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Old 01-22-2008, 05:06 PM   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Default Making a home-made crossbow?

It looks like a couple of you guys have made your own midieval-style crossbows (Wyvern and Arthur P.). Could you guys answer a few questions for me? 1.Are your homemade crossbows heavier or lighter than the factory built ones (6# or so)? 2. What did it cost to build and where did you get parts? 3. I didn't see any sights on the ones in pictures I saw, do you aim "instinctively" or use the point of the bolt? 4. Have you shot these through a chronograph to see how fast (or slow) they are? I'm giving some thought to trying my hand at making one of these. It seems that the trigger mechanism would be the most challenging part to make. I think I would try to make a wooden prod. 5. How long would I need to make a wooden prod to make it last on a 125# crossbow (min. for hunting big game here in Colorado)?6. Can you keep a wooden prod crossbow cocked for a long time or do you need to let it rest more than a solid fiberglass prod? (anyone else with knowledge about homemade crossbows can jump in too). Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:56 PM   #2
Fork Horn
 
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

They are depending on the wood you use and if you tie on or bow iron the prod about the same or slightly heavier than a modern crossbow...

Well, cost of materials will vary depending on what you do. I sell my target ones for $435.00. The prods are only like $60.00(in steel) but there is a ton of labor involved and depending on how you make the bow it can "cost" you anywhere from $125-150ish to several hundred.

Go to Youtube and search Gunnvidr1 I have several videos up there that explain aiming and several other features of medieval crossbows...

Your milage may vary, but with a 454gr wooden bolt with a 105lb prod I clocked 164fps and my 185lb job hits about 200fps.

Check out http://www.alcheminc.com/crossbow.htmlfor plans and parts if you want to build your own. I have severly modified his original plan and have everything but the prod custom made by my machinist to my design, but his parts work well...If you want some options on parts, give me a shout I have my own inventory of components...

Personaly I am not a big fan of wooden prods. They have to be too long to work well on a medieval crossbow and in period they would either have been so heavy as to be impractical today, or laminated to last if they were not steel. Stay away from aluminum it breaks. I have seen some with fiberglass, but they were generaly very light prods.

A non laminated wood prod would eventualy take a set, so prolonged cocking would not be advised. I personaly use nothing but steel and have sat for hours with it cocked with no issues...

Hope that helps

Wyvern


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Old 01-22-2008, 08:12 PM   #3
 
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

Thanks Wyvern, very helpful and that is a very nice looking crossbow!!!
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:17 PM   #4
 
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

I just noticed, are those bolts 2 fletch? It looks like the rail only has a shallow groove and so the fletch must not run down the groove.
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:27 PM   #5
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

The target bolts use 2 fletches (very period) and yes that is a groove down the center. My hunting bolts use 3 fletches (like a 4 fletched arrow with one missing) also very period on later model hunting crossbows. It is nessicary with the large 160gr 2 blade broadheads...
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

like this one
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:29 PM   #7
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

Or another view...
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:31 PM   #8
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

OH...that lever is a prototype of a mechanical safety. I am actually revising it to work from below the bow rather than from the top
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:56 PM   #9
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

Wyvern has covered it pretty well. Only thing I have to add is, if you decide to do a wood prod, make it's lengthat least 2 1/2 times the draw length from nock to nock. 3X would be even better. The one I made was only twice the draw length and it didn't last long. A backing of some sort, like rawhide, will help one hold together better. A backing of sinew will not only hold it together but really ramp up the draw weight and performance.

But for that muchcost, a good steel prod from alchem would be far preferable. You can't keep a wooden prod crossbow bent, or even strung, for hours at a time or it will take a set and performance will go straight in the dumper.

Here's a closeup of the fletching on my bolts. I notice that Wyvern has gone an extra step and put nocks on his. Obviously, I haven't. Instead, I fletched mine so the string will run cross grain so the string would have a hard time splitting them. They fit right in with my cheapskate reputation too. I belong to an all traditional archery club and many of the guys shoot wood arrows. I pick up broken cedar arrows and turn them into crossbow bolts. Free ammo!



I do take some ribbing from the guys at the club but, all in all, they think my old timey crossbows are pretty cool.

I have not chrono'd my crossbows, butthe125 lb steel prodseems to zip these cedars downrange pretty quick while the wooden one was noticeably more sluggish. The bolts tipped with blunts do a number on small game, but I'd want to use a heavier wood, like hickory, maple or ash, for hunting larger stuff like deer and elk.

I'd like to make another crossbow this spring, with a stouter prod and using bow irons instead of bindings. I saw a crossbow recovered from a wreck of a Spanish galleon off the coast of Corpus Christi that I'd like to replicate.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:26 PM   #10
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Default RE: Making a home-made crossbow?

I am using Hexshafts, so the custom glue on flat nocks are just added insurance. I have done the flush cut cedar as well and they work fine. I do the slight heilical as well on mine...I also have my own bow irons that I use for the heavier prods. They do add some weight and make it louder, but they hold up to just about anything I throw at it..
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