Thursday, 3 September 2009

15th Century German Sports Crossbow

I started this crossbow for a mate in 2009. The crossbow is based on the images supplied found in Galwey-Payne’s awesome book on medieval and renaissance crossbows (and ballistae).


The stock is made from Tasmanian Blackwood. I had a local engineering workshop make the hardware for the crossbow in stainless steel.

The stock was cut from a 1 1/2” thick plank of blackwood on the table-saw and then rough shaped on the bandsaw. Then I used rasps, chisels, planes, draw-knives and smoothing scrapers to finish the shaping.


The head has been rebated to accept the lathe.


The trigger was inset into the stock by matching the movement to the paired pieces.


The headstock is routed to allow the bolt to move in a controlled direction.

I made the cheek plate, trigger plate and siting plate from 16 gauge steel sheet and then etched the steel using the electro engraving method.




These certainly add interest to the piece and enhance the apparent age of the reproduction.

I made a timber finish for the crossbow by combining gum turpentine, bees wax and linseed oil (1 part each). The turps helps the finish to penetrate, the linseed keeps the timber cells from collapsing while the beeswax contains resin and helps to hold a polish. Also, the finish helps the bow to repel water and protects the steelwork.

I think I’d like to make some relief parts for the bow from cast aluminium or brass.

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