Thursday, 5 April 2012

A Mistake and a Steel Crossbow Prod

I walked up to the town through the woods, the sloe bushes in the hedegrow were in full bloom and in the woodland the bluebells were coming out.
I got home to discover I'd stuck the horn nocks on the wrong ends of the longbow! Fortunately I hadn't completely finished shaping them and there was enough bulk to file to the desired shape with the top nock fancier and more elegant and the lower nock more stumpy and rounded.
One of the guys I regularly E-mail was asking about pictures of steel crossbow prods, I recomended the Ralph Payne Gallwey book and then remembred I'd had a go at forging one about 30 years ago. A friend and I had bought an ex MOD portable farriers forge from Exchange and Mart, presumably left over from WWI when they had loads of horses still. The forge wasn't really big enough for the job, and I didn't have a proper anvil. Anyhow I had a go and worked out how to fold the nocks like a real medieval prod (see pics).
The problem with modern ones is they are too skinny and don't look right for a reproduction medieval bow. They use modern steels and are lower draw weights. To forge one you need something aproximating to medieval steel (I used EN8, which prbably has a different classification by now) and then you need to harden and temper it afterwards, which needs a big oven. So you see it's not easy which is why most people buy one or make one from an old car leaf spring. The one on my website is made from a car leaf spring with collars brazed on at nocks to try to make it look right.

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