First I would like to say that since this is my first build there was a LOT of improvising with what I had available or within my budget so don't expect some flawless german sporting crossbow reproduction or anything. The only power tool I own is a drill, so an equal amount of sweat and blood (maybe even more blood) went into hacking this thing out.
This is the profile of the tiller. Inspired by 17th c. wheellock pistols. I wanted something smaller than a full-size crossbow but not as small as a pistol crossbow so I came up with this carbine crossbow profile. It gives me a nice 10.5" power stroke although its compact size means I can't shoulder it but I'm okay with that. I am worried that the tickler wont be long enough to give me an easy trigger pull.
The lumber is red oak, 3 laminations will make up the tiller, 2 of 3/4" and a middle of 1/2". I like the way the darker outer boards contrast with the middle board. Oak isn't my first choice of wood but it's the only hardwood available locally and I couldn't justify the price of shipping something nicer in. Unfortunately I managed to pick out perhaps one of the driest splintery boards they had in stock which made working with this stuff nerve racking.
For a prod I have 3 fiberglass tension bars supplied thanks to my good man KenH here on the forum, all measured and cut to the size I asked before being shipped. He also made a fiberglass loose-laminate which I would recommend you check out. I will use 2 of these for the loose-laminate prod, the outer bar is 28" and the inner will be 12". A simple wooden tip overlay will be used for the nocks.
(image coming soon maybe)
I managed to find a bar of steel, I think it was a handle for a car jack, it's some very ringy steel but I manage to cut and bend it with the right amount of elbow grease so it will be the tickler. Used up 2 coping saw blades cutting through that stuff.
(image coming soon maybe probably not)
This is a temporary nut of laminated oak, it's rather roughly hacked out. I'm using the same steel for the sear plate as the tickler in the hopes that two contact surfaces of the same hardness won't wear down each other. I'll buy a proper delrin nut eventually.
Here are all the componenets before fitting, and the chiseled out hollow for the nut which I was expecting to be a mountainous undertaking, but it actually took me roughly an hour, haha.
At this point the crossbow is functionally finished aside for a stirrup, bolt-clip, proper bridle, etc however the tiller is still just a huge two-dimensional wooden cutout so there's plenty of shaping to be done. Also, I didn't have the tickler pin in when I took this picture so the tickler looks a bit too far out because of that.
Hope you've enjoyed the progress on my improvised crossbow build-along so far, more to come soon.