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    Roller nut material

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    Post by Moon on Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:49 pm

    First topic message reminder :

    What is recognized as the most durable roller nut material? What do you use and why? Thanks!
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    Post by Geezer on Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:22 pm

    Lignum Vitae should make a superior wood for a roller-nut. It's one of the hardest woods available and is saturated with oils that provide natural lubricant. Historically, it was considered the best wood for ships' rigging blocks.
    You will find it very difficult to glue, and of course it's very hard, (use the best dust-mask you can find) but it should make a roller close to moose-horn in quality. Geezer sez, two-thumbs up.
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    Post by Ivo on Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:39 pm

    Lignum Vitae as in Ironwood?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lignum_vitae

    Wiki mentions it also being used to make all wood gears in clockwork...and as Geezer already mentioned it's famous and most useful self lubricating properties there is little I can add except that I believe Bowyer's Bible has a Data Sheet entry for this material with it's Density, Stretch, Compression, and Shear strength. Perhaps this information will allow one to further "calculate" this materials suitability for a variety of applications, however something this dense and with hardness of 4500 lbf it sounds like the stuff for the job. If you do use it, deffinitely stop by to follow up on how it went. Best of Luck!

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    Post by jopsa on Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:06 pm

    Most popular in history was bone roller nut. How do it:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/arkadiusz.okon/MedievalCrossbow#
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    Post by 8fingers on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:32 am

    From a large moose horn you could get 4 or 5 roll nuts per horn. Moose antlers are shed so a single moose could contribute suitable material for about 5 years. My recall of Gallwey's book says horn was a prefered material. Some where I have seen the fingers of horn roll nut reinforced with metal pins to prevent shearing the fingers off (German National Museum, Nurenburg?)
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    Post by mac on Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:53 am

    8,

    Somewhere in my shop I have a moose antler that I rough turned into 4 or 5 nuts. They are still attached, like a string of beads, waiting for me to finish them.

    I don't think I have ever seen a nut made of horn, per se. Antler, yes, horn, no. I don't think that horn has the tensile strength for the job; at least not for any but the lightest bows.

    Are you sure the nut you saw was horn, rather than antler? The pins you describe are pretty common in antler nuts for heavy crossbows.

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    Post by 8fingers on Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:25 pm

    I will say I'm not sure anymore. Looked at the photos I have but the nut doesn't show up clearly. I'll do some homework. I just remember dark material with pins.
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    Post by Geezer on Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:13 pm

    For the roller-nut, I prefer Moose-horn, taken from the stem, below the palm. Some authorities prefer bits of deer-skull, taken from just below the horns. That's the thickest, most resilient part of the skull. Geezer
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    Post by 8fingers on Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:06 am

    There was one crossbow among all these jewels of the arbalist's art that was described as unusual because it used a horn nut instead of ivory. It had been thought to have been fitted with an ebony nut when first cataloged, but on closer inspection later the nut material didn't have growth rings like ebony. From the wear, it was believed to be the first choice of a discriminating hunter or a very early replacement part. Ivory was fashionable, and the more usual material for these high end weapons. If he could afford such an extravagent weapon, he could easily have afforded to replace an ivory nut with another ivory nut. This weapon showed more wear than any other crossbow in the case, so it wasn't just a display piece. One reason suggested was horn would offer less glare to the shooter's eyes than ivory. I hit a lot of museums on that trip, but I believe these crossbows were in Nurenburg.
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    Post by Wargasm on Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:32 pm

    Sorry for resurrecting such an old thread but I have a little experience when it comes to animal materials. I know nothing of crossbows or arbalists, I've signed on to learn and make one, what I do know about is, well it's kind of awkward to say it, but walrus penis bones…….Some historians speculate that the Norse traveled to the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland and even the Canadian Arctic hunting walruses. In ancient times the ranged from the coasts of Spain to Florida, the reason for the dwindled population is over hunting. Their hides were used for skinning boats, from Irish curraghs up to and including early viking boats. Hide was also favored for rigging as it can be up to 2 inches thick, males and females also have ivory tusks, males having ones up ti three feet long, much easier to obtain than elephant ivory, but just as prestigious and at varying times more valuable than gold. The other thing they had were penis bones……actually most mammals have these and they are extremely dense, in the case of walruses the Inuit still use them to day for making traditional harpoon tips, as clubs etc. they can be up to nearly 1.5m long and are very dense, no marrow cavities, solid bone all the way through….this would make excellent roller nuts I think.
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    Post by hoopslaboratories on Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:46 pm

    Yeah, I think that you HAVE to make a phallus bone roller nut. I for one would be very curious to see how such a material would hold up. Great post!
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    Post by Rizzar on Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:32 pm

    I assume the material of choice for making a nut is antler, not Ivory or bone.

    Its structure is more dense and elastic to withstand high loads better than those Ivory layers you can see in especially old ones.


    I can tell good antler is much more easy to get than getting back to ressources of animals with a doubtful or even endangered population.
    And It does its job more than satisfactory.


    I am not against hunting, don´t get me wrong, but why accelerating extinction of rare species for not relieable use in a hobby purpose?

    I think the crux of this thread should be alternatives of material more easy to get and more environment friendly than exotic animals especially penis bones or -exaggerated- rhino horn for inlays and user virility.


    Just my opinion.
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    Post by Wargasm on Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:20 am

    Walruses are on where near extinct, and my suggestion was more for historical use possibilities. If I could get my hands on a bacculum I may try it, I'll have to see what I can do, I don't  live in the arctic anymore.
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    Post by Hermit on Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:04 am

    Many years ago,I learned about a wood that is generally thought of as the hardest wood in the world,I was told that it was used for bearings in ship's prop. shafts.I managed to acquire a mallet made out of a chunk of this wood.The wood is so hard,that normal woodworking tools have a hard time working it,best to use metalworking tools.It is so dense that it won't float in water.The wood is called Lignum Vitae,also known as Ironwood.I googled it,and sure enough everything I'd heard was true,and it had other advantages as well,it is self lubricating,due to the oil and resins it contains.
                                              Lignum vitae is still used as bearings in water turbines and is available today,google lists 42 suppliers in the U.S. alone.It was used as the prop shaft bearings for the first Nuclear submarine ever built,U.S.S. Nautilus.Sounds to me like a perfect material for crossbow nuts...........
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    Post by Geezer on Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:35 am

    Lignum Vitae is indeed very hard, and it has a lot of internal 'grease' in its cells that work as an excellent lubricant.  Back in the 16th century, all the best sheave-blocks on ships were made of lignum vitae. 
    It should make good roller-locks, as long as the grain is oriented the right way, but be advised that the internal grease makes it very hard to glue to anything.  I have an excellent all-wood jack-plane with a lignum-vitae sole.  It runs super smooth, and I note the bottom, lignum-section of the sole is attached by a complex grid-like joint... presumably because it's a booger to glue.  Try some if you can get it, but remember, it's really hard, and you should probably wear a good filter while working it.  Geezer.
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    Post by Hermit on Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:59 am

    The reason that I mentioned lignum vitae in a post,is because it appears to be the answer for those who want to make crossbows that use natural materials,and preserve the sex life of walruses.
                                      Personally,when I make something that I am going to use,I want something that is going to last,perform with the maximum of efficiency,and the minimum of maintainance,so when it comes to trigger mechanisms,steel,hardened where nescessary,is I believe,the best way to go.The relationship between trigger sear and notch is critical,and getting it right takes much care,patience and time,I have no wish to do it again until I have to,because of wear.
                              There was much more I could have said about Lignum  vitae,but did not,because I am sure that members of this forum,once aware of it,will do their own research and make their own decisions about its suitability as a nut material,and any safety precautions that should be taken while handling and working with it.
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    Post by Wargasm on Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:04 pm

    I've tried working Lignum Vitea before, definitely wear a dust mask, the dust can be very irritating, and you will need metal working bits as normal woodworking ones really don't, hum.., cut it when it comes to ironwood,

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