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    It looked like fun

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    Archeress
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    It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:08 pm

    First of all, congrats on a very cool forum all of you regulars who post here. I've been peeking in here and there, and I've seen a lot of talented crossbowyers already. I'm a longbow archer. I shoot both English longbows, and modern fiberglass-wood laminate longbows in competitions - mostly field archery. I love traditional archery. I guess it's the archaeologist in me, but I just love old bows, but I can't manage to drum up an interest in modern compound bows. I think a lot of folks in my shoes also tend not to be that into crossbows, but I had a really interesting field archery shoot last year that made me look at crossbows in a whole new light.

    In field archery, you're required to have a minimum of three shooters in a group to record a score and make it count (to prevent cheating). I was the only person (let alone the only girl) shooting a trad bow, and there was one girl in the unlimited division, and there was this old guy with a crossbow. Well, we were all stuck in a group, as the odd ducks of the shoot, and so I got to watch this guy shoot his Ausbow target crossbow for 28 targets at various distances, and I just loved it. The way he operated it, it just made me think of a medieval crossbowman at work. And the arc of the bolt through the sky wasn't any different from that of a recurve arrow (the NFAA crossbows are limited to 95 pound prods). And he couldn't have a scope, so he was using what amounted to iron sights on the thing. It just looked like fun!

    I'm interested, at some point, in getting into using a crossbow in target archery. However, I'm a bit perverse when it comes to the way I do archery. I like shooting old English longbows, or old Howard Hill style longbows, and so I think my dream crossbow would be one styled after a 16th century German sporting bow, but decked out with sights and things - not modern sights, but maybe adjustable medieval-looking sights. Something like that. Either that, or just shoot it barebow. I think a medieval-esque target crossbow would be a heck of a lot of fun to play with in NFAA and IBO tournaments. I know about New World Arbalest already, but if anybody has any recommendations as to where to come by a killer medieval crossbow with a 95 pound prod and possible sight mountings, I'd love to hear about it.

    Otherwise, I've come on here to soak up crossbow information for when I finally take the plunge and am able to divert funds away from shiny new longbows.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Todd the archer on Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:08 am

    Welcome Archeress. I think you will find that there are a number of us that came from a traditional archery backround, myself included.

    What kind of crossbow are you imagining? Something with a shoulder stock or the shorter more clasical style?

    The more you study crossbows you will find that there is no "standard" design, in fact you will see quite a bit of variation even within a particular type just as in regular traditional archery.

    Perhaps you can find a picture online of what you are looking for and maybe we can give our input.

    Todd

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:47 am

    Hi, Archeress, and welcome from me as well. I too come from a tradtional background, with Mesolithic and Neolithic bows being my favorite kind (the avitar I use is a Sarnate Neolithic bow replica I built out of hophornbeam). Crossbows are indeed addicting and a lot of fun, and I'm sure you will get a lot of advice here. I vastly prefere medieval and rennaisance designs, and you can get really good accuracy with no sights after some practice. That is one of the hallmarks of a crossbow, in that you can learn to shoot very well relatively quickly, and much more so than with a hand bow. I consider the great English longbow historically as field artillary, whereas the crossbow was the sniper rifle of the period.

    Perhaps you will even want to design and build a crossbow one day. You will get tons of advice and guidance from the members of this forum, which is populated with some awesome and very generous, sharing folks. If you just want to locate a crossbow to purchase, I'm sure you will get good advice there, too.

    I just finished a Spanish style crossbow, which I do plan to use in 3D competitions this coming year. I do know what you mean about being considered the odd duck in competitions with all those compound bows. You get a lot of strange looks and sometimes snide comments, but generally folks are open to seeing traditional gear at events. And results are always the best proof of how effective the crossbow is and always was.

    Dane

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:21 am

    Thanks for the welcome guys.

    Stoneage - I think it's awesome that you're working in the period of the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition. That's also my favorite archery period as well. I'm a paleoanthropology student and my work centers on the origins of projectile weapons and also the origins of warfare in prehistory, and so naturally that period is a great place to look for the development of archery and warfare - particularly in an African context with sites like Cemetery 117, but also in European sites as well. So, if you have a gallery of your work, I would love to see it. Or if you have copies of any scholarly papers describing the finds which inspire you, I'd love to see those too. I've really been wanting to get some mesolithic/neolithic kit together for me to shoot with, but I don't have anything yet. I was thinking of starting with a mollegabet as I found an idiot-proof tutorial on youtube showing how to make one, and I've got this silly notion that I'm competent enough to do it. I'm not actually very good at making bows though, I've had almost no practice at it, as I've been too devoted to getting good at shooting. That's where my passion really is more than being a bowyer. So, if you happen to sell any mesolithic/neolithic style bows, I may have to contact you in the future.

    I do have to disagree with you about the longbow being artillery though. Everything I've looked at from the period suggests that it was more like an assault rifle. A lot of the big longbow victories were won with the bow being shot at ranges closer than 100 yards (Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt), from what the chronicles seem to be saying. And I think that makes a lot of sense, as the bow works much better as a direct-fire weapon than an indirect-fire weapon. At distances of 100 yards and closer, a decent archer can pick out man-sized targets to shoot at, making him a pretty lethal warrior.

    Well, Todd, I think my dream crossbow looks something like these:







    Obviously, there are a lot of variations on this theme historically, but I just love the look of those old German sporting/hunting bows - or of ebony and ivory/bone mixed together in the same format. They just make such incredibly gorgeous bows, and they seem to have all the right proportions. For target archery, I think I would want to go with a trigger instead of a tickler though, using the tickler as a decorative trigger-guard instead. Would probably give me a smoother shot, I would think - though maybe not, I've never shot the tickler either. I'd need the prod to be 95 pounds or less, and I may want sights, because I'll have to shoot out to ranges of 80 yards, and I'd need to get near the spot. But yeah, that's pretty much what I'm interested in.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by mac on Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:02 am

    Archeress,

    The first bow is one I have not seen before. What collection is it in?

    Mac

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by ferdinand on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:01 am

    Hy Archeress!!

    Those bows are really beautifull! From what i read u are enthousiastic enough to build a really nice bow!
    I still stumble on problems on the way but that just adds to ur skill i think.
    Just try to keep it save, the forces of a crossbow are verry serious and dangerous!
    For now i fired my first 3 shots, cant say much about string wear or mechanism wear but having build everything with basic tools and materials there is a good chance of mech failure or string break or prod failure!
    Well, enough topics here to be inspired!
    These guys are the best, really, all countrees in the world are gathered here to share experience!
    If u want to make a trigger u have lots of options, i made a medieval 4 axle trigger mech. Whas lots of fun to make but verry difficult to drill the holes in the tiller correct.
    Next time i think i will make a pre assembled mech in metal and fit it in the tiller. Now all axles are in the wood. That is tricky.
    I am now experiencing simple arrowhead forging. Great fun!
    But my dream is to make a longbow myself with fletched arrows.
    I am a tall guy(1.94meters) and want to make a huge and strong longbow with serious big arrows!
    But thats a dream for now.

    Greetings Ferdinand

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:40 am

    mac wrote:Archeress,

    The first bow is one I have not seen before. What collection is it in?

    Mac

    Hi Mac, the pic is actually from this forum. I got it from here:

    http://thearbalistguild.forumotion.com/t239-tiller-decorative-carving

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:43 am

    Hi Ferdinand,

    I'll probably commission my first crossbow rather than make it. Building things is awesome, and I'm in awe of the people who can do it well, but my knowledge of tools and woodworking is not very good, and my knowledge of metal working is even less. So, I suspect it will be a long time before I'm able to really build my own crossbow. Shooting, on the other hand, is something that I absolutely love and have a lot of experience with (guns and bows, if not crossbows). So, I think getting out there on the range with a safe crossbow made by somebody else is probably the best bet to start with. Now, if you wanted me to make an atlatl and darts, that would be another story...

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by ferdinand on Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:29 pm

    I guess u are right, for matches u should buy a professionally made crossbow! About that atlatl, interesting weapon! U say darts, but they are really big, more like spears! But i still prefer a longbow, i just love shooting one! Havent made a serious one yet, this summer i will try again!

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:31 pm

    Archeress,

    For early Mesolithic archery equipment (and much other items of everyday use), the Typrind Vig site is excellent. The site is in what is now Denmark, and dates to the Ertenbolla period. A book I highly recommed you have is called The Bow Builders Book (A Schiffer Book), it cost about 25 dollars on Amazon. There is a wealth of info on very early bows, and how to make them. Some of the finest European bowyers such as Jurgen Junkmanns all contributed chapters, and one on stone age arrow making alone is worth the price of the book. There is also a very yummy Viking period Haithabu bow that is replicated to 70 lbs in yew I plan to make, as I have some yew set aside. I will have to train myself into such a heavy bow.

    Otzi is a good source for stone age kit, clothing, etc. I've made some of his gear, and it is very practical and comfortable, if strange feeling to put on Smile

    The Molle is a very challenging design, not as easy to make as you may think. I've attempted that design three times over the years, and still have yet to produce a version I am happy with. Some of the flat and long bow designs from the Meso and Neo periods are easier to tackel. The Sarnate I built is actually super easy to tackel, so I do recommend that design. http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/15123/Neolithic-Bow-from-Sarnate-A-short-description is a link to paleoplanet, which has a wealth of info, so spend some time hanging out there.

    Speaking of atlatls, http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/52915/Deerfield-ISAC-and-stone-age-event is an annual event I host at my gun club each year. This year I am hoping to have a workshop on building a full sized stone circle.

    Regarding the artillary thing, I do agree that a trained English archer would have been very much up to the tast of hitting individual targets at long ranges. These men, just as the steppe archers and the native Americans, were raised shooting the bow. I was thinking about the massed volleys of arrows from certain key battles with the French. In that respect, the heavy bow was a superb artillary piece when used by large numbers of archers.

    Always remember the English had no warriors, but soldiers. There is a big difference between the two. Smile

    Enjoy it around here. I think you already are.

    Dane

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by kenh on Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:45 pm

    Welcome Archeress! My longbow of choice is a Mollegabet made by Rich Rousseau, of Michigan. He hangs out at Primitive Archer mostly. We jokingly call it the Viking Pony Bow as it is only 4ft tip-to-tip and draws around 40#. Since Rich gave me the VPB, I've built a couple myself, following his advice and instructions and found them fairly easy to make and tiller, even as a neophyte.

    You'll love this place. Lots of good folks here, willing to help any way they can.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:38 pm

    Dane,

    The Sarnate bow looks interesting! I spend an inordinate amount of time lurking on paleoplanet, but I've never seen that post before. I used to post there several years ago, and then lost my login information. I post there very occasionally now as "atlatlista" but I mostly just lurk and look. I'm definitely going to check out that book you recommended, and I'll see if I can dig up the pertinent archaeological journals for the various finds. Like I've said, I've never tried a molly before, but I think I can make a pretty decent one based on the youtube video series by boarrior bows. It's a very simple board bow, and he gets a nice 48#@28" mollegabet out of a red oak board. He used a little bit of fiber-tape backing, though that's optional.

    Your event looks awesome. I've never competed in ISAC before, but I'd love to try. I've been atlatl chucking for over ten years now (not that it shows in my accuracy) so I'd be happy to come and throw at targets, finances and travel arrangements permitting.

    No English warriors huh? That's a strange thing to say. Are you making a paid professional/unpaid amateur distinction there? If so, I could understand that, certainly there are plenty of muster rolls left from the period of the hundred years' war showing just how professional the longbowmen were - and how well-compensated relative to the period.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:39 pm

    kenh wrote:Welcome Archeress! My longbow of choice is a Mollegabet made by Rich Rousseau, of Michigan. He hangs out at Primitive Archer mostly. We jokingly call it the Viking Pony Bow as it is only 4ft tip-to-tip and draws around 40#. Since Rich gave me the VPB, I've built a couple myself, following his advice and instructions and found them fairly easy to make and tiller, even as a neophyte.

    You'll love this place. Lots of good folks here, willing to help any way they can.

    Hi Ken,

    Would you mind sharing any pics of this bow of which you speak? It sounds really neat.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Todd the archer on Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:56 am

    Hello Archeress, Just realized it was you over at tradtalk talking about anchor points.

    Seems like us members are all over the place on the "net". Think it is great for us to share info from different perspectives.


    Todd

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by kenh on Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:08 am

    The original Viking Pony Bow:


    My first bow build - another short Mollegabet

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Todd the archer on Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:51 am

    Hey Ken, that First picture does not look like Florida!
    Cool looking bows though thanks for sharing.

    Todd

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:38 am

    Todd the archer wrote:Hello Archeress, Just realized it was you over at tradtalk talking about anchor points.

    Seems like us members are all over the place on the "net". Think it is great for us to share info from different perspectives.


    Todd

    Yes, I love tradtalk! I've gotten some great advice from that place that is helping to kick up my scores. I really want to shoot well in the first leg of the IBO Southern Triple Crown next month, and at Indoor National and Indoor Worlds in March and April, and the stuff posted over at tradtalk is a huge help.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:39 am

    Ken,

    Your bows are gorgeous! They're like a mesolithic horsebow! Super cool to look at. I'm definitely going to try making a mollegabet now, though I'm sure the results won't be nearly that pretty.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:32 am

    My own view is informed for having served as a soldier for 9 years, the majority being in the Infantry. There is such a thing as a warrior ethos you sometimes read about, and it is instilled in today’s US Army soldier, but the main difference between a soldier vs. a warrior boils down to discipline vs. personal glory in battle, and a personal stake in the outcome of a battle (i.e. plunder or other monetary reward). Warrior societies are much different, and produce a much different fighter. Soldiers are much more selfless, and generally serve a higher purpose of nation or empire, vs. a warrior who serves himself, his tribe, or his warlord. Examples off the top of head are the steppe warriors who swept into early medieval Europe, or the Celts and Germanic tribes that found themselves facing Rome, or many of the foes that faced the British Empire in the 19th century. Roman soldiers, often far outnumbered by their enemies, nearly always ended victorious (with exceptions, of course). The Zulus who faced the British soldiers at Roark’s Drift (spelling) faced a similar fate.

    Warriors were individuals fighting for individual goals, vs. soldiers who fought for a different set of reasons – crown in the case of medieval England during the heyday of the English warbow. There were no warriors in the 19th century US Indian Wars armies that fought against the plains tribes, and there are no warriors serving today in Afghanistan against the Taliban, for instance. If you asked a professional combat arms soldier in any force today (IDF, FFL, US Army, etc), you will never hear someone refer to themselves as a warrior, unless it is a very new kid just out of boot camp. It is really a concept foreign to how a solider views him / herself.

    Fighting for honor can be very much a different thing for a soldier, as well. One way of understanding this is to google up the Medal of Honor recipients, and reading the citations that accompanied the award.

    Glad you liked the Sarnate bow. There is so much info on Paleoplanet that I am sure I have missed a great deal that can be of use to me. Great folks over there who are very generous in their sharing of info, as is the case here on the Arbalist Guild.

    I too am not so great an atlatlaist, but I do have fun, and I am competent enough to hit the ISAC target and not look completely foolish when demonstrating the weapon system Smile In the case of my own stone age skills celebration, it is still a one day event, but I do hope to make it a longer two or three event, so hold off on traveling for now Smile

    If you don’t mind, could you provide the link for that red oak molly buildalong? I’d be interested in seeing that.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:58 am

    Hi Dane,

    Here is the build-along, it's in 8 parts, though he's pretty much done by part 4:

    Pt 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjiPXuuKFa4

    Pt 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp09GdxAy3s

    Pt 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYja2WwTafY

    Pt 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVf3OSz5HcA

    Pt 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJjtLZxk9cY
    Pt 5.5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayaUe_KIQv0

    Pt 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a82sHNFG-Hc

    Pt 7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0BBhLFA9kg

    Pt 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1Ezre7sdGs

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:09 pm

    Thanks, Archeress. I will check those out ASAP. Right now, a snowstorm is hitting, so I have work I brought home I have to address. Work before play Smile

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:53 pm

    Interesting videos. I don't agree with the use of fiberglass tape backing. A well tillered bow doesnt need backing, but he did us a board with lots of grain runoff, too. Rawhide and silk are more primitive material choices that look nicer and are a lot safer to work with. And one of the chief advantages to using a stave vs. a board is the runoff issues. Plan to look through many, many boards to find one that has optimal grain configuration.

    If you do decide to make a molly based upon these videos, you can find maple boards at Lowes that will be I think a better choice than red oak.

    The molly has been interpreted a lot of different ways, including the two that have already been posted here. The "horse" bow posted was made by a very, very talented bowyer I've known for a few years, and he can push things to limits that can be unbelievable. He actually mainly works with boards, but he uses quarter sawn boards, something you also may want to think about.

    I do think the design is really challenging for a beginner, but if your heart is set, go for it. And in the end, the worst is you break the bow and then start over. Smile

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:50 pm

    I think the reason I want to start with this, is that this design is very simple in terms of how to execute it (whether or not it makes a good bow). I've harvested and split my own staves before, but I can never figure out how to play out a bow on them and then actually do the bow-making. It's getting started that has really held me back. I think with a cheap board bow like this, I can realistically learn a lot from the process as to how to lay out a bow, and all the rest of it. Even if I break it, I'll have learned a ton, and maybe enough to get started on staves.

    I was thinking I'd do this first, and then after that try the same idea with a quarter-sawn red cedar board from some trees I've harvested, using a hickory board or possibly bamboo as a backing material. I've never seen a bamboo-backed molly before, probably with good reason, but it'll be more experience.

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    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by stoneagebowyer on Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:01 pm

    For laying out a bow on a stave, snap a chalk line, find your center, and then draw the outline you want your bow to conform to on the back of the stave. Not much different than working with a board in that respect. I like using an adz and drawknife to remove the bulk of the wood from the belly and sides, and then go from there with rasps and files. My favorite tool for that is a farrier's rasp. That is pretty much how I work on a crossbow tiller, too. Not an expert on the molly design, but bamboo backing may be too much. You have a lot of bending happening in just a short workng length of each limb, But you never know unless you try it. Smile. And the big secret to bow making...take your time. Rushing is what usually kills a future bow.

    Dane

    Archeress
    Fresh Blood

    Doesn't mean
    I'm new to crossbows


    Fresh Blood Doesn't meanI'm new to crossbows

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    Location : North Carolina

    Re: It looked like fun

    Post by Archeress on Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:05 pm

    stoneagebowyer wrote: And the big secret to bow making...take your time. Rushing is what usually kills a future bow.

    Dane

    This will probably be my single biggest hurdle. I'm not the most patient sort. I can concentrate and take my time on my archery shots, but that's about as far as it goes.

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    Re: It looked like fun

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