17 September 2009

Great Moments In Crossbow Literature, Part 1

Dragons Prefer Blondes

05 April 2009

Great Moments In Crossbow Comics, Part One

xkcd does crossbows

19 January 2009

Great Moments In Crossbow Cinema, Part Four

Toofan: magician, crossbow sharpshooter

Toofan! Toofan the magician and crossbow superhero. You can’t really beat this one. Seriously, go read that review from Teleport City.


This series of stills may be all you need to see.

Chapter XXI, Part I

Payne-Gallway's Schematic for the lock-plate

Payne-Gallwey writes that “[t]he lock-plates—one on each side of the stock—are of steel, ½ in. thick” and that “their transverse screws strengthen the stock where it is cut out for the nut and its socket. They also “hold the nut, socket and trigger in position.” He then notes that “[t]he lock-plates … are morticed in flush with the woodwork of the stock, and close against the sides of the revolving nut and its socket ….”

My design for the shape of the lock-plate came from a crossbow I saw in a museum that was of the same era as Gallway’s design. Here it is after polishing:

The lock-plate

Morticing the lock-plate into the sides of the stock was long and thankless task.

Transferring the pattern

I started out by using a poor man’s milling machine …

Poor man's milling machine

… and finished the task with endless chiseling.


More bloody chiseling

The finished product:

The lock-plates set into the stock at last

Next up: the bow irons.

03 January 2009


The Compound Crossbow

Seriously!? Seriously!

Ok, honestly, I’ll pick this project back up soon but check out this picture from a book my friend gave me for Christmas. Is that not the coolest thing ever?

It’s from Richard Middleton’s outstanding The Practical Guide to Man-Powered Bullets: Catapults, Crossbows, Blowguns, Bullet-Bows and Airguns. If you are at all into this kind of thing—by which I mean hand powered shooty things—then you really ought to finagle a copy of this book right away. Middleton details the designs of several amazing contraptions, offers build tips for several projects and does the math on everything from draw weight to drag coefficients. Seriously: a must have book.

28 June 2008

Spectacularly Bad Moments In Crossbow Cinema, Part One

Van Helsing, giving a bad name to crossbows everywhere.

Seriously, this was a horrendous affront to crossbows everywhere. But even worse …

Van Helsing, the action figure.

07 September 2006

Chapter XXI, Part I

Payne-Gallwey suggests forging something with an artistic flair.

The trigger

Obviously, I do not have a forge…or artistic flair.

The trigger

And here is the completed lock:

The completed lock

The completed lock

05 September 2006

Great Moments In Crossbow Cinema, Part Two

Underworld Evolution (20o4)

04 September 2006

Chapter XX, Part Three

30 August 2006

Chapter XX, Part Two

After turning and milling this piece on a lathe and mill using electricity, I became curious how mediaeval balistaria accomplished the same task with only manual tools. The remarkable thing is that brass is quite soft and easily turned, but Payne-Gallwey describes mediaeval bowmakers turning sockets and nuts from blanks of steel. It is difficult to imagine turning steel by hand, even with a so called “pole lathe.” The answer “turns” out to be simply mechanical advantage. Old lathes apparently used a massive wheel rotated manually at first and by water by the end of the seventeenth century. Here are some links on the subject: