Moved this from a PM I bugged Geezer with.
Geezer Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:43 pm
Okay, let's talk about wood. Medieval crossbow builders used whatever decent hardwood they had available. Don't bother with cheap stuff, like pine, or really soft woods, like cedar. They're just not suitable for the strain. My favorite wood for crossbow stocks is cherry. It's fairly hard, but honest and easy to work. Mahogany, if you get the harder 'upland' stuff is very nice, easy to work and stable. The gold-colored soft coastal mahogany is a joy to work, but maybe too soft. What else works well? Walnut, oak, maple... they're all good.
You'll want a piece of wood that's straight and reasonably square, long enough to make your stock in one piece. The grain should run from top to bottom of stock, rather than across. 45 degree angle is okay, but across (quarter-sawn) is not good for crossbow stocks. For a typical medieval crossbow, I want 30 inches of hardwood, at least four inches wide and two inches thick. If you want to make one of the really fat Germanic stocks from the 16th century, you'll need wood 2.5 inches wide. so there's your start... get some wood.
More later, I've gotta go make some crossbows. Geezer.
crimbizzle Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:11 pm
I've made a couple longbows (loose definition, and none of them are even close to historically accurate weapons. One is more of a hybrid, almost a recurve, although it's not done yet so who knows if it may still blow up on me) so I have a few good bow woods on hand. Ipe, Jatoba and Hickory, all with straight grain, no runoff, and no knots. Also some purpleheart, but its really hard and brittle so it might be better suited for something mechanical rather than bendy.
You have New World Arbalest listed under web pages in your member info, is it your site? I love the First Book of Crossbows Pdf, very informative.
Also, would you mind if I moved this to the open thread I started? I'd love to get a good public discussion going about this.
By all means, move it to the public side of the forum
You have a lot of exotic and very hard woods in your woodpile. I would recommend you start with something a little easier to work. You're gonna do a lot of shaving, chiselling, etc. Geezer