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

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+3
Todd the archer
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    Old Whamo Powermaster

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    PogoBob
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    Post by PogoBob Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:04 pm

    Trying to keep my ancient brain and body in shape I want to restore a 1960s Whamo Powermaster that was given to me over 40 years ago. This was before the stirrup and safety so am confused regarding the following: Did this model use a 2 or 3 fletch bolt as there is only 3/8" clearance between the channel and the L bolt holding the prod so that would require very small fletches. I think the bolts would be about 14" long with about a 120 gr point. I did find a new string and wrapped the prod with leather as a safety feature due to the age of the aluminum prod. The front sight is missing but I think I can fabricate something that will work. I will try to make some bolts out of some old arrows that I have. I haven't shot a crossbow in over 60 years but like the challenge or am I nuts and wasting my time?



    Thanks



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    Post by chaz Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:51 pm

    P.bob,

    Wasting your time and crossbows shouldn't be used in the same sentence there's no such thing! Go for it you'll find plenty of help here !

    Chaz
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    Post by Todd the archer Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:16 pm

    Not familiar with the Whamos but I think three fletchings would work fine if your are using feathers, or you could go with two fletchings to be safe.



    I believe Geezer is more knowledgeable on whamos maybe he will chime in.



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    Post by Geezer Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:54 pm

    Wham-O powermaster! My first crossbow was a wham-o. It was great fun. Wham-Os were indeed made for three-fletched bolts, with cock-feather down, but if your hold-down bolt is only 3/8 in. down, you may have to make the cock-feather very low-profile. You could always make it a bit longer... say a 4-inch feather rather than a 2 or 3 in. one if you fear it will unbalance the flight. Or you could fletch with two-vanes. They should fly just fine either way.
    The old Wham-Os were designed with a lot of string-drag on the top of the channel. If you shim the prod up a bit, you'll lose less performance to drag, but as it gets higher in its mounting-slot, two-vane bolts get to be a much more attractive option.
    Wham-O bows used an aluminum alloy (7075-t6) prod that was quick and efficient, but eventually the alloy either loses its spring and bends, or it work-hardens and fails... right in the middle, so it's really not likely to hit you, but a leather strap down the back or a very thin leather or rawhide wrapping will give you an extra margin of safety.
    If you're seriously worried about shooting a 40 year old aluminum prod, you can always replace. Alchem used to make asymmetric steel replacement prods for Wham-Os. Since their prods are pretty much all made by Garvin the Slow anyway, you might want to drop one or the other supplier a line and see if they have something in stock. You want a 31 inch prod, suitable for Wham-Os. They'll know what you mean.
    Then go shoot a bunch and enjoy.
    Geezer
    ps. No stirrup? No worry, just bend some 3/4 in by 1/16 inch mild steel into a stirrup-shape and bolt it to the bottom of the stock. The red-oak will take the strain just fine. And the fore sight was just an L-shaped gallows, pinned to the front of the stock, bent over the track. As I recall, they threaded the upper,bent end, (where you would hang the miscreant) and threaded on a little nut for a fore-sight. Just make sure it's mounted right at the end of the stock, otherwise the string will eventually knock it into the next county. Wheeee! Geezer
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    Post by chaz Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:25 pm

    P.Bob,

    Currently on e-bay there is an old whamo crossbow at $26.00 ends in about 20 hours, has the prod with it. You might check it out.

    Chaz
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    Post by PogoBob Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:34 pm

    Thank you for your help in this matter and I hope to get back to the project as soon as my nemesis Arthur Itis decides to leave my left shoulder alone after an early visit. The following shows just how things have changed over 40 years. a 1971 Herter's catalog lists a classic crossbow set for $37.95 that includes an 80 lb spring steel prod, target, field and broadhead arrow, pocket quiver, stringer, stirrup and instructions. Extra broadheads were 3 for $2.94.

    How's the Hill Country these days as I am from Helotes many years ago.

    Bob
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    Post by Geezer Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:08 pm

    Wham-Os and Pogo Bob. The Texas Hill Country is still out there. It's been mighty dry the last few years, but we're finally getting some rain, so folks can continue to take baths and drink something other than Shiner Beer.
    As for the costs of crossbows, I hear ya. Inflation over the last 40 years has been substantial. Broadheads at essentially $1 each... Presumably Herters could still make a profit at that rate. These days, buying materials in bulk, my target bolts are $4 apiece. Costs break down to approx. $1.30 for the 15 inch shaft, 31 cents for a field-point, and about 20-30 cents per feather, depending on what size. (2 feather bolts) Add glue and a certain amount of wastage due to warped shafts, crooked heads, etc. my actual COST per bolt is slightly over $2 each. It irks me to have to charge $4 a bolt, but if I'm going to make any profit, that's how it comes out. Strings that I used to charge $3 apiece are now $10. It's outrageous... but that's the way the cookie crumbles. Still making crossbows is about the best job in the world... just not very lucrative. Geezer.
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    Post by Litetriker Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:17 am

    I have been using my old Whamo Powermaster since shoulder surgery three years ago.  Have taken 4 deer with it.
    Found that accuracy was good with modern rubber feathers.  Just trimmed the cock feather enough to clear.
    Can still stick it in an apple at 60' about 85% of the time using the original sites.  At 25yd anything not spot-on
    is still within a kill zone for deer.   Draw weight is such that I can cock it by pulling with both hands and the butt
    against my chest.
    Bought mine in the late 60's through Popular Mechanics or Popular Science magazine ad but can't remember the price. 
    Can anyone help me on that.
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    Post by Geezer Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:20 am

    I seem to recall the price was around $29 in those days.  My dad bought one when I was about 16.  It was an earlier model without the sliding foot-stirrup.  And by the way, I believe you can get a replacement prod for your aluminum one... in steel of course, from Slobows.  The aluminum ones do wear out eventually.  Geezer.
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    Post by Hermit Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:49 am

    Thank you for the info Geezer,I can now say I have a Whamo,with steel prod.One other thing,Jeep's bow looked pretty interesting,but..........he used a fibreglass prod,so,still no split limb bow with a steel prod!.It has to be doable,but I don't think I'll do it,it would make an interesting project,but I'm looking at a bow for everyday use,and I would think there could be problems with a steel split limb,with the limb securing bolts coming loose,damping material between the limb and the securing plate might work,but at this point,I'm looking for what will work,not what might.
                                    One of the reasons I enjoy this website so much,is that nowadays,information is regarded as a commodity,one which people are cheap with,you want info,you have to hand over cash!here it is available for the asking.Looking at what you paid for your Whamo 40 years ago,and cheap chinese crossbows today,inflation is running at 100% every 10 yrs.anyone out there who can say that their wages go up 100% every 10 yrs. for doing the same job?.
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    Post by Geezer Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:05 am

    Geezer here about information exchange.  In the old days, when most production was handled by craft-guilds, the guild masters were very tight-fisted about sharing info.  To their minds, sharing information would lead to increased competition. 
    When I started in the crossbow-making business, I made a deliberate decision to share everything... proceedures, tools, sources, etc.  I figured I had a head-start in the crossbow fabricating business anyhow, and knew from experience with guitar-makers, that sharing info leads to better product for everyone... and indeed I think that's a key to the rapid growth of science and technology throughout the 20th century.  
    And yes, there are people who want Everything to be free on the web... which is not really fair to creative people like musicians and artists, and others who want to squeeze a penny out of everybody who asks a question... and that'll stifle growth.  Fortunately, on this site, it's pretty much all free.  And all of my contributions will continue to be so.  Hooray for information-sharing.  Geezer
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    Post by Hermit Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:49 pm

    I totally agree Geezer,sharing information usually results in more interest,and more and more oppurtunities.It also gives a great deal of satisfaction,knowing that you have helped someone achieve something that,without your help would not have been possible.
                     may your files stay sharp,your filing calluses never go soft,and your eye remain true.....................Hermit.
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    Post by mac Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:32 am

    I am with Geezer about information sharing.  In my experience of being a self employed craftsman since  c.1979, I have seen the full range of attitudes about "trade secretes".   With few exceptions the ones who will not share their "secret techniques"  are wankers.  Craftsmen of the first water don't worry about giving out secrets.  The are either so confident that they don't think it matters, or they hope it will spur some competition.

    I am currently reading a high grade violin building board, and it is the same there as well.  The best of them are willing to tell you their tricks.

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    Post by Hermit Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:16 am

    No craftsman should be worrying about sharing information,because in order to fully utilize said information,and profit from it,the recipient needs to have the same level of skill and knowledge that the craftsman does,and craftsmanship being practical,few do.
                                                         I'm with you Mac,when I come across the 'Merchant bankers' out there,if I'm not exasperated,or rude enough to say it,I'm thinking"You know,in a room full of wankers,you stand head and shoulders above the rest!"

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