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15th century style crossbow

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stuckinthemud

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This is one of my long term projects, been fiddling with it off and on since early 2018 but there was a delay of 18 months trying to get the metalwork sorted.
The prod is yew and sinew covered in birch bark. The base coat of oil paint took so long to dry I gave up adding any more coats so it is what it is. Draw weight has been tested to 110lb at 10 inches but the prod is only drawn to 8.5 in this tiller, so 75lb.
The tiller is hawthorn, the inlays are cow bone for the spine, water buffalo horn and antler for the carved ivories. The black engraving is v-tool work filled with a varnish/charcoal mastic. The string is linen and awaitin its centre serving.
 

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stuckinthemud

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Not an English style, more along the lines of a Saxon/Austrian type from mid to late 15th century. It's in the spirit of a high status weapon but not an exact replica.
 

Cabinetman

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I guess the prod is the main section? Tiller the front bendy bit?
What is the strange shaped bit underneath?
Lovely looking thing, have you made any bolts yet?
You maybe should change your name to Bernie!
 

Orraloon

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Thats a great bit of work and really looks the part. Does have the look of those continental hunting crossbows. I take it the decoration would haven taken a lot of time. I used to make archery bows and always had an urge to make a crossbow but its a prohibited wepon here in Auatralia so would require a firearms licence.
Have you had a chance to try it at a target to see how it goes. Also do you use a cocking leaver as I notice a steel cross pin on the tiller. You will have to keep it someplace dry and warm as the English climate will take the zing out of the sinew.
Happy shooting.
Regards
John
 

dzj

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Looks really, really good!
Could you post a short video how the thing works?
 

stuckinthemud

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Umm ok, so the bendy bit is the prod, an American term, but the most common name for it in the Internet. In the UK/Europe we would call it a lath. The stock is known as a tiller. The mechanism is a pivot arm (the twiddly bit underneath, ot tickler) that locates in the base of a rotating cylinder (nut) which has had a quarter cut out of it. The string is pulled into this cut out. The tickler pivots out of the cylinder, releasing it and the string is pulled forward by the lath.

I don't need a cocking lever with this light weight lath but if I upgrade at any time the bar is in place.

It doesnt go very well, about 100fps, the same as a 25 or 30lb bow, that 6 inch power stroke is really inefficient. Making some bolts is next on my list.
 
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Lons

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I really like that. (y) Pity you've missed the Game of Thrones filming or you could have gone into mass production.
 

TRITON

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Pics (or vid) of test firing ?.

we used to make crossbows up as kids. A simple cross of two pieces of wood, a nail in each end of the cross member, joined elastic bands stretched between the two and dolly wooden clothes pegs for the ammo. You knew all about it when you got struck in the head by a rapid moving dolly clothes peg :LOL:
 

Cabinetman

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Pics (or vid) of test firing ?.

we used to make crossbows up as kids. A simple cross of two pieces of wood, a nail in each end of the cross member, joined elastic bands stretched between the two and dolly wooden clothes pegs for the ammo. You knew all about it when you got struck in the head by a rapid moving dolly clothes peg :LOL:
Idylic, fallen apples stuck on the end of a whippy garden cane could really move as well.
 

Orraloon

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Umm ok, so the bendy bit is the prod, an American term, but the most common name for it in the Internet. In the UK/Europe we would call it a lath. The stock is known as a tiller. The mechanism is a pivot arm (the twiddly bit underneath, ot tickler) that locates in the base of a rotating cylinder (nut) which has had a quarter cut out of it. The string is pulled into this cut out. The tickler pivots out of the cylinder, releasing it and the string is pulled forward by the lath.

I don't need a cocking lever with this light weight lath but if I upgrade at any time the bar is in place.

It doesnt go very well, about 100fps, the same as a 25 or 30lb bow, that 6 inch power stroke is really inefficient. Making some bolts is next on my list.
Thats the trouble with crossbows having such a short power stroke. At 75lbs a regular bow is a serious weapon. I guess its why England stuck with the longbow. Much easier to build also.
I was lucky enough to find a copy of the Crossbow written by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey. He had an interest in old weapons and built a copy of a military crossbow at 1200lbs. Another neat item was a Chinese repeating crossbow with a magazine. Load it up and pump the leaver. A great read for those with an interest in things arbalistic.
Regards
John
 

TRITON

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Wasn't the reluctance to switch to the crossbow more to do with rate of fire and distance ?. The longbow has those benefits over the short distance crossbow. I believe expert longbowmen could get up to a rate of accurate fire every 5 seconds. In comparison the crossbow looks like a hand gun comparing against an assault rifle 🤨
 

Trainee neophyte

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ke. At 75lbs a regular bow is a serious weapon. I guess its why England stuck with the longbow.
My understanding is rate of fire beats ease of use. Any plough boy can be trained to use a crossbow in a week, but to master the longbow takes years (30,000 arrows is a number I have in my head, but it may be apocryphal).

Having been sucked in, I found this video which shows a Japanese chap firing an arrow every 0.7 seconds and hitting all 12 moving targets. Not sure you can do that with a crossbow.

I was a big fan of Sir Nigel and The White Company when I was a lad.
 

TRITON

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" All English males over the age of 14 are to carry out two hours of longbow practice every week, supervised by the local clergy. This law dates from the middle ages when there was no army and is still in place today. "
Plus it was used for hunting rabbits and small game(small,hard to hit) so proficiency with a bow in the UK was a skill all men and boys practiced, just even to keep food on the table
 

stuckinthemud

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From the 11th to at least the end of the 14th century the English used more crossbows and spent more on developing the crossbow than any other European nation, the Royal army carried over 1000 crossbows in normal times and multiplied that during campaigns, there are records suggesting over 3/4 million quarrels, possibly well over a million, were in storage at one time. One of their main uses was defence of fortifications - "arrow slit" windows make no sense for longbow, but when you think of a pair of crossbows working a slit window they make sense. Above that were those crossbows on ships and protecting transport vessels on rivers. Not sure the longbow replaced the crossbow, more that it supplemented it - amongst other tactics, for instance, crossbows were used by mounted troops - sort of like dragoons, ride to position, dismount, supply artillery support, mount and retreat/reposition where necessary
 

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It seems I forgot to mention that the OP's crossbow is a thing is beauty, and an obvious labour of love. The machine crossbow is also fun, and such an obvious solution. Why have I never seen that before?

Edit: I'm supposed to be working, but now look what I found: full auto crossbow with 32 shot magazine - who can make one first?

 
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danst96

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It seems I forgot to mention that the OP's crossbow is a thing is beauty, and an obvious labour of love. The machine crossbow is also fun, and such an obvious solution. Why have I never seen that before?

Edit: I'm supposed to be working, but now look what I found: full auto crossbow with 32 shot magazine - who can make one first?

I think this guy's laugh wins today 😂
 

Cabinetman

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That was awesome, just hope it never falls into the wrong hands, his wasn’t particularly powerful but could still do some damage. Post earlier that said crossbows were illegal in Australia I think, I would hate that to happen here. Yes his laugh! Reminded me of Arnie
 
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