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Crossbows - Everything about Building, Modding, and Using your Crossbow Gear

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    Post by gcostello65 Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:51 pm

    So I am nearing the end of my crossbow build and have all the necessary parts for completion, but I just realized I am missing the most important part... the string! So, What material should I use for the string to keep it authentic (If hemp is the answer then what weight and thickness?) Also, how do I go about actually making the string, I want it to be as authentic to a period medieval crossbow as possible. I think the endless loop style looks the most authentic to me. And how do I make the string so that I know it will give my bow the correct brace height when put on the bow. Any facts anybody knows about crossbow strings would be greatly appreciated. And what should I use for wax to give it that dark finish seen on most medieval crossbows? Thanks, Greg.
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    Post by Rizzar Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:51 am

    Hey there!

    For really authentic strings try this string knot shown in the video of a friend:
    part 1
    Part 2

    (normally the vid will be enough so the german language should not matter, otherwise ask here and i will try to answer in time)

    Obviously this is for thick strings and you need relative wide tips.

    As for the material: take the best and most durable hemp you can find.
    I used some in about 1mm diameter before, but it depends on the strength of the material to combine durability with prod strength in the wanted diameter of the string.
    So you should test your material to the breaking strength before calculating the number of strands.

    Normally bees wax is mixed with some colophonium, but for the color in this case, time will bring its effect. Besides the color of the hemp will do its part, too.

    Greetings Rizzar
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    Post by mac Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:38 am

    Thanks for the heads up on those videos, Rizzar.

    All of Jos vom Eichsfeld's videos can be found here.   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqPcWz5yg2kFZInpWSMH8EA/videos  He's got some good ones!

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    Post by Rizzar Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:50 am

    You´re welcome

    Jos has got very interesting and helpful videos, especially the stringmaking videos  (with this knot that has become my favorite) helped me a lot since the written description in books is a lot harder to understand.

    We phone each other every once in a while, he is nice and very helpful especially with details.

    You should give a look on all of the vids, although he is trying to tag them in english (which as far as I know he didn´t learn at school) there is always a problem to do the right labeling, so some things are not always described.

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    Post by gcostello65 Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:16 am

    Thank you very much Rizzar! Those videos are a wealth of knowledge! I plan on buying some hemp offline today so it will be here relatively soon! I will keep you all updated. And how do I post pictures on these threads?
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    Post by Rizzar Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:25 am

    You can easily post pictures via the button "host a picture" third on the left to the youtube button on top of the text field.

    Rizzar
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    Post by chaz Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:58 am

    Mac,
      Thanks for sharing youtube videos by Jos .............. very helpful !

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    Post by Clinker Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:11 pm

    How much extra length is needed to loop up the ends and arrive at the correct length?

    Is there a formula to determine the length based on string diameter and length required?
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    Post by Rizzar Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:59 pm

    The longer the string, the more often you will need to rotate the ends before putting them through the bundle, the more difficult it will be putting the knotted thread around.

    So your string length is variable, but I suggest you calculate some practice mistakes.

    I often considered my first strings to be too short, but as mentioned above, too long, though compensable, is not good, either.
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    Post by Hermit Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:32 pm

    Well,here I go again, 1 must have been vaccinated with a gramaphone needle at birth!
                                        I can only advise on continuous strings,made of synthetic materials.First,you will need a jig,simple to make,just a board with 2 pegs,one in a slot to make it adjustable for length,the other fixed.For safety,you need to know the pull of your bow,let's say it's 100lbs,then multiply that by 4,giving 400lbs.,this is the safe breaking strain for the string.You need to know the breaking strain of the string material,the dacron I use is rated at 40lbs.400 divided by 40 gives you an answer of 10,so you need 10 strands of dacron,or 5 turns on your string jig.The 2 limb ends,and the centre portion of the string will need to be served,or whipped,the centre whipping should be the  2ins. long(approx), the end loops should be whipped to about an inch and a halt past where they come together to form the string.You will need a lump of hard beeswax,and a piece of leather.When your string is made,you will need to give it a good coating,by rubbing it vigorousley with the beeswax,when you are satisfied that it has a good coating,take your piece of leather,and rub the string with it,don't be gentle!The heat from the leather against the string,will melt the beeswax into it.This process should be done at intervals,to keep the string in good shape.It is just about impossible to get the string length dead on,but don't worry about it,keep the length a tad on the long side,twisting it will shorten it to the correct length.I realise that this method is for modern strings,using synthetic materials,but I hope it helps,after all,a string is a string is a string..............................


    Last edited by Hermit on Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:52 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : first draft was unclear)
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    Post by Taxus Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:40 am

    For my Medieval crossbows I use linen thread about 1mm thick made of 2 or three strands twisted together.

    For an endless loop string without reinforced endloops measure  the distance between the base of the nocks and add 1/4 inch to this measurement,  and make your string on a pegboard with this measurement ,measuring from the back of one peg to the back of the other.
    You can twist the string slightly if it seems too long and this will give you about the right brace height.
    I use a mix of beeswax and linseed oil as stringwax.

    For a 160lb crossbow I made a string just over 1/4" thick /25 strands.

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