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

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    First crossbow build

    Nick D
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    Post by Nick D Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:41 pm

    My brother and I have started our first crossbow build.  I'll be doing the forge work and he'll be doing the wood work.  This build is actually going to be two, we're making one for each of us.  Mine is based on one of Maximilian I's bows and my brother's will be based on German sporting bows.  Both are intended to be spanned with a goatsfoot, which I'll also make.  Both will have cord bindings for the prod.  I want to do bow irons, too, but haven't decided how best to forge them.

    I am taking pictures of my half, I'll take pictures of the wood bits as I get the chance.  Progress will be slow, I can't get in the forge as much as I'd like right now.

    The prod is being forged from a heavy duty S-tine.  An 18" piece was cut off from the tine and straightened with a bending fork hardy.

    First crossbow build Sam_6810

    Each end was forged to its intended dimensions first, then the rest of the prod was forged from the center to the end.  I center punched each face at the center and after those marks were lost from forging I kept track of it with soapstone.

    First crossbow build Sam_6811
    First crossbow build Sam_6812

    Here's the rough prod.  24" in length, about 1/4"x3/4" at the ends and 3/8"x1 1/4" at the center. 

    First crossbow build Sam_6910
    First crossbow build Sam_6911

    Next I'll clean up the width taper and bend in the tip rise and forge out the ends for the rolled nocks.

    This will be for my brother's bow.  When it's forged I'll make mine, but starting with a 20" or so piece of stock.  Then I'll do the heat treatment both at the same time.
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    Post by Todd the archer Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:11 pm

    Nice start, really admire your ability to work metal. Like your brother I am more a wood worker. I am after all a carpenter by trade.

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    Post by kenh Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:20 pm

    Nice start Nick!  Like Todd, I'm a woodworker, not a metalworker.
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    Post by OrienM Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:16 pm

    Looking good, Nick! Nice smooth forging there, and the dimensions look good to my (inexperienced) eye. cyclops Keep up the good work!
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    Post by Nick D Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:25 pm

    Thanks, guys Smile  Todd and Ken, I wish I had more experience in woodwork!  I've done some, but I just prefer metal.  I think my bro is a little jealous of how I can change the shape of the metal, as he says, "Well, the wood's shaped like that now!" Wink

    I've not been able to work on it much, I did even up the length of the left side.  I'm going to use a flatter down the length on both sides to reduce the amount of filing needed, then to the nocks and bending.
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    Post by Andy. Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:48 am

    Great stuff Nick!

    Would love to have a go at forging, and understand the basics of working spring steel, case hardening, tempering etc....
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    Post by Nick D Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:37 am

    I put in the tip rise yesterday.  When a straightedge is placed against the upper corners of the ends, they measure 1/2" above the center of the prod.  The center of the base of the nocks is even with the upper edge at center.  

    First crossbow build Sam_7110

    The photo is from during bending, I evened out the curve on the left so it's balanced afterwards.  Lowering the straight edge to the prod's top edge at the middle, it will cross the center of the base of the nocks (center punched, but not visible in the photos.  My camera doesn't like my forge).  I'm hoping this is not too much tip rise.  One nock is flared out, still have to do the other.  Will hopefully be able to post more photos later this week.
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    Post by Nick D Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:22 pm

    Got more work done on the prod today.  

    Started cleaning one side.
    First crossbow build Sam_7130

    Flaring out the other nock.
    First crossbow build Sam_7131

    Cleaning the faces.
    First crossbow build Sam_7132

    Who needs a gym membership when there's draw filing to be done?
    First crossbow build Sam_7133

    First crossbow build Sam_7134


    Rolling the nocks.
    First crossbow build Sam_7135
    First crossbow build Sam_7136

    I filed the upper and lower edges of the side opposite the rolled nock while I waited for it to cool off, then filed the nock.  At that point it was cool enough to hold so I could roll the other nock, then continue filing.  I'll do the final filing of the nocks after putting in the deflex to clean up the shoulders.
    First crossbow build Sam_7137
    First crossbow build Sam_7138

    All that's left is the deflex and the final cleanup.  Then I'll forge the second prod and it's on to heat treatment.
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    Post by Nick D Wed Oct 01, 2014 11:42 am

    Put in the deflex, doing the first side was easy, getting the other to match perfectly took a little longer.  Also made a mistake, as I was doing the layout and bending I was putting the back of the prod at the edge of the vise table but hadn't added the thickness of the prod to the depth, so I went back and corrected it to get the proper curve.  Just some final cleanup to do now.

    First crossbow build Sam_7139
    First crossbow build Sam_7140
    First crossbow build Sam_7141
    First crossbow build Sam_7142
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    Post by kenh Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:36 pm

    Lookin' really good there!
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    Post by Nick D Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:45 pm

    Thanks, Ken Smile

    Went and cleaned it up, went over it again with the files to take out some slight marks from bending, then again with a flap brush in a hand drill.  It will be pretty easy to clean up after heat treating.  Also put a coat of Johnson's wax on it to keep it from rusting until I can do the heat treat.

    First crossbow build Sam_7143
    First crossbow build Sam_7144
    First crossbow build Sam_7145
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    Post by Gnome Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:21 am

    That's coming right along, isn't it? I must say I'm jealous of your shop. I grew up tinkering in my Dad's machine shop, took it for granted it was something I'd always have access to. Maybe someday...
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    Post by chaz Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:00 am

    Nick,
       Nice ............. nice

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    Post by Nick D Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:48 am

    Gnome, I'm glad I have a building I could put a forge in (it's in half an old barn), but it gets bone-chillingly cold in the winter.  I've never closed up the gaps because I do intend to move it to a purpose-built shop, once I've got a place of my own.

    Been working on the second prod, it's similar in dimensions but a few inches longer.  My brother helped with striking on this one, I can do it myself but this way it was faster, easier, and took less fuel and time.  I'm planning on building a small powerhammer, which will make the rough work even faster, but until then this'll do.  It's currently forged to shape, flatted down both faces, and one nock is flared.  I might flare the other nock today, I have some other things to do but it doesn't take long. 

    I was going to make a ground forge for the heat treatment, but I've decided I want to build a wood-framed heat treat forge instead, so that it's easily set up for other projects.  Also planning a spanning bench to string and test the prods once they're done and for when the tillers are done.

    First crossbow build Sam_7210
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    Post by Armymedic.2 Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:15 pm

    Part time smith here saying great work so far.   Enjoying and watching this thread!
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    Post by mac Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:47 am

    Nice work, Nick!

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