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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Wed 23 Aug, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Historic Crossbow Prods         Reply with quote

I have a few questions for any medieval crossbow enthusiasts here.

1) Did they ever cover steel crossbow prods with something like waxed linen (noticed a medieval steel crossbow on Todstuff with a linen covered prod) or paint the prods to rust proof them?

2) Same question for composite crossbows, I know they used birch bark and I have heard of leather and parchment being used. Tod has a bunch of composites with linen covered prods. I have also heard of these composite prods being covered with snake skin?

3) Has anybody ever tried to create a fake composite prod, i.e. of steel or wood/fibreglass and then beefed it up to look like a 14/15th century composite prod? What did you use for the padding?

I want to try to build a 14th century bow but with a wood/fibreglass prod, mainly because I know that stuff and it does not snap clean through and fly about my ears when it breaks. Also it freezes a lot where I live and quite frankly the idea of a snapping steel prod flying around my ears is not very appealing. So clearly I'm wondering about period correct ways of hiding the fibreglass.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Aug, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When I was just a kid learning to fire a bow, my first was a fiberglass beginners bow. I eventually wrapped the whole thing in hemp cord and did the grip in leather. It looked great, and the mods didn't affect it's function at all. The hemp cord will be 'fuzzy' when first wrapped. I cured this by spraying it with hairspray, then setting it alight. The spray burns off quickly, and leaves the cord nice and smooth. I then sprayed it with a matte clear coat, and it stayed perfect. Happy ....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Fisher Lobdell




Location: Kansas city
Joined: 03 Nov 2016
Reading list: 14 books

Posts: 65

PostPosted: Wed 23 Aug, 2017 5:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am quite sure that the ones Tod makes, and also most of the other composite crossbows on the market are all steel or fiberglass dressed up like composite. I sadly haven't seen any real composite crossbows for sale at all. So for your question 3), Yes, and I think just fabric?
1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Absence of evidence is not necessarily the evedence of
Absence. Ewart Oakeshotte.
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Leo Todeschini
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, UK
Joined: 12 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 24 Aug, 2017 1:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kristjan Runarsson wrote
Quote:
1) Did they ever cover steel crossbow prods with something like waxed linen (noticed a medieval steel crossbow on Todstuff with a linen covered prod) or paint the prods to rust proof them?

2) Same question for composite crossbows, I know they used birch bark and I have heard of leather and parchment being used. Tod has a bunch of composites with linen covered prods. I have also heard of these composite prods being covered with snake skin?

3) Has anybody ever tried to create a fake composite prod, i.e. of steel or wood/fibreglass and then beefed it up to look like a 14/15th century composite prod? What did you use for the padding?

I want to try to build a 14th century bow but with a wood/fibreglass prod, mainly because I know that stuff and it does not snap clean through and fly about my ears when it breaks. Also it freezes a lot where I live and quite frankly the idea of a snapping steel prod flying around my ears is not very appealing. So clearly I'm wondering about period correct ways of hiding the fibreglass.


1. Yes they covered steel bows sometimes and painted them, notably off the top of my head one in the wallace, but this was covered in parchment.

2. you have to cover composite bows to keep the moisture out, so birch bark, snakeskin and parchment are normal, not sure if they used linen, but I do for cost reasons.

3. I use steel as the basis for my 'faux composites'.

Regards

Tod

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Paul Mullins





Joined: 22 May 2006

Posts: 120

PostPosted: Thu 24 Aug, 2017 2:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fisher Lobdell wrote:
I am quite sure that the ones Tod makes, and also most of the other composite crossbows on the market are all steel or fiberglass dressed up like composite. I sadly haven't seen any real composite crossbows for sale at all. So for your question 3), Yes, and I think just fabric?


Several years ago, I ran into a maker in Switzerland who made period correct crossbows and prods. I inquired as to what type of glue he used and I suggested a possibility of epoxy glue or some modern formula. He replied to me "I use horn glue, it worked for them and it works for me!" Apparently, he had been making these for years and they were currently being used in crossbow competitions across Switzerland. The largest one he had on hand had a draw weight of 200 Kilo Eek!
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Thu 24 Aug, 2017 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul,

Did you catch his name? I have not heard of anyone really doing composite crossbow prods.

Best,

RPM
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Peter Spätling
Industry Professional



Location: Germany
Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 117

PostPosted: Thu 24 Aug, 2017 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andreas Bichler from Austria is building composite crossbows. But he doesn't sell them, maybe he makes some for his very very close friends. Still they work fine: Medieval Crossbows
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Fisher Lobdell




Location: Kansas city
Joined: 03 Nov 2016
Reading list: 14 books

Posts: 65

PostPosted: Thu 24 Aug, 2017 9:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sweet Paul, Lets go to Switzerland! Wink
1 Peter 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Absence of evidence is not necessarily the evedence of
Absence. Ewart Oakeshotte.
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Fri 25 Aug, 2017 3:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
Kristjan Runarsson wrote
Quote:
1) Did they ever cover steel crossbow prods with something like waxed linen (noticed a medieval steel crossbow on Todstuff with a linen covered prod) or paint the prods to rust proof them?

2) Same question for composite crossbows, I know they used birch bark and I have heard of leather and parchment being used. Tod has a bunch of composites with linen covered prods. I have also heard of these composite prods being covered with snake skin?

3) Has anybody ever tried to create a fake composite prod, i.e. of steel or wood/fibreglass and then beefed it up to look like a 14/15th century composite prod? What did you use for the padding?

I want to try to build a 14th century bow but with a wood/fibreglass prod, mainly because I know that stuff and it does not snap clean through and fly about my ears when it breaks. Also it freezes a lot where I live and quite frankly the idea of a snapping steel prod flying around my ears is not very appealing. So clearly I'm wondering about period correct ways of hiding the fibreglass.


1. Yes they covered steel bows sometimes and painted them, notably off the top of my head one in the wallace, but this was covered in parchment.



2. you have to cover composite bows to keep the moisture out, so birch bark, snakeskin and parchment are normal, not sure if they used linen, but I do for cost reasons.

3. I use steel as the basis for my 'faux composites'.

Regards

Tod


I figured steel bow prods must have been covered, most of the steel bows that I have seen in museums are un-covered but they would have rusted like crazy under operational use if they were used like that and the rust pitting would presumably have increased the likelihood of a breakage. I've had good experiences with waxed linen on scabbards and it seemed a logical chose for a crossbow so I figured that must be what you use on your steel bows.

As for the composites I have only ever seen them covered with birch bark, I have only heard of them being covered with snake skin and only seen photos of one that was supposedly covered with parchment. That photo was in a German book but I presume they meant the thin parchment. the Germans tend use the word parchment for both the thin paper like hides (parchment in English) and the stiffer thicker plastic like hides 1-4 mm stuff (which the English and Americans call rawhide).

What do you use as padding for your 'faux' composites? I was thinking possibly using layers of leather or some kind of stiff plastic foam.
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 109

PostPosted: Fri 25 Aug, 2017 3:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Spätling wrote:
Andreas Bichler from Austria is building composite crossbows. But he doesn't sell them, maybe he makes some for his very very close friends. Still they work fine: Medieval Crossbows


For one thing these horn and sinew prods involve a ridiculous amount of work so they would be extremely expensive for that reason alone. This book I just got through reading on composite crossbows talks about a curing time of up to and over a year. So a real composite would be extremely expensive simply because cost of the materials not to mention the labour involved in cutting grooves into all those horn pieces, carefully gluing them together waiting for that stuff to dry, gluing on some more horn plates until you have a prod, shaping the ting, layering the sinew on and then covering the prod, storing it for a year only to then possibly find out there was a flaw in the gluing somewhere and have the thing break on you.

This summer I ran into some Austrian crossbow enthusiasts who seemed to know Bichler. They said he does not sell his composites because A) it's more like a private project for him, and B) he cannot give the 99,9% guarantee for traditionally made composite prods that you can give with prods made of high quality modern spring steel. Both are sentiments I can relate to that since I give the same answer for the same reasons plus I have a day job. For me this is simply the continuation of a childhood obsession.
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