I would like to build what I think I have seen termed a "fat German".
The one I really like can be viewed on the Swedish site at http://armborst.forum24.se/armborst-about103.html under the name "harvslak".
Trouble is, it's all very well trying to work off an oblique view photo, but there is nothing, like good front elevation and plan views, not to mention some dimensions to be able to construct an accurate reproduction.
Does anyone have any drawings or other photos, or do you all just start with a photo and come up with an "interpretation" of it?
Last edited by Ivo on Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:34 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Title)
I personally started with the plan from Alchem. Then used artistic license from there. Of course I do not try to duplicate merely follow the style. I do not think I ever used any hard numbers, the originals probally did not either.
Thanks for that Todd. It is as I thought, we have to just make the best we can from whats available. That's good cos I can blend some features from various other similar bows and not be too worried. We don't have any competitions down here for "most authentic reproductions" or anything like that so no-one is really going to know. Maybe one day I might get back to Europe and look carefully at the museum exhibits.
Baskethilt: Geezer here with some measurements. The 'fat german bows' that I label 5B in my catalog are indeed short and fat. Typical stock length: 23-25 inches. width of stock at lock, @ 2.5 inches and the same in height. (65-70 mm) Note that the roller-nut will be perhaps an inch and a quarter wide (say 3 mm) but you'll only see a quarter-inch or so of flat outside the nut. So the side of the stock has a lot of barrel-shaping. In cross section, the stock will be flat on top, maybe flat on bottom, and very round on the sides (some are actually octagonal) The head of the stock will be closer to 3 inches high (76 mm) and about an inch and three-quarters wide (@ 45-50 mm).. tapering out to full width at the lock and tapering again, rather abruptly, as you go back toward the tail. Most of these bows have a cheek-piece that goes out as wide as the lock... so you can probably cut it all at one time. Otherwise, just add a piece of contrasting wood to make the cheek-piece and it will look grand Draw lengths: Most of these bows have a fairly high brace-height for the string, particularly in steel bows. Expect 4 or even 5 inches of brace (100-125 mm) and 5 to 6 inches of actual power-stroke (125 to 150mm) That should put you in the right ballpark. Wood choices? Medieval bowyers used whatever hardwoods... usually fruit or nut-woods were available locally for stocks. I have seen oak, walnut, elm, maple, pear, and apple. Others are certainly possible. Make sure the grain runs more or less top to bottom of the stock, rather than side-to-slide. Hope this helps. Good building. Geezer..
Thanks Geezer. That makes interpreting the photos easier.
I made up a dummy in scrap timber last weekend just to see what the issues were and I cant work out how they mounted them to shoot. Is it supposed to rest on top of the shoulder or in the shoulder like a modern rifle? The false tickler/trigger guard appears to come too far back to make a top of shoulder mount practical so assume it fits into the shoulder
The whole thing seems very awkward. Its a wonder they were able to hit much with them. Baskethilt
The longer stocks were sometimes shot atop the shoulder, but short-fat German sporting bows are shot 'freehand'. The butt of the stock lies alongside the cheek, it doesn't rest against or atop the shoulder. This may seem silly, but remember that the projectile velocities are only about 200 fps. For shooting at longer ranges, the shooter aims over the arrow-point, then lowers the butt of the stock (since it's free of the body) until elevation is sufficient. You can't elevate a gun that's shot from the shoulder nearly so far before you lose sight of the target. I've been shooting medieval-style crossbows for about 30 years, and yes, I can sorta hit the target freehand at shorter ranges, but in fact, I brace the butt of my target bow (one of the longer ones) on top of my clavicle, against the trapezius muscle. Does that help?
It does help, thanks Geezer. Makes more sense now. I have just checked the dimensions on my mock up tiller against your measurements and I am surprisingly close in all respects. Just need a bit more "barrel" around the lock. It proves that close study of the museum photos and a pair of dividers works wonders. Thanks again. Baskethilt
So you are interested in building the little German crossbow *like in the forum header*?
A guy by the name of Mr. SAM that used to hang out with us in the very early days of this forum, drew up a few schematics. One of them was of a little German Sporting bow.
Since we are long ways from building crossbows that are authentic to boot, I think this should do pretty well as a guideline.
Also since we are talking about that bow, it's worth noting that the trigger was different from what we see on most bows.
Reason for such complexity is very short powerstroke and in those days they increased the power of the bow by increasing draw weight. All the weight of the bow was brought to bear on the sear and the trigger mechanism had to be unloaded to function. So there you have it, lots and lots of additional parts were needed to shoot the bow and a cranequin to span it.
There are quite a few variations of the trigger as you can see and since it's a set trigger, several of the components need to be reset with a special tool prior to spanning. You can see the tool in the picture below, as well as the pathways for it's insertion.
Is this what you were looking for?
PS: Please turn off "Caps-Lock"...when you type in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, it's considered "yelling" on forums and other online social networks. Enjoy your stay.
Last edited by Ivo on Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
~ "I don't have any special talents. I'm only passionately curious."
Thanks Ivo. I have a copy of that drawing and was using it as a guide. I have stumbled upon picture of that very Xbow in a museum exhibit. I can send you a copy of the photo if you haven't already seen it, but not sure whether I can find the web link for it.
The trigger mechanisms are interesting but look like a pain in the a.. to reset before shooting each time. There must be a better more modern way. Then again maybe there isn't; you guys will know.