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Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

Posted June 03, 2009 8:30 AM by Del the cat

I made this crossbow about 25 years ago, and it's been hanging in my garage ever since. There are a couple of details which I wanted to improve, and I'd noticed that the binding holding the D-ring on the front was frayed.

As you can see from the picture below, the binding failed catastrophically when I tried to cock the bow using its bending lever. The D-ring flew across the garage and was lost until Mrs Cat's detective skills located it!

The bow was then stripped down.

The main work I did was to make another horn clip to hold the bolt (arrow) firmly in position, and to forge two nails to attach it to the stock. The top of the stock is inlayed with a blank ivory shield. This always irritated me somewhat, so I engraved and inked a suitably "medieval" motif!

A new string finished the new work. The rest was cleaning and reassembly.

The revolving steel nut that holds the sting when the bow is cocked is rather interesting for two reasons.

  1. It appears that it won't fit into its socket.
  2. The pivot appears to be merely some string, as you can see in the picture below.

I'll explain. The nut is rotated and sort of hooks itself down into the socket. The whole socket acts as the pivot, with the load being taken on the front face. The socket was made by drilling a hole the size of the nut into a piece of wood. This is then let into a rectangular hole chiselled into the stock.

The string simply retains the nut to stop it falling out.

The binding of the prod to the stock is remarkably solid. The method is shown in the picture below. It's self-explanatory (I hope).

The steel parts cleaned lightly. They'd acquired a nice layer of rust over the years! The bow (prod) itself has a dull and slightly-pitted "authentic" look. It isn't really an authentic look, of course, as a sporting bow would doubtless have been maintained in a good clean state.

Editor's Note: Part 2 of Del's Archery Adventures – Crossbow Refurb will run next week. Del will discuss the bending lever, stringing the bow, bolts and shooting it.

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#1

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/03/2009 9:30 AM

Love the pom-poms! Are they for the cat to play with?

Is that a "cat and crossed bones" or "cat and crossed bolts" now engraved on the shield?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/03/2009 10:27 AM

Crossed bolts, I'll post a close up later.
Not sure why they had the pom poms...to cover the holes? Purely decorative? To clean bolts on?
Del

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#23
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:06 AM

Are you sure the "pom poms" don't signify that it's a male crossbow?

I pickup a "crude" crossbow in the Philippines some years ago. The "bolts" are crude, but it works. Not a work of art...

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#26
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:15 AM

Any chance of posting a photo?

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#3

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/03/2009 10:44 AM

Nice work Del,

And yes, that rolling block system is unusual....

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#4

Ivory shield closeup

06/03/2009 3:37 PM

Dunno what gave me the idea for this motif
It looks a bit scratchy, but that's blown up to about 9times the area.
Del

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Ivory shield closeup

06/03/2009 3:44 PM

Cannot think of anything more appropriate!

Nicely done!

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#7
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Re: Ivory shield closeup

06/03/2009 3:51 PM

Cheers, there is actually a heraldic precedent...!

But Thats one ugly mother, and I have tried to make it look slightly medieval
Del

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#8
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Re: Ivory shield closeup

06/03/2009 11:45 PM

Maybe you can update it to a hello Kitty design?

Anyway what is the reason that crossbow lining deteriorated so much? choice of materials? no maintenance?

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#9
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Re: Ivory shield closeup

06/04/2009 2:32 AM

I think the deterioration is due to environment/neglect and maybe insects, the garage where it was hanging up has the back door left permanently open (as a cat refuge...'cos I'm too old to get back in the cat flap when I go out at night...well I could get in, but I'm just plain awkward) so it gets cold and possibly damp in winter).
The horn clip has a couple of spots where it looked like it had been nibbled by an insect.

The String for the binding is waxed hemp twine, I also soaked it in a melted mix of beeswax, boot polish with a splash of neats foot oil to soften it (That's my secret formula so shhhhhh)

Del

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#10
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Re: Ivory shield closeup

06/04/2009 3:25 AM

Oh yes, maybe the original binding was Sisal which isn't as good a Hemp, I'm not sure.
The hemp I used this time is rated at 140lb and there's plenty of it wrapped around that ring.
Del

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#11
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Re: Ivory shield closeup

06/04/2009 4:13 AM

Purrrrrrfect!

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#6

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/03/2009 3:50 PM

Excellent exemplar of project posting prowess!

milo

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#12
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 7:55 AM

It does look pretty dang good, doesn't it? I'm impressed. Not your typical scratching post at all! Now, how accurate is it?

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#13
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 8:02 AM

how accurate is it?
Hmmm, have to wait until I've made up a set of bolts...I'll let you know next week.
It may be a case of how accurate I am tho'
I have tested it...I hit the gold at 2 foot, It went through three layers of larget foam and pierced the steel leg of the folding workbench which I'd propped the target against.
Del (every man is his own safey officer)

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#18
In reply to #13

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 9:30 AM

"Good evening. Here is the local news."

"A small cat created a stir in Harlow today by firing a KrisDelTM crossbow. The bolt from the bow caused local damage and pierced the leg of a Workmate bench, much to the consternation of neighbours. Police have now cordoned off the area and are said to be looking for the perpetrator, who seems to have fled the scene via an insecure cat flap, accompanied by a red squirrel. A police helicopter is scouring the area looking for clues."

"Local community leaders have expressed concern. A neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said, 'He's been playing with that thing for a while now and it's only a matter of time before some real damage gets done. People don't want to live round here any more and you can imagine what it's doing to house prices. It's a catasptophe.'"

"Police are looking for a small, white, furry cat that answers to the name of Del. Anyone with information on a sighting is asked to get in touch by phoning the Incident Room on 01279 999 999, and not to approach, as the cat might be armed and dangerous."

"In other news, Police raided a lock-up in Etherville today to find a stash of crossbow bolts and a broken cast iron bath. They think the two incidents may be related, and anyone with information is asked to get in touch."

"Now the weather for your area...."

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#19
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 9:37 AM

Speaking of which - where HAS our squirrel been lately?

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#20
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 9:53 AM

He's there, watching, waiting, biding his time, looking for our weaknesses, choosing the right moment ...

Be afraid, be very afraid.

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#22
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:04 AM

Parents all know:

When you can't hear the little darlings, that's when there's trouble afoot!

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#30
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:19 AM

I'll certainly second that - but I refuse to fear the furry rodent.

And I certainly am glad I have no responsibility to raise him (as well as it being waaay too late I think)

So with no responsibility for the consequences I get to enjoy him

Sign on coffee shop gift shop wall

"Children left unattended will be given a double espresso and a puppy"

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#31
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:34 AM

"Children left unattended will be given a double espresso and a puppy"

PMSL
Del

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#33
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:51 AM

"Children left unattended will be given a double espresso and a puppy"

Classic

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#38
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 1:18 PM

<SNORT-choke-guffaw>

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#32
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:38 AM

<....watching, waiting, biding his time, looking for our weaknesses, choosing the right moment ...>

The papperazzi have just sent in the phollowing photo. They've both escaped under cover of darkness!

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#35
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 12:12 PM

I suspect that this crossbow project has been merely a neat diversion to keep us occupied while the squirrel half of the pair was artistically burying his acorns in a nearby barley field:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/8081771.stm

I expect there's some KrisDelTM Jellyfish beer being made from the barley removed.

If a cat and crossed arrow circle shows up, we'll nab you boys!

milo

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#21
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:03 AM
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#24
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:08 AM

Ftang ftang olé buiscuit barrel...indeedy

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#27
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:16 AM

Wasn't he one of the von Ulm's?

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#34
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 11:13 AM

And you, missy!

Just where do you get off!

Popping in and popping out

throwing Python links about

screwing up the sense of right,

(fighting punning with all my might)

poor rakesh has had his fill

my doggerel doth over-spill

Where ya been so long?

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#36
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 12:24 PM

& what of you?

you used to be so quiet! just the occasional post.

Then you take a gig in the northeast & never shut up

You seem to pop up everywhere I go

now del has started this new bit of silliness which may rival beloved bath [only time will tell]

Didn't we all just know that RCE was going to get his come uppance over the breast cancer crack

Dr Doug makes me want to do something terribly anti social, my comments were nearly incoherent, I was literaly sputtering....LOL [I know not the same thread], b ut apparently it ok to wreck the world economy to keep the privigled class in Lear jets & summerhomes, under the guise of free trade.

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#37
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 12:56 PM

Yeah, oughta be working but instead tearing off rants to the AP.

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#39
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 5:12 PM

That does go along with rodger's latest media rant. The AP just like almost all of the media is about entertainment not information... Back in the old days there was the fairness doctrine, before it was trashed by the conservatives in favor of profit. I'm not sure that would you get a rebuttal as a counterpoint to stupidity or just plain laziness

I also enjoyed the education thread from a few days ago. Of course learning as fast as possible makes more sense than hanging around waiting for the slackers to catch up, tradition[s] be dammed

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#40
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 5:19 PM

I am afraid I rant when I just can't take it no mo' as opposed to the possibility of making any substantive change.

But I *did* take particular pleasure in nailing the AP for breaking the AP Style Guide.

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#41
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 6:17 PM

I've been job hunting lately

the most amusing job :

Director of 1st impressions

[just in case you think I'm making it up]

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#42
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 7:41 PM

Unfortunately, seems you have to register to get through to that link - & I really can't be arsed (self-employed for last 10 years & no intention of changing).

Any chance of a cut'n'paste, please?

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#44
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 9:39 PM

Just for you John

Job Number:
300191-8270-10-243957

Add to Cart

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Location:
Fresno, CA

Description:
Volt Workforce Solutions has an immediate opening for one dynamic customer driven individual. If you have a passion for helping others reach their potential learning capabilities, please submit your resume now. This critical position will be anchor of integrity that cements the organization in the heart of the Central Valley. -The Director Of First Impressions will greet customer via phone and in person with warmth and compassion. -The Director will also be responsible for carrying out the mission of the company while articulating the various training programs offered and scheduling activity. -Performs routine office/clerical duties. -Provides reminder calls for appointments and follows up with potential customers. -Daily communication in written and oral form with customers and clients. -Provides basic salesmanship to customers via phone and in person.

Requirements:
-Selected candidates will thrive on the success of others. -Proven experience in displaying a caring and respectful attitude towards others. -Demonstrates techniques for communicating with difficult clients. -Proven record of providing phenomenal phone skills in a sales and customer service environment. -Successful candidates will have a willingness to serve others. -Good memory and processing skill are also required. -Computer skills are mandatory. -Ability to organize and prioritize in a manner that is effective for the company as well as the customer.

Type:
CONTRACT

Duration:
Temp to Hire

Payrate:
DOE

Contact:
Volt Services Group
726 West Barstow, Suite 108
Fresno, CA 93704
Phone: 559/435-1255
Fax: 559/435-5987
fresno300191@volt.com

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#46
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 2:41 AM

So that's a receptionist/telesales position then?

I'm director of the Toxopholy realisation facility here in Harlow.
Del

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#47
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 3:09 AM

I was thinking similar, but with a bit of Walmart/B&Q style 'greeter' added in. Wonder if a qualification in Small-scale Retail Goods Transport Facility Marshalling1 would help?

1 Recovering shopping trolleys from the car park .

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#53
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Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 7:39 AM

My vocabulary is yet again enhanced

Hat tip, sir!

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#60
In reply to #46

R Del’s er Adventure fur Part

06/06/2009 8:49 AM

Welcome to the department of redundancy department

I do sputter & or stutter when I write or speak

& don't always proof

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#61
In reply to #60

Re: R Del’s er Adventure fur Part

06/06/2009 7:10 PM

deep man

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: R Del’s er vent Part

06/06/2009 7:30 PM

Good thing I have my waders handy

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#52
In reply to #41

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 7:34 AM

Skip the flawed link and post the job - c'mon! I wanna see!

Shoulda shut up and kept reading

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#51
In reply to #40

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 6:26 AM

Ah...found the AP Rant...off to read it.

Garth - what was the Education rant?

All this is a bolt from the blue (just to try to keep us somewhere close to the topic)

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#58
In reply to #51

Del’s Arse (Part 1)

06/05/2009 10:58 PM

Oh boy a new game

Since the title is very long, delete out some letters to form new messages

As requested a link to a thread about education: http://cr4.globalspec.com/blogentry/9112#newcomments

Maybe rant was an overstatement, but del & edignan had actual relavant comments

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: Del’s Arse (Part 1)

06/06/2009 3:37 AM

Since the title is very long, delete out some letters to form new messages.
Brilliant, PMSL, but isn't 'delete out' a tortology (oooooh lah de dah).
Del

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#57
In reply to #36

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 5:32 PM

PMSL!

On the road, wife's in AZ, no honey do's or other pleasant distractions, pounding hours writing docs and tests I can't run yet.

And there CR4 is - sitting down in my tool bar saving my sanity!

As for Douggy, well ya know

"Isn't it nice that slow son of the Hirschhorn's found some way to occupy himself"

We are probably lucky such a famous person is willing to drop his bon mots of wisdom here.

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#25
In reply to #13

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:10 AM

Very nice work Del. I love the cat and crossed bolts.

Skewing off on a tangent about arrow and bolt accuracy, I remember a Scientific American article about arrow and bolt trajectories that came up with a surprising effect. In the instant of release, as the cord impacts its force on the bolt/arrow some of this force slightly flexes the shaft off of the centerline. Inertia of the head, material of the shaft and all the usual fun of vector mechanics effect how much of an effect. But this causes the shaft to flex the entire time of flight. The article claimed that this flexing and the higher force of a crossbow was why bolts had to be shorter than arrows. Shorter shaft means a stiffer shaft and thus less deflection. (Please, no silly comments. Just giggle and move on. ) This flexing then meant that accuracy had a limit independent of the archer and wind conditions.

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#28
In reply to #25

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:17 AM

The flexing of the arrow around a longbow is the archers paradox, as without the flex the arrow would shoot off to the left. I posted a link to nice slo mo video of flexing arrows a while back.
I've found the thread...dunno if the link is still good, it's worth a look if it is.
Del

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#29
In reply to #25

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 10:18 AM

All true. I was offered a PhD to study this effect in javelins. I sometimes wonder how different my path would have been if I'd taken it...

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#14

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 8:30 AM

Nice work Del!

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#15

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 8:43 AM

Very nice! Del you do beautiful work. Is the bow part made out of spring steel or is it plain mild steel? If you can could you send us some side view pictures? I am unclear how you would cock it and hold it back till you want to shoot it. It looks to me like it would take allot of force to get that bow to bend. I would think you would need some sort of lever to get it sprung back.

I recently went to see the first emperor of China's life sized clay army exhibition in Atlanta Georgia. I was impressed to see they was using forged bronze standardized interchangable parts for crossbow trigger mechanisms as well as arrowheads in 200 BC or so. According to the display the fact that they did this gave them a nice military advantage in the day.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 9:18 AM

Cheers,
It's a bit of car leaf spring, it needs a bending (cocking) lever to load it.
Part 2 (next week) will show how it cocks and shoots, I'll take some video and some nice pics.

It's about 275 lb draw weight if I recall correctly (my current test rig only goes upt 100 lb)

You've actually pointed out why I make some of this stuff! It's so I can see how it actually operated
Del

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 9:24 AM

I went to the First Emperor exhibition when it was in London 18 months ago. It was facinating. Did you see the clay model of the production line showing how the (terracotta) horses were made? And the mass producted drainpipes.

Has the Tutankhamun exhibition reached you yet? Or did you have it first? We had them at the same time - I booked my ticket in March 2007 for a visit in December (it was my birthday treat to myself). I was just lucky the Emperor's stuff was in town at the same time - two days of museum "trotting".

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#43

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/04/2009 7:58 PM

Did you make the trigger-nut-thing1? What's it made of (type of steel)? Your workshop/garage/kitchen table? Musta taken hours!

1 Thought maybe you fitted Kris with a set of & got him to nibble it .

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#45
In reply to #43

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 2:36 AM

Yup, all hand made the only power tool was a drill press (pillar drill).
The trigger mechanism is case hardened, I did it in the coal fire (didn't have central heating then)
Where I worked at the time had 2 nice big skips full of metal off cuts from the machine shop.

Oh, I did use a grind wheel on the bow (in my luch hours)...some pillock from the machine shop came up to me and asked 'That's not Aluminium your grinding is it? ' in a grumpy fashion...just 'cos he thaught I was another twat in a suit. What a pillock, he should be able to tell from the sound and the soddin' great sparks what the material was.
Del

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#48

Trigger Mechanism Diagram

06/05/2009 3:16 AM

First sketch shows it ready to be cocked, as the string comes back it pushes the nut back into the cocked position shown in the second pic.

Del

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Trigger Mechanism Diagram

06/05/2009 3:26 AM

I used a greatly-simplified version on a catapult-elastic-powered1 crossbow I made when I was about 15. Used a bit of flat steel with a notch in the top instead of the nut-thing, pivoted on a bit of 6" nail.

1 4 strands of ¼" elastic each side, with piano wire for the bit in the middle where the bolt goes.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Trigger Mechanism Diagram

06/05/2009 3:39 AM

The old rubber can really pack a punch...not to be underestimated.
I wasn't into catapults myself, but one of my mates was a lethal with one.
Del

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#54

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 9:44 AM

Del, A friend of mine came over last night to show off some arrowheads he had found in a field near my shop yesterday and it got me to thinking about the point you just finished for your x-bow. I was wondering if you have ever considered making or using a stone point for your crossbow? I would think that by the time the x-bow was invented metal working had came along enough that stone points were not used anymore but not sure of this. I would never want to jeopardize an ancient point but I know a hobby flintnapper that can really make some fine looking stone points. He usually gives them away or sells them for a few bucks at craft shows and such. What has always been amazing to me is how symetrical and balanced some of those napped points are. Well anyways just wanted to run the idea by you and get your opinion.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 10:16 AM

Nice, not appropriate for the crossbow, but they'd be great to try on one of my 'primitive' bows.

Del

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#56
In reply to #54

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

06/05/2009 4:50 PM

In my limited experience with 'pretend' cross-bows, I think the problem would be preventing the arrow/bolt head just splitting the shaft on impact. These thing pack such a punch, I think it's probably essential to have a head with a ferrule to join to the shaft. My rubber-powered experiments often resulted in a bolt (make from a shortened wooden-shafted longbow arrow) going nowhere, having been split lengthwise by the string.

Whipping the shaft (with plenty of Cascamite) helped, but didn't solve the problem.

Doubtless 'The Master' will be able to tell the real story, but that's my experience.

This is not to belittle the napper's craft - I spent some time on archæo-whatsname digs (many years ago), and the worked flint found was a real eye-opener, in the beauty of the finds, and their durability.

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#63

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

10/08/2009 8:58 AM

Crossbow bolts traditionally were much shorter, and thicker than arrows. They also had a most interesting profile...a sort of "coke bottle" shape. I am certain they didn't do any wind tunnel tests to determine this shape, but probably figured out that if they lathed the shafts "that way", they neither shattered on launch or impact, and they flew farther. Also, as the bolt rides down the launch way, a "coke bottle" shape would only touch the bow in 2 places, always the same places, which would improve accuracy.

The fletching was often leather instead of feathers, the points were always socketed, and were forged square in section for maximum penetration, and easy withdrawal. Not sure why...possibly they were more expensive than self bow arrows and people that used these things in warfare would recover their ammo for re-use? Thats just a guess though.

Nice cross bow Del. Good job. Prettier than the one I made. Mine is too heavy to draw.

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

10/08/2009 9:04 AM

Ta,
I think the coke bottle shape also helps esure the back end is firmly in the 'runway' and stips the string slipping under it and throwing the bolt up in the air, less likely on a modern crossbow with a groove in the stock which lets the bolt sit lower.
Del

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

10/08/2009 9:51 AM

Hey Del, With the autumn (the season for hunting and shooting sports) upon us, do you have any plans for another archery project? With a new job I've been too busy to keep up...perhaps you have something going right now?

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: Del’s Archery Adventures - Crossbow Refurb (Part 1)

10/08/2009 10:45 AM

Hi, I sold a bow a while back, nice primitive made of Hazel, it finances the hobby (I showed it on Archery Interchange). I'm working on a Yew longbow and have permission to cut a nice piece of Yew which should yield 2 staves.
Pretty busy here with family stuff here, but looking forward to finding more timber over the winter and finishing the Yew longbow.
Good to hear from you.
Del

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