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Crossbows (Read 2102 times)
english
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Crossbows
Apr 9th, 2004 at 4:58pm
 
Another post...  I want to know about complex crossbow mechanisms.  I know all the Chinese ones, from Chinese lock to rising pin and the little trigger one with the fat string... But I mean medieval European locks, or anything like that.  I have three crossbows, and I used to have a few more, but the prods broke, and they are "bespoke" prods, fitted for the stock, so I had to throw away the stocks too.  Anyone got information?
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Tuukka
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #1 - Sep 1st, 2004 at 7:24am
 
Medieval European crossbows had the simple rolling nut lock almost exclusively. Rising pins were also occasionally used on all-wood weapons. Things started changing when firearms entered the market and crossbow makers had to refine their products to keep up with the competition. As a result, there are a number of stunningly complex crossbow locks from the 16th and 17th centuries. the book European crossbows by Josef Alm has diagrams of these locks. You might find them somewhere online but I have no idea where. The Payne-Gallwey classic Crossbow also has drawings and explanations of a number of European crossbow configurations.
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #2 - Sep 1st, 2004 at 9:57am
 
I made a small crossbow using the rolling nut lock with the prod made out of sinew-backed Osage.   It worked great, just a little on the small side. I plan to make a full size one in the near future. I want to make the prod like composite ones: wood, horn and sinew. I can get cow horn fairly easy, getting the horn prepared correctly is a different story.  I think I got most of my info from the book by Payne-Gallwey,"The Crossbow"(which also has the chapter on arrow throwing).
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TNslinger  
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english
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #3 - Sep 1st, 2004 at 12:30pm
 
I am not sure I have the tools to make an effective rolling nut lock crossbow.  Besides, the rising pin mechanism is fine for the size crossbows I make (130lb absolute max).  I am trying to back a small prod (small, 12" - might make an effective crossbow for fishing, actually) with rabbit sinew, because I have it and can't think of anything else to do with it.  I already have the stock, and the prod this time is not, as previously, "bespoke".  Shouldn't break though, being backed, but it wouldn't be a great problem if it did.  The prod is ash, stock is from an old, dead birch tree.  I like both woods.
   I think crossbows are very enjoyable weapons to use - if they are reasonably well made, then accurate shooting is not difficult.  I have used my normal bark covered targets, and found that hitting the centre dot is not at all hard. I have totally porcupined a target from 20m, which doesn't sound much, but it is about the range I would hunt something at.  And quarrels are not difficult to make, being so short (6" is pretty much the max I use, slightly tapered wood).  Preferred wood is well seasoned ash, but hazel is ok.  Willow is far too light.  What do you use for your quarrels Johnny?
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #4 - Sep 1st, 2004 at 12:59pm
 
My quarrels are just simple dowels bought at the hardware store cut down and fletched. I didn't take the time to make them correctly. My crossbow was just a quick(somewhat sloppy!) project. I mainly wanted to see if the rolling nut lock would work. I know a guy who made one from a car spring(the prod), it would hurl a quarrel a quarter of a mile.
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english
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #5 - Sep 1st, 2004 at 1:36pm
 
My mechanisms used to be exceedingly crude, because I didn't even have any (even rudimentary) power tools, and carving holes in strong wood is quite difficult.  I have since started using a flint drill, which works excellently and quickly, for boring a starting hole into the stock, and a pole lathe, a rather large primitive power tool construction, which I use for smoothing the inside of the hole; a strong, abrasive fibre is also used with the pole lathe to cut a longer notch, amongst other things.  I can't recommend a pole lathe high enough - a good primitive skills project, and very useful to boot.  The flint hand drill is also a good project, and it is possible to use what would otherwise be waste flint.  And I know all this thanks to the wonder of the internet.
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lobohunter
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #6 - Sep 1st, 2004 at 4:07pm
 
well english how about posting some sights for the pole lathe and the flint drill
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bigbadwolf41  
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #7 - Sep 2nd, 2004 at 2:14am
 
english: great to hear about your primitive (the word is a compliment when I use it) tools; that's the way to go! I've made my two all-wood, rising-pin crossbows using the latest gadgetry; band saws, power planers and routers. It's easy, but won't help you a bit when you're out in the woods and your weaponry fails.

I use quite long (scots pine) quarrels with my crossbows; length helps stability when using lightweight, fast quarrels, and makes it easier to find them when stump shooting. 16" is about the perfect length for me.

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english
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Re: Crossbows
Reply #8 - Sep 2nd, 2004 at 6:57am
 
16" is way too long for me.  I tried using foot long quarrels, but they had a tendency to float - the heads needed to be so much bigger, that kind of thing.
  There are two reasons why I won't use modern power tools - 1. I don't have the money (although I probably wouldn't buy modern tools even if I did), 2. it isn't exactly primitive, and as you say, won't help you in the woods if your weaponry fails.  Although you do need an axe to cut the plank for the pole lathe table and lots of cordage.
   Just type "pole lathe" on google images and you will probably come up with quite a lot of sites.  You use the power of a sapling to turn a piece you are working on, so you can work it like you would with a modern lathe.  I use, like I said, an abrasive cord actually put into the hole to smooth out the hole.  The flint drill is basically a hand drill for starting fires with a tip of flint inserted.  I use a single stick, but put two heads on it, one at each end.  There is a smaller head, for starting making holes and other things, and a larger head, for making holes bigger, that kind of thing.  Ideally, a flint drill bit should have a nice three sided point, but a flat point is generally ok, so long as it is sharp and strong.
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