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How to Make a Crossbow Out of Wood

In making of this crossbow it is best to use maple for the stock, but if this wood cannot be procured, good straight-grained pine will do. The material must be 1-1/2 in. thick, 6 in. wide and a trifle over 3 ft. long.
The bow is made from straight-grained oak, ash, or hickory, 5/8 in. thick, 1 in. wide and 3 ft. long. A piece of oak, 3/8 in. thick, 1-1/2 in. wide and 6 ft. long, will be sufficient to make the trigger, spring and arrows. A piece of tin, some nails and a good cord will complete the materials necessary to make the crossbow.

Details of the Bow-Gun and Arrow Sling

The piece of maple or pine selected for the stock must be planed and sandpapered on both sides, and then marked and cut as shown in Fig. 1. A groove is cut for the arrows in the top straight edge 3/8 in. wide and 3/8 in. deep. The tin is bent and fastened on the wood at the back end of the groove where the cord slips out of the notch; this is to keep the edges from splitting.

A mortise is cut for the bow at a point 9-1/2 in. from the end of the stock, and one for the trigger 12 in. from the opposite end, which should be slanting a little as shown by the dotted lines. A spring, Fig. 2, is made from a good piece of oak and fastened to the stock with two screws. The trigger, Fig. 3, which is 1/4 in. thick, is inserted in the mortise in the position when pulled back, and adjusted so as to raise the spring to the proper height, and then a pin is put through both stock and trigger, having the latter swing quite freely. When the trigger is pulled, it lifts the spring up, which in turn lifts the cord off the tin notch.

The stick for the bow, Fig. 4, is dressed down from a point 3/4 in. on each side of the center line to 1/2 in. wide at each end. Notches are cut in the ends for the cord. The bow is not fastened in the stock, it is wrapped with a piece of canvas 1-1/2 in. wide on the center line to make a tight fit in the mortise. A stout cord is now tied in the notches cut in the ends of the bow making the cord taut when the wood is straight.

The design of the arrows is shown in Fig. 5 and they are made with the blades much thinner than the round part.

To shoot the crossbow, pull the cord back and down in the notch as shown in Fig. 6, place the arrow in the groove, sight and pull the trigger as in shooting an ordinary gun.

The arrow sling is made from a branch of ash about 1/2 in. in diameter, the bark removed and a notch cut in one end, as shown in Fig. 7. A stout cord about 2-1/2 ft. long is tied in the notch and a large knot made in the other or loose end. The arrows are practically the same as those used on the crossbow, with the exception of a small notch which is cut in them as shown in Fig. 8.

To throw the arrow, insert the cord near the knot in the notch of the arrow, then grasping the stick with the right hand and holding the wing of the arrow with the left, as shown in Fig. 9, throw the arrow with a quick slinging motion. The arrow may be thrown several hundred feet after a little practice.

—Contributed by O. E. Trownes, Wilmette, Ill.

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