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

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3 posters

    Fit and finish

    Workshop Savvy

    Did you see my tool collection?

    Workshop SavvyDid you see my tool collection?

    Posts : 151
    Join date : 2013-12-02
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    Fit and finish Empty Fit and finish

    Post by phuphuphnik Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:42 am

    I have been making stocks at a pretty fast clip, mostly to get practice woodworking. Having never seen an original bow in person I have to ask this. What was the fit and finish like on a military grade bow, or even a 'common' hunting bow? We have seen the fine work that went into surviving bows, but those were in royal estates, and made for nobility, or at least wealthy people.
    I try to get the wood to metal as tight as I can get, which to me is just good practice. Having seen original muskets, there is a noticeable difference between them and a privately owned Pennsylvania Longrifle in fit and finish.

    an aside, I was supposed to go see some originals at the Art Institute of Chicago next week, but they had to reschedule.
    Master Crossbowyer
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    Fit and finish Empty Re: Fit and finish

    Post by Geezer Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:21 am

    Fit and finish on armory-quality bows?  That's a little difficult to establish, because all the bows in question are over 500 years old, so all are now a bit wonky.  However, back in 1995, I had the opportunity to observe/measure/handle the crossbow fragments found in the Padre Island (south Texas barrier island) archaeological dig. With the exception of the steel prods (@20 in. long) all the metal was gone, but the inlets for same were informative.  Lockplates and cheekplates (at the fore-end, these are the skinny Spanish bows) had been riveted in place, and x-rays showed the rivets were not square through the stock. The lock and cheek plate mortises were slightly different sizes as well... with 1/8 of an inch, but not quite identical.  The roller nut on the best preserved stock was a tiny bit off as well. The bone nut, @ 1 inch in diameter and 15/16ths of an inch wide, had the lugs and space between divided evenly, each 5/16 in. Except the right lug was a hair narrower than the left. The trigger had some manner of wedge or perhaps a bone/horn spring to keep it engaged... that shows up faintly in the x-rays. Also the nose-ring for hanging (this is a gafa bow) had been put in crooked, then removed and re-set at the proper angle (again this shows up in x-rays)
    As for fit and finish on extant complete bows, perhaps the crossbows in the armory at Malta would be worth studying.  Also Schloss Grandson, in the Tyrol was the Von Trapp family hunting lodge.  They have a bunch of nice quality gents bows in the armory.  Not fancy Rolls-Royce stuff like Ulrich V bow at the Met. These seem to be more Buick-Toyota nice quality loaners for friends who came up for the hunting.
    In short, I think issue stuff was expected to be clean, tight work, but minor blemishes weren't necessarily a deal breaker.  DRW/Geezer
    Master Weaponsmith
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    Fit and finish Empty Re: Fit and finish

    Post by mac Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:34 pm

    These things were made by experienced craftsmen working as fast as they could.  They weren't reinventing the craft, like we are, but were trained in a working tradition.  That means they knew where they could cut corners without compromising function, and exactly what they could get away with and still have an accepted product.

    For most of us today, that translates to this.  Do the best work you can without actually picking up a ruler.  If the left side does not look exactly like the right side... that's OK 'cause you can't see 'em both at the same time anyway.

    If you know yourself to be fussy sort of craftsman who is never satisfied, even though everyone else likes your work.... lighten up a bit, work a little faster, and try not to fret.

    If you know yourself to be inclined to hurry along and get 'er done....  Slow down a bit to compensate for not having benefit of the apprenticeship.


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    Fit and finish Empty Re: Fit and finish

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