each limb with the spokeshave and a sureform file. It's still hard to bend even a little over my knee so it is nowhere near ready to brace. This is going to take some time.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Todd the archer on Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:00 pm

    Looks like you are making good progress!



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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by jake-owa on Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:11 pm

    SoBored wrote:

    My question is, do you think I should I use delrin for the front of my notch? And if so, will normal epoxy bond it?

    Thanks.
    yes, I would reinforce it with something, more for your string than the oak. I use ebony and ea-40 bowyer's epoxy. The ebony polishes up really nice making the trigger lighter and saving a lot of string wear which is HUGELY important for this style of release. If you stick with the red oak bearing surface consider fiberglass resin or good epoxy (not that crap you get at the grocery store that mixes in the tube) for a coating over the carefully shaped surface to smooth it out. It really helps.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:50 am

    @ Todd - Thanks, I'd like to make more progress but I'm trying to keep my tinkering to around a half hour a night.

    @ jake-owa - Thanks for the tip. At this point I think I'll round the oak out nice and finish it with brushed on crazy glue. I will likely serve the string centre with some monofilament fishing line as a precaution. Really though, I wish I had found a nice piece of bone for the reinforce. I had better find another source of bone, I should learn how to boil butcher bones.
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Todd the archer on Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:26 pm

    Instead of bone use could use corian, I use a piece from a sample I got at home depot.

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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by SoBored on Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:04 pm

    I am tillering my ash prod and had a little hickup. My tillering tree let loose at the bottom and I gave myself a nice 90 pound punch in the chest with my bow scale. I need to either redo my tillering tree or fasten the bottom to my basement floor so I can continue. Tillering is slow, I've been taking passes off the prod with my stanley sureform and spokeshave and the limb tips are only moving about 2 inches @ 90 pounds.

    The stock needs about a half hour with my power sander before final sanding and then some stain. I've been sick as a dog and not getting much time to work on this but wanted to post so you don't think I've abandoned this.

    Hope everyone's doing better than me. Smile
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    Re: Primitive Crossbow

    Post by Todd the archer on Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:20 pm

    Yeah, you have to be careful not to get hurt. Hope you are feeling better. These things take time. After all, you want something to last longer than the time it took to build it.



    Eager to see it when you are finished.



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