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    Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

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    Basilisk120
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    Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:10 pm

    After having read about them I would really like to build one. I was wondering if anyone had any plans/ experience with making horn and sinew prods. About the only thing I know about them are that they are made from horn and sinew (Capt. Obvious strikes again )

    If I can get the process down (and its not too time consuming) I may make a few more to sell for those looking for that extra touch of authenticity to their period crossbow.
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by kiltedcelt on Wed Mar 10, 2010 2:17 pm

    I don't know much about their construction except that they're not made the same way as those materials would be used in a regular bow. Instead the horn is composed of multiple pieces vertically oriented and glued together and somehow that whole horn core is surrounded by the sinew which is then covered with some protective material like rawhide.
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    horn/sinew prods

    Post by Geezer on Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:27 pm

    Horn/sinew composite prods are very complex constructions. Traditional European methods of assembly are nothing like Tuskish composite handbows, for instance. Josef Alm's "A Survey of European Crossbows" (English translation published by British Royal Armouries @ 1995) shows several different cross-sections of horn/sinew composites. The best article I have seen on these specialty pieces was from Baron de Cosson's article on the Ulrich V crossbow (now in the Metropolitan Museum) in for the Proceedings of the Royal Antiquarian Society, about 1895. A friend found the article for me years ago and sent a photocopy. At the end of the Ulrich V article was an addendum on horn/sinew composites. De Cosson and a friend disassembled an old prod and took careful notes. Very useful stuff there. Geezer.
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by kiwijim on Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:36 pm

    Hi Geezer,
    What are the chances of you posting that photocopied article on this site?

    James
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:15 pm

    I was wondering the same thing. I spent the better part of this morning looking for it online. Seems that every other copy of the journal was online but not that one.

    http://www.archive.org/stream/archaeologiaael20unkngoog#page/n159/mode/1up Did find this article. About halfway down the page makes a reference to the prods really being made out of a composite of whale bone and yew, not horn. Could make this a bit more difficult.
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    composite prods

    Post by Geezer on Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:32 pm

    Geezer here, chiming in once again about horn/sinew prods. I have heard of whale-bone, and particularly the baleen from a Wright whale being used. We may also be running into another problem of definition... could be the old guys meant cow-horn, rather than antler.... or maybe there are many possible choices.
    I'll look for the article from Royal Antiquarian Society... the date was about 1895-maybe 1893, I don't recall, but it WAS by Baron de Cosson, who was a big collector in those days. Maybe I can turn the article up in my voluminous files. No promises, but I will search. Geezer.
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:00 pm

    Yeah, the best I could find was the table of contents for the journal in question (Archaeolia Volume 53 published in 1893 for those who were wondering).

    I had thought it was cow-horn. So one of the questions I had was: Is the cow horn long enough to completely span the crossbow or would I have to deal with a joint in the middle of the prod. (I have plans to deal with a joint.)

    Tomorrow I'll detail out some of the plans that I had but they are assuming the use of cow horn. Walmart was running a little low on Baleen
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    horn/sinew prods

    Post by Geezer on Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:39 pm

    Well, at least you found the de Cosson article in an index, so I wasn't dreaming.
    As for the cow-horn bits, they made the pieces as long and flat as possible, thinner on the ends, grooved them with a hot iron and overlaid them, sort of like planking a deck. Essentially you end up with a leaf-spring, built onto a thin lath of wood. Think of it as an old-fashioned multi-leaf auto spring, except that you bend the spring on edge, rather than on the flat... that should help preserve the glue-bonds, and the grooving gives you plenty of glueing surface to maintain a tight bond.
    The horn spring makes the belly (inside surface) of the prod. Then layers of achilles tendon from deer, horses or cattle, are shredded and glued onto the 'back' surface with hide or fish glue. That's laid down a bit at a time, with some drying in between. When the prod is near full-thickness, you inlet some long, thin wedges of antler into the ends for nocks. That's also glued in with fish-glue. Then the entire prod is wrapped round and round, end to end, with more shredded sinew. At some point, you have to tiller the prod to make sure it bends evenly. When that's done, you cover the entire assemblage with the inner-level of birch-bark, rawhide or even good-quality paper and laquer it. In some cases it appears the paper cover was printed to look like snake-skin, which suggests some prods may have actually been covered with snake-skin.
    As you can see, it's a long, involved and smelly process. That's why I've never had the guts to tackle it. At my age, it would take another entire lifetime to master the craft... assuming I had the patience to even try.
    Anyhow, the de Cosson article was the most complete I have ever seen, and IF I can find it, I'll scan and post it here or at least on Lightly's flikr page. Geezer
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Ivo on Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:34 pm

    The crosscut section of these composite prods is very similar to the way the most powerful of the Japanese Yumi bows had... the core lamination as Geezer says, is perpendicular to those of the belly and back. Pretty cool stuff, I can almost feel how stiff this composition must be...and how fast too.



    think there is a bit more info on the net, I just cant remember where I've seen it...perhaps even in Gallwey's book. Please be Gentle if I'm wrong.




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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Ivo on Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:40 pm

    I just remembered where I've seen some amazingly illustrated examples of composite crossbow prods and their variations. There is a book on crossbows by Holger Richter...to this day I just looked at the pictures, but I'll give this one a go with a translator this time, the book is written in German.

    There is a quick look into this book on Google-books which has a few illustrations that I'm talking about. >>>Link

    I'll try and supply the rest, but if any one else has the book don't be shy, join in. Geezer, hopefully my psychopathic nature of cutting into conversation will not have an effect on your search for the article...all fire power of your knowledge base is much appreciated. *Macedonian style*

    Ivo




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    Holger Richter's hornbows

    Post by Geezer on Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:24 pm

    Hey Ivo: Thanks for the headsup on Holger Richter's book on hornbows. I don't know how I missed this one, but the oversight is corrected. My copy is on the way, should have it in a week or two. Looks great. Geezer
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by jopsa on Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:55 pm

    Hi ! I'm crazy about any crossbow: primitive, ancient, medieval, reinassance, baroque, firing balls, compound, recurve - any. Want built heavy steel, yew wood and composite prods crossbows, because I'm curious about their performances. Steel is very heavy, so bow must be slow, calculate and think: 230 fps is the maximum speed. To check it ordered 640 lbs of draw weight steel prod forged in a medieval way (Alchem offers maximum 170 lbs of draw weight; old prods was much stronger and Alchem prods are made of modern spring steel H50).
    I suspect that the wooden (yew) prod can archieve about 250 fps, but shooting lighter bolt. Bought original European yew wood, not pacific or Japanese yew.
    Composite prod should be the fastest, about 300 fps. The best Italian composite crosbows had prod with Alpine chamois horn and whalebone, but today you can not buy it anywhere. Other prods are made of goat horn - so I looking only for goat, not antelope, cow, water buffalo or other horn.
    But I find, if someone really something wants - build even the atomic bomb Very Happy

    regards - Robert
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Ivo on Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:47 am

    Atomic prods are cool and scary - a double edge sword so to speak. Laughing

    I'm not sure goat horn will do well...one guy on our forum decided to try ram horn and the stuff turned out to be thin walled and all together useless, but then again there are always different species of the bastard, so good luck with the search.

    Ivo

    PS: Check your PM.




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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Todd the archer on Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:22 am

    Here is a link that shows the potential of composite bows.
    http://www.atarn.org/islamic/Performance/Performance_of_Turkish_bows.htm
    Although turkish bows are different than crossbow prods still think it is relevent. Show a speed of 357 fps that is smoking!

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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Basilisk120 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:02 am

    jopsa wrote:Hi ! I'm crazy about any crossbow: primitive, ancient, medieval, reinassance, baroque, firing balls, compound, recurve - any. Want built heavy steel, yew wood and composite prods crossbows, because I'm curious about their performances. Steel is very heavy, so bow must be slow, calculate and think: 230 fps is the maximum speed. To check it ordered 640 lbs of draw weight steel prod forged in a medieval way (Alchem offers maximum 170 lbs of draw weight; old prods was much stronger and Alchem prods are made of modern spring steel H50).
    I suspect that the wooden (yew) prod can archieve about 250 fps, but shooting lighter bolt. Bought original European yew wood, not pacific or Japanese yew.
    Composite prod should be the fastest, about 300 fps. The best Italian composite crosbows had prod with Alpine chamois horn and whalebone, but today you can not buy it anywhere. Other prods are made of goat horn - so I looking only for goat, not antelope, cow, water buffalo or other horn.

    regards - Robert

    I can already tell your a smart guy- you agree with me tongue Laughing
    But joking aside. I agree with the thought that metal prods have an inherant speed limit but are usefull for tossing heavier bolts. Hmm need to look for some equations on how to calculate the "ideal" bolt weight.



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    Composite Prods

    Post by jopsa on Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:07 pm

    Todd: Adam Karpowicz archieved 357 fps using very light arrow (203 grains). Shot similar to dry fire.
    Composite bow limbs and crossbow prod are different.

    1. Bow:
    Working part of limb (dustar) is close to riser. A long one strip of cow's horn glued (fish glue) with thin strip of wood (mostly citrone wood). On the front glued sinew (cow's tendons)
    Further part (siyah) not working, just strong, non flexible wood.

    2. Composite crossbow - working all prod. Most popular versions (without whalebone):



    Wood - only yew. Glued horn strips - the best chamoise, goats, often cow's too. Sinew - the best deer tendons, often worse cow tendons.

    I looking for goat horn, because today the cows have too short horns. And goat horn is probably better.
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Ivo on Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:46 am

    Best Deer Tendons(sinew) would be "back tendons" that are about 18" long and a few inches wide. Can be found on e-bay and on/through traditional archery sites and forums (ex: PaloePlanet, Atarn)...or of course from the butcher(especially during the hunting season Wink )



    Goat Horn...I tried looking for some today and came up with quite a large selection on e-bay.

    http://stores.ebay.com/The-Wildlife-Ranch/Horns-/_i.html?rt=nc&_fsub=1738727018&_sid=241601108&_trksid=p4634.c0.m14.l1513&_pgn=1

    $35 for a 24" horn + shipping - sounds ok, but there are a few things that caught my attention... goat horn looks like a layered structure (like a chipped finger nail almost scratch ) that probably wouldn't hold together very well when attempting to carve the grooves for glue joint (just my thoughts scratch scratch ) and another one is - it's REALLY twisted Shocked ...good luck straightening that out...and even then there is no guarantee that the internal stress of the previously twisted horn strips won't make the bow fail/warp(again just a few thoughts scratch scratch scratch )



    Cow horn looked nice and solid, but much "shorter"(13"-18" at $15-$20) .



    Waterbufalo horn was my next search coming up with 19" at $13...

    and ...

    Gemsbok horn coming up at +/- 32" for $32 (for a PAIR!!! Smile )



    Considering the last two(Water buffalo, Gemsbok) are widely known amongst traditional bowyers as excellent "horn bow" material , I think they would be best for the job...especially Gemsbok since it's so long that a single strip can go the full length of the bow -easy! cheers

    Just cut into strips, steam and into the press they go



    ...then proceed with groove cutting.



    Ivo

    PS: one day my friends...one day we will build these things. Very Happy




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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by JMC on Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:16 pm

    In France we use water buffalo horns

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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by 8fingers on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:03 am

    Tendons show up in larger pet stores as dog chews. don't know the source. Page 64 of Gallweys book has a description of a laminated horn, yew, sinew and whalebone prod. These were short, seldom over 2 ft 5 in and ussualy closer to 2ft 3 in. ( pg 63)

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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by 8fingers on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:05 am

    Ivo, where can I find Gemsbock horns?

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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by Ivo on Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:43 am

    8fingers,

    I bought my Gemsbok about a year ago from some guy on e-bay, came wrapped in newspaper and smelling like crap, but that's horn for ya (I guess) Razz ...Since then I twirled it in my hands maybe once or twice and decided to leave it for when I finally get my vacation time ...no luck so far. study study study Why? You plan on tackling a hornbow build some time in the future? Very Happy

    To add to the topic:

    I was looking online for any bit of material on hornbow crossbow prods...it turns out someone is doing just such a tutorial. Surprised

    http://redhawk55.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/sinew-backing-vol-1-nothing-new-on-the-planet-choosing-and-preparing-the-sinew/

    http://redhawk55.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/hornbows-vol-1-selecting-cutting-working-the-horn/
    http://redhawk55.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/hornbows-vol-2-preparing-the-strips-and-the-glueing-grooving-this-is-the-gourmet-episode-of-hornbow-making/
    http://redhawk55.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/hornbows-vol-3-the-crossbow/
    http://redhawk55.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/hornbows-vol-4-the-crossbow-rough-shaping-attaching-the-recurves/

    Pretty cool guy to say the least and I'm sure to be following his build. Noticed that he's in fact using water buffalo horn strips oriented perpendicular to the back/belly as some suggested earlier in the topic...sticking with the tradition - he is. Wink


    Another interesting personaje is this William Tell character, who's style of prod appeals to me a bit more as it seems to follow a parallel lamination method similar to vertical hornbows.



    Ivo




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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by mac on Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:25 pm

    I have read Micheal Bittl's writings with the keenest interest. I am very anxious to see how this crossbow turns out.

    It concerns me some that he use a simple 45degree butt-joint to make the transition from one piece of horn to another within a layer. The pictures in Richer's book show the horn pieces tapering off to essentially nothing. This seems stronger to me, because it does not produce stress concentrations within the bow. If Herr Bittl's method works, it must surely mean that this type of bow is not as fussy to construct as I have always thought....and *that's* all to the good!

    As far as I can tell, he is not trying to get the grooves in the horn to "key" into one another, but rather just increasing the glue surface area in general. This is one of the things that is hard to tell in the available bow limb cross sections. sometimes it looks like they "key" and sometimes they don't seem to.

    Eagerly awaiting the next episode,
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by JMC on Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:31 am

    hello
    here is a picture where we see the band horn
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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by mac on Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:46 am

    JMC,

    The one in the center is a very translucent piece of horn!

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    Re: Making Horn and Sinew Prods?

    Post by JMC on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:58 am

    I think it's europeennnes cow horn with a piece of yew to stiffen the doll

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