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

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    Wood crossbow

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    trufflehound
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    Post by trufflehound Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:57 pm

    My latest crossbow, all wood and hemp and finish. Ten inch powerstroke, 100# draw. Stock 35 inches, slightly longer than necessary. Verbs omitted entirely.
    Wood crossbow DSC03319Wood crossbow DSC03318Wood crossbow Th_DSC03314

    The stock is poplar, the trigger oak, the bow itself red oak backed with hickory, or pecan really. Finish is a linseed oil/polyurethane oil finish (This seemed to work well, but I saw a lot of miniscule cracks in the finish on the belly. Any experience?)

    The tiller is a little off, and it bends too much near the middle of the bow. I gave it some set near the end of the tillering process, so I can't do much about that. Crysals never mend.

    Here is a closer view of the fades. You can see the crysals. The bow still functions, but I don't have any similar bows to compare it to. Probably is somewhat sluggish, but it still packs a fair punch. Note that I used a rift-sawn board instead of a flat-sawn board. I think this happened because I read something Geezer wrote in an all-wood prod thread, saying that in crossbows the grain should run from top to bottom instead of side to side. I probably should have realized then that he could be talking about the stock.Wood crossbow DSC03320

    So there we are. Thought I'd share.

    Red oak is rather stiff and splitty, so I'd thought this would be my last red oak crossbow. But then yesterday I snagged a bunch or of red oak salvage boards from a faceframe, so I guess I must walk down that road a little longer. The constraints of a low budget.
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    Post by 8fingers Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:34 pm

    The chrysaling looks pretty serious. Try pushing a pin as deep as you can in about 8-12 places on both sides of each chrysal, (also known as fretting). These frets are compression fractures so the pin holes relieve stress on the fracture site.
    If you remove the prod before it fails, try removing the fretted area and gluing in a replacement section. See Traditional Bowyers Bible, Vol III, pages 206-207 for some suggestions. You might be able to splint it by lashing on short strips of bamboo to the belly side.Maybe pieces salvaged from a discarded tiki torch or a bamboo blind will work. The idea is to move the working part of the limbs out to the middle and away from the chrysals.
    Try gluing a backing such as linen, silk ( second hand store ties?) or brown paper bag to the back of your next red oak prod. A backing of rawhide will help your prod recover from being strung too long. After unstringing the bow, the rawhide will pull the set out of the limbs.
    Very nice build and I like your bow hanger.
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    Post by stoneagebowyer Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:31 am

    I like this crossbow overall. The chysals have doomed the bow, though, so I would say just make a new one. 8 fingers, set is permanent damage to the wood cells, and can't be really pulled out.

    You may want to try quarter sawn boards for your next bow, or a backed red oak board prod. If you have the time, ever think of harvesting a tree and making a self bow? If you can get access and permission, and have a few hand tools, this may be a rewarding way to go.

    Over on the Primitive Archer website right now is a fascinating discussion of a technique for tillering called the piller tiller technique. I have a Roman style crossbow in the planning stages, and am going t use this method for tillering the bow. Looks like a great technique for avoiding typical damage such as hinges and uneven tillering.
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    Post by Basilisk120 Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:28 pm

    Ouch, sorry to see the fretting, thats rough. But atleast the rest of the crossbow looks great and you got to learn a bit more about bow making on the way to becoming an expert.
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    Post by trufflehound Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:35 pm

    8fingers - there's a third volume? That makes three excellent books I should have. Hm. But the advice is helpful; I probably shall try one of those techniques once I'm done with my current crossbow project.

    Stoneagebowyer - I'd like to try making a bow from a stave sometime, but I live in the city. I'll see what I can do, though. If nothing else, I can get my hands on some broom.
    I'll look at the tillering thread. Sounds interesting.

    Basilisk120 - absolutely! I learned a lot, I had fun, it's much better than my previous projects, and it still looks good on the wall. The room did need some decoration, and it accomplishes that if nothing else.

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    Post by 8fingers Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:11 am

    There is 4th volume now.
    Watching a bow backed with rawhide pulled back to form after being unstrung for a couple hours is an eye opener and lets us peasants use sub-optimal woods and still run with the big boys.

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