Introduction: Simple Wooden Crossbow
I'd been kicking around the idea of a crossbow for a while. But what finally got me to start putting it together were some wood scraps lying on the floor after I'd cut out a longsword from a piece of plain old whiteboard. One of the pieces looked very much like the butt of a rifle. There were enough scraps to sandwich together the rough shape of a crossbow so I got a pencil and ruler to start marking.
It didn't really take but a few hours to construct it, however, I took step-by-step pics the whole way which slowed the process down. In the end I have a crossbow that will launch a bolt more than 100' feet.
Step 1: The Pieces.
Most of the components I already had on hand, such as the whiteboard, glue, screws, fork, tools etc. I went to Home Depot and Hobby Lobby for the oak strip, string, feathers and dowel. You could improvise, but I laid out a few dollars to save time and effort.
-(2) Red Oak strips 1/4"x2"x4'
-Some pieces of 1/2" thick white pine board
-Hot Glue Gun
Step 2: The Bow.
Alright, step one. When selecting an oak strip take your time and sort through them to find one that bends easily and evenly. By easily I mean that after bowing a few you'll notice the difference in how some strips are very stiff and some are nice and flexible. This is crucial because I've spent a lot of time making long bows that snapped on the first draw because I didn't select strips with good flexibility. Yes, I know, Yew or Maple would be better, but Home Depot only carries Poplar, Pine and Oak and this is supposed to be a bow on the cheap. Anyway, once you've found a strip that feels reasonably flexible make sure it doesn't twist when you flex it. Two fingers on each end and some pressure to make the strip bow is the method I used.
Now, since the string will be moving directly across the top of the crossbow, I didn't taper the cut symetrically. The top of the bow is horizontally straight while the bottom goes from the bottom-center to about 3/8" from the top on each end. This is to allow room to make the notches for the string.
Step 3: The Body & Stock.
Step 4: The Body & Stock Cuts.
Step 5: Assembly of Body & Stock
Step 6: Bow Attachment
Step 7: The Trigger
Step 8: Stringing the Bow
Step 9: Bolts
3/8"x12" dowels and feathers obtained at Hobby Lobby.