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

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    tower guard crossbow

    African Archer
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    Post by African Archer Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:22 am

    Hi guys just out of interest, the tower guard crossbow you see all over google images, was it an actual bow or just something from someone's imagination. I'm not interested in the product, but more the design having some historical background
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    Post by kenh Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:56 am

    If you mean the largish pivot-mounted crossbows still being shot at the castle in Lichtenstein, then yes, they are historically accurate 'light artillery'. I also believe that the Chinese used large heavy draw bamboo leaf-spring prod crossbows atop various fortifications.

    There are some fanciful google images that have no connection to reality, though...
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    Post by African Archer Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:53 am

    Hi kenh
    No not that one ,was refering to the one which has a rifle looking stock on it, with ornate silver work done on it. Id post a pic but cant get my ipad to select it.
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    Post by mac Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:22 pm

    You mean this, yes?

    tower guard crossbow 9k=

    It is a fantasy bow.

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    Post by ferdinand Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:32 pm

    Cant say i like it, it screams 'cheap replica'. But then again, who am i to judge.
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    Post by Geezer Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:26 pm

    Mac is right: It's a fantasy bow. By and large, you won't see any 'shotgun' or 'musket-butt' crossbows until @ 1650. By 1600, butts are getting a bit broader than previously, and real musket or shotgun-style stocks show up by 1700. So the gunstock-crossbow illustrated isn't very much like a medieval one at all. Geezer
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    Post by African Archer Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:56 pm

    Thanks guys, that is what i had thought, dose anyone have an idea where i can look for images of crossbows that first started getting butts, im very interested to see what they looked like.
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    Post by Geezer Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:55 pm

    Crossbows with real butts? Look for 17th century German clap-lock sporting bows. They have an enlarged butt that slopes backwards to our eyes... like guns of the time, they were placed against the pectorals, rather than in the shoulder. I think you'll find several in the that big book on crossbows from the Dutch army museum... by Sensenfelder.
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    Post by African Archer Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:01 pm

    Thanks geezer , my interest is in the progression from strait tiller to one which starts to expand near the end, i should say where the butt started to develop from, im not interested in the more rifle type, the book you mention, is it available to read on line.
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    Post by Geezer Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:06 pm

    Jens Sensenfelder's 'Crossbows of the Dutch Royal Army Museum' may be found here: http://www.armymuseum.nl/legermuseum.en/legermuseum.en/i000380.html
    A bit of web search should find your answer.
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    Post by Geezer Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:08 pm

    My error: It's Royal Netherlands Army Museum.
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    Post by Zardoz Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:28 am

    Butts have been getting even larger since the late 20th century.
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    Post by Geezer Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:35 am

    Mine certainly has. Too much fast-food, not enough walkies.
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    Post by ferdinand Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:28 am

    African,

    If u like any particular crossbow from the Royal Netherlands Army Museum i might have some good photo's for u.
    I dont know how detailed the pictures in the book are, but i got some good close-up pictures of most of them! They re-located the museum now so will be a while before i go there again.
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    Post by African Archer Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:24 pm

    Hahaha geezer, i think we all suffer with at from time to time

    Ferdinand i i dont have the book and havent found much online, maybe im not looking in the right places, but if u have any clos ups of engraving and carving on le crossbows i would love to see them, iv been doing so experimental electro etching and am looking for a reason to put some on a bow, really like the traditional stuff.
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    Post by Taxus Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:57 pm

    If you have a look at this link to the Glasgow Museum website it has
    an example of a 16th century crossbow with the transitional stock that widens at the end of the tiller.
    http://collections.glasgowmuseums.com/viewimage.html?oid=242708&i=392563
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    Post by mac Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:16 pm

    Taxus,

    It is true that the end of the tiller gets wider, but it is not intended to be put against the shoulder. That flat place on the side is where the shooter puts his cheek, so that his eye is right down the middle of the tiller.

    For that matter, a lot of 16th C firearms had cheek-stocks as well.

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    Post by ferdinand Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:16 am

    Taxus wrote:If you have a look at this link to the Glasgow Museum website it has
    an example of a 16th century crossbow with the transitional stock that widens at the end of the tiller.
    http://collections.glasgowmuseums.com/viewimage.html?oid=242708&i=392563
    Damn that looks a lot like the one i build! I love it!
    Makes me wonder if i should make a little adjustment on the tiller!
    Those germans could really make great bows!
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    Post by African Archer Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:29 am

    It is a very nice looking crossbow , I love the line so cleen and simple, Mac I do realise that most bows where shot from the cheek and I am not looking to build one with a rifle stock, but if I make a few sligh adjustments to the right style, it should be able to be shot from the sholder and that is realy the idea, I built my last one with hunting in mind and this one will be the same, when hunting season opens there is a very large bush pig with my name on it , what I would like to do , is grow the traditional crossbow following in south africa, trad archery , long bows, are huge here but no old school crossbows , I reacently had an article printed in the latest hunting magazine , about the crossbow I built, its not much but a start.
    But now I'm rambeling
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    Post by mac Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:17 am

    AA,

    Is is familiarity with shoulder stocks that makes you want to use them over cheek stocks? Over the years, I have taught a number of people to shoot medieval style crossbows. The ones who have experience with modern fire arms are always reluctant to get the tiller off their shoulder. When you get right down to it, though, the cheek stock is really quite ergonomic for arms with little recoil.

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    Post by African Archer Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:22 am

    Mac in hines sight it might be more stable, iv had plenty time to think , drove 2 hours with no radio to listen to, is there some where on line I can see a bow being shot on the cheek, I'm not sure I understand the way its done
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    Post by mac Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:46 am

    AA,
    There are some good period images, and I will try to see if I can find them online. In the mean time, there is this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvrQYeWR-3E At about 1:11 or so that is a good view of the archer holding the tiller to his cheek. (I don't know why he chose to dress that way for the video...)

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    Post by mac Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:55 am

    Here is a good one, by Holbein. I personally, like to put my thumb right against my cheekbone.

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    tower guard crossbow Hans_Holbein_the_Elder_-_The_head_of_a_crossbowman_taking_aim_-_Google_Art_Project
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    Post by mac Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:21 am

    Here are some more. I have snatched them from the Viking Sword forum http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/index.php? .....mostly from this thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7516&page=1&pp=30

    If you go through that thread, you will see that putting the tiller to the cheek is not the only way, but it is probably the "acme" of good medieval and renaissance form.

    Mac
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    Post by Taxus Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:15 pm

    AA,here's a video of a Medieval crossbow being shot the way Mac describes (and how I shoot mine)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIkxyjVu9gc

    The fellow in the video also makes some exceptional crossbows.

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