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

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    New member, first project - advice and feedback

    bpnelson
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    Post by bpnelson on Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:17 pm

    Hello, I have been browsing this forum for several months and have finally registered. I am looking forward to learning from you all.

    I have been practicing archery for about five years (currently 20 years old), mainly English longbow and eastern recurve bow. Since my current weapons of choice are at home with the medieval period, it seemed the next logical step was to acquire a medieval crossbow. I have decided to get into this crossbow building to see what all the fuss is about (and because it seems like a hell of a good time).

    Here is what I have ordered thus far:

    250 lb steel Alchem prod
    Alchem bow irons and stirrup
    Alchem tickler

    I have decided to use the rolling nut design, due to its simplicity. My questions are:

    1) Will the socket for the nut need to be strengthened due to the 250lb draw weight, or will the wood of the tiller be able to handle the stress (if a specific type of wood is needed, please advise)?
    2) Would you recommend the split half tiller or a single piece of wood? Is there any weakness in using two boards glued together? It seems that a single board would be the most durable, but two boards would enable very easy inletting for the tickler and nut.
    3) What type of wood would you recommend (especially concerning question #1)? So far I am looking at hickory, walnut, and birch (seem to be strong, love the colour).

    I know this is rather long winded, but I thought I'd cast my query upon the intellectual waters. Please voice any answers/thoughts/advice/ridicule/etc.

    Cheers!

    Brian


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    Post by 8fingers on Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:38 pm

    With modern wood glues the wood breaks before the glue. before you decide which method to use, consider your tools. Try making your nut socket and tickler mortise both ways with the tools you have.
    Hickory is tough stuff, making some long bows out of some now. Suggest you use a split stock for this wood so you can use a router to cut the tickler mortise. If you lay out your stock so you leave an extra 1/8th inch of wood for the top surface you can run it over a jointer after you have the socket and mortise cut and clean up the edges of the socket that get damaged with you inletting chisel work.
    If you do a split stock, consider making it over size and putting some locating pins in the waste. Make templates that fit onto the pins to guide your router, flip the templates and you end up with nice mirror image stock pieces.
    Caviate: I am a novice builder and this is the way I am laying out my stock. I am building my own prod. Pay close attn to Geezer and Lightly's advice, especially lightly's build along photos. I have also studied closely Darius's build along,but I don't know if it is still on the net.
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    Post by Lightly on Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:32 am

    bpnelson,

    Absolutely yes, reinforce the nut socket with that strength. A wood socket would compress quite quickly. I have many detailed photos of reinforcing sockets.
    You will find many different building styles here, and while I'd love to say that ours is the best, I'd be lying...
    Check out my build alongs, on Flickr, and Darius', and several more folks here... When you settle on a style, come pester, and you'll likely get more advice that you need!

    So glad you joined!

    Best;
    Lightly
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    Garvin the Slow
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    Post by Garvin the Slow on Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:04 pm

    I'm new to the Guild, So bare with me. I'm Garvin the Slow of slowbows crossbows, for the last 6yrs I have been making all the Prods for Alchem and Making crossbows on the side. I have made both stocks out of one peice of wood and 2 or 3 peice laminated wood. I have found with a laminated stock there is less chance of a stock warping. I also start with the prod and work my way back to the butt of the stock. I rough cut the stock,leaving stock all around and then I pre fit all parts on one side of the stock then the other. I only drill the pin holes for the rollar nut and lever on one side. I use the holes as piolets after the sides are glued together. Your 250# prod will be very heavy for most targets used in the sca and will probally blow through everything exchept new saunders matts or 2" or thicker effa foam. Most target archers use 100# prods for target. Garvin
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    Post by Gnome on Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:23 pm

    Brian,

    We're about in the same boat, I've been haunting this site for a couple months, right now waiting for the parts from Alchem- 250# prod, irons and stirrup, a couple nut blanks and strings. I've done about as much as I can do until they get here. Ideally I would have laminated 2 or three pieces together for the tiller, but I like to go with what I've got, when at all possible, and I had a single 1.5x6x36" piece of walnut so that's what I used. That choice led me away from the medieval style tickler to more of a modern trigger design, as the cavity was easier to cut out of the solid wood with the tools I have. Look forward to seeing your work.

    Jim
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    Post by jds6 on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:37 am

    Hello, just like bpnelson I too have been browsing this forum for several months. I am impressed with all the knowledge and insight of this forum to say the least! I am in the process of making my first crossbow, which to say I am very excited. I have already made the tiller, using 3 pieces of oak glued and doweled together. I am looking to order the prod, bow irons, stirrup, and tickler from Alchem. My question, is 120-140# prod to much to handle the wooden bolts that I have seeen for sell online at different sites.(except Olden Bolts which is now out of business) Any insight would be great! Thanks in advance, jds6
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    Post by Geezer on Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:42 pm

    Geezer here: Alchem prods of 150 lb. or less should work nicely with ordinary cedar-shaft bolts, mounted with heads of 125 grains or greater. For bows above @ 175 lb. I recommend going to a hardwood shaft and heavier heads... say 150-160 grains.
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    Post by jds6 on Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:50 pm

    Thanks for the info Geezer, do you know where the best place to purchase such bolts? Thanks again jds6
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    Post by jds6 on Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:16 am

    Almost finished with tiller, taking a bit since there are no power tools involved. Its really alot of hard work since this is my first crossbow. I need some input on the bolt groove , how wide, how deep, does it need to be v-shaped or can it be semi circle??? Any help would be great. Thanks, jds6
    bpnelson
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    Post by bpnelson on Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:37 am

    Thanks for the info.

    Jim - when did you order? The guy at Alchem said my prod and parts are shipping this Saturday.

    On the subject of bolts, I can order 1/2" shafts and 1/2"-socket bodkins from longbowandarrow.co.uk at about $4 per bolt.

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