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

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    Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows

    Master Bran Padraig
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    Post by Master Bran Padraig on Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:49 am

    Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows Dsc01514
    All of my crossbows are SCA type target ones. Low power 7075 Aluminum prod give about 78 lbs at full draw which is good for the SCA target range. This one is a Wester European type made from Walnut with a maple insert. Trigger, stirup, spring clip, and side plates are steel which have been oil blackened. All the parts are made my me.
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    Post by Master Bran Padraig on Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:52 am

    Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows Finish11Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows Finish10
    Here is another Western European type. Again with a Walnut stock and maple insert. Close up shows the hand file work on the stirup.
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    Post by Master Bran Padraig on Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:06 am

    Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows German11
    Here is a Central European type crossbow with a simulated ivory/bone top (paper micarta). Nut is delrin in a bronze socket. Steel trigger, stirup, and spring clip. 7075 Alum prod.
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    Post by Todd the archer on Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:20 pm

    Very nice work! Question, is your stirrup fastened to the binding block because it looks like it might wobble loose.

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    Post by Master Bran Padraig on Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:48 pm

    Todd the archer wrote:Very nice work! Question, is your stirrup fastened to the binding block because it looks like it might wobble loose.

    Todd
    The stirup is not fastened to the saddle block other then by the bridle sinew or hemp wrap. I have used this method on many crossbows for years without too much issue and I think this is the historical method too. You are right that over time the stirups can get lose but I have never had one come off. I do put some soft leather around the bottom of the stirup to help prevent it from cutting the sinew bridle. It's also not hard to add extra wrapping or tighten up the briddle if needed. Regular waxing helps to lengthen the life of the bridle wrap too. In AZ, leaving the crossbow in the car after waxing turns the briddle into an almost solid mass (due to the car being 140 deg in the sun).
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    Post by Ivo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:47 pm

    Great Stuff!

    Always loved file work, and the forge twisted metal....You must do some good forge work on regular basis. Smile

    A quick question for you if you don't mind... on the second green limb crossbow, the stirrup looks green...how was that effect achieved?

    Thank,

    Ivo

    PS: Mighty strong looking avatar you got there. Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows 524936



    Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows Untitled
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    Post by Master Bran Padraig on Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:43 am

    Ivo wrote:

    A quick question for you if you don't mind... on the second green limb crossbow, the stirrup looks green...how was that effect achieved?

    The stirup was highly polished then heated until it turned a nice blue at about 500-550°F range (trick is to do this as even as possible and not over heat any parts). While hot, it was put into veg oil and pulled out, allowed to smoke for a little bit, and then put back into the veg oil. This gives a very nice blue/black surface and also coats the piece really good in oil. Since it was polished before oil 'blueing', it has a reflective surface even though it's still blue/black. I think it looks a little 'green' in the photo due to reflection of the green leather wrap on the prod and not really because it's green.

    Oh, and yes, I have done more blacksmithing then crossbow making so far. Thanks!
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    Post by Ivo on Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:01 pm

    Ahhh...ok Laughing ...I got all worked up thinking it was some acid die treatment (I'm crazy like that) Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows 207946 Still very nice work though...more Rep. points for you. Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows 951629

    I see more and more skilled blackmiths join and have always loved fire and metal dance together myself, perhaps it's time I made a bladed weapon showcase/discussion as well...what do you think guys? Very Happy

    Ivo



    Here are a few of my 'period' type crossbows Untitled
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    ~ "I don't have any special talents. I'm only passionately curious."
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    Post by zhangyimou on Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:07 am

    very nice work! would love to see more pictures of these or other work
    thanks for showing
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    Post by Lightly on Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:57 pm

    Very beautiful...most especially the last one. Thanks for the photos!

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    Post by directdrive8 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:50 am

    Hi: Correct me if I'm wrong but is your binding actual sinew? It looks as if it is. I have beaucoup sinew from deer legs. My problem is that none of it is more than a foot in length. Were I to use it for binding a prod, how would I join the individual sinew fibers into one long length? I know how to make cordage and considered fabricating a cord of sufficient length using the sinew but didn't know if that was how it was done in olden times. Frankly, I can't imagine any other way. Suggestions?
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    Post by mac on Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:01 am

    Directdrive,

    Save those sinews for bow backing! Authentic crossbow bindings are made of some sort of plant fiber cordage; probably either hemp or linen. A lot of modern makers use some sort of synthetic cord. I presume they do it to avoid the trouble associated with seasonal humidity variations.

    Mac
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    Post by Lightly on Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:47 am

    Correct, Mac, we use artificial sinew for cinching up the binding, and hemp or flax for the actual binding. Also, we use a cockscomb cinching, when we do that. It looks good, and stays very tight, but is NOT period. I know that somewhere there is info for how they used to do it, (Todd of Todd's stuff found it! (His bows are cinched up 'correctly')) but, I have yet to find that.... while it is not a big deal, I would really love to do it in a more authentic way.... sooooooo, if anyone knows where that info can be found? I would love to try that.

    Thanks!

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    Post by mac on Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:58 am

    Lightly,

    I just went over to Tod's site. His Bavarian hunting bow is very beautiful. http://www.todsstuff.co.uk/crossbows/bavarian-hunting-crossbows.htm

    Is that the sort of binding you mean? It is fundamentally the same as what I am doing on my bows. It's not very tricky at all. What am I misunderstanding?

    Mac

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    Post by Master Bran Padraig on Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:36 pm

    The top crossbow photo used hemp but was tightened with 'simulated' sinew. The hemp has since been replaced with sinulated sinew because the hemp kept stretching over time/use.
    The other crossbows used simulated sinew for both the wrap and to tighten. I have tried a number of different bridle materials... some look good but just don't hold up as well as the simulated sinew does. I really like the linen and hemp for it's looks but I had to always tighten the bridle all the time for shooting. I have some very nice thick waxed linen cord right now which looks like it's from the middle ages. I'm going to try it next but I'm pre-stretching it with wieghts for several months before I use it. I'm really hoping this holds up as well as the simulated sinew does.
    I normally get the simulated sinew from the leather factory.
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    Post by mac on Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:15 pm

    My experience of linen bindings is that they go slack in the late fall or early winter, when the relative humidity falls. When I was shooting regularly, it was part of my yearly ritual, to rebind any bows that I was responsible for sometime in early December.

    I think that the wood swells during the higher humidity of the summer, and the linen is permanently stretched. Come winter, and the wood shrinks again; leaving the bindings loose.

    By contrast, synthetic bindings are sufficiently elastic to remain tight through the cycle.

    I have a hard time believing that our ancestors had to rebind their bows every year. I continue to use natural material for the bindings in the hope that someday I will figure out what the solution to the problem is. I've tried wax soaked linen. I've covered the bindings with hide-glue-plasticized-with-tallow. (that's what I use on my servings) I've tried hemp, instead of linen. I've laid bone inserts in the binding hole of the tiller to see whether the problem stemmed from the wood getting crushed under the "corners" of the binding.

    So far, nothing solves the problem.

    Mac


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