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    Medieval Metal Stuff - bolts, rivets, etc.

    Crossbow Junkie

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    Medieval Metal Stuff - bolts, rivets, etc.

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:28 am

    Hi, everyone.

    My continued thoughts into truly medieval construction techniques and materials has me now pondering screws and bolts. We tend to be pretty liberal in our use of screws and threaded rods in constructing medieval replicas and medieval-style replica crossbows, for lock plates, for bolt clips, and for lock and trigger components.

    My understanding is that the screw is a very ancient invention, but wasn’t much used up until the 18th century as a fastener (wine presses, for one thing), when machinery was developed that cut uniform screw threads that made them economically possible and abundant. And my reading on medieval and all the way back to Roman and Greek siege machinery and artillery shows that metal fasteners tended to be rivets for facing wooden components with iron plating, and other reinforcing in key areas of high stress.

    That seems to be true of the earlier crossbows, as well, such as the riveted reinforcement just behind the prod socket. But, did they ever use screws, and if so, were they all hand forged and cut by the bow makers? I have noticed that nails were used in some instances, such as for fastening down bone or ivory facings.

    Maybe Mac or Geezer may have some thoughts about hardware in general, and how it was crafted and used. Thanks in advance for any insights or thoughts into the Medieval Home Depot 

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    Re: Medieval Metal Stuff - bolts, rivets, etc.

    Post by Geezer on Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:35 pm

    Geezer here, concerning screws and rivets. Though bolts and screws do indeed go way-back, most of the medieval/renaissance crossbows I have seen were fastened almost exclusively with rivets. You do see some bolt-clips that fasten with screws. I use screws entirely for convenience: since I offer an open-ended guarantee on my bows, it makes very good sense to fasten all the bits so I can easily disassemble and repair stuff. But in fact, the reinforcing rod just behind the prod-socket is a rivet. The pins that hold lock-plates on are normally rivets. Trigger-pivot pins likewise... every bloody thing on medieval crossbows is riveted in place, 'cause it's strong and cheap.
    In fact, I had a long chat with my apprentice, Lightly, about going to smooth steel rod for trigger pins rather than the machine-screws I have used heretofore. Now that all my steel lockplates are inlet and cover the trigger-bolt, there's no real need to screw them in anyhow. Progress inches along at NWA!
    So yeah, if you want it done in period-style, use rivets. Darnit! Geezer
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    Re: Medieval Metal Stuff - bolts, rivets, etc.

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:58 pm

    I thought so, just based on the really wonderful Crossbows in the Royal Netherlands Army Museum, a book I have found has a wealth of information, plus some indepth study of Roman technolgies and artillary. I wish there were more medieval and Renn. period crossbows, but lovely photos and data.

    I've done a lot of riveting using copper rivets for Roman war machines, but not steel rivits. Those would be hot formed? I think I have another learning curve to climb Smile Which is one of the great attractions of this crossbow making stuff.

    Thanks for the answer, sir.


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    Re: Medieval Metal Stuff - bolts, rivets, etc.

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