Make a 100 Pound Medieval Style PVC Crossbow and Bolts

Introduction: Make a 100 Pound Medieval Style PVC Crossbow and Bolts

Hey everyone! Today we're going to be building a 100 pound medieval style crossbow with a PVC prod. While I use more expensive furniture grade PVC, this bow can be made with plumbing and electrical grade PVC to bring the total material cost below $10 per crossbow.

The stock is simple and is based loosely on early medieval types. The lock or trigger is also based on early wood crossbow triggers and is known as a pin or Skane lock. Using PVC, we can make a strong and reliable trigger mechanism with safety, a bolt retainer, and a stirrup. One of the biggest issues with the last 100 pound crossbow build along was how hard it is to string the bow. In this series we'll go over how to make a simple rope stringer to help make getting the string on much easier and much safer.

Thanks for watching and enjoy!

Material List for Crossbow -

32” long piece of 2x3 (1.5“x2.5”) lumber
49“ length of 1/2” Schedule 40 PVC electrical conduit
2.5“ to 3” length of 1/2“ dowel for trigger pin
Six 2” screws or similar fasteners
30“ long piece of 1” Schedule 40 PVC pipe
4 Feet of Paracord for string
15 Feet of Paracord, 10 additional for wrapping bow
10 Feet of 1/2“ or larger rope for bow stringer
Heat source (heat gun, torch, stovetop) and flattening jig
1/2” and 3/4” drill/spade bits and a drill or drill press
Saw, files, and sandpaper for cutting and shaping pieces

Material List for String -

Dacron or Polyester string material (approx 35 pound test)
Serving thread, nylon or other string serving thread
Serving jig or string server

Material List for 6 Bolts -

Six 3/8” straight grained hardwood dowels, 16-18 inches long
Six archery points, tie-in points, or PEX points
Twelve feather or plastic fletchings. Duct tape also works
Glue for points and glue or tape for fletchings
File or grinder for tapering points and shaping nocks

Step 1: Shaping the Stock

The first step is to lay out the stock on a piece of 2x6 lumber and cut it out. We'll also be drilling the different mounting and trigger holes.

Step 2: Building the Trigger and Attachments

Next we'll build the trigger lever as well as the bolt retainer, stirrup, and simple but solid safety out of PVC pipe.

Step 3: Building the PVC Prod

Now it's time to build the prod out of PVC pipe. I used furniture grade 1" Schedule 40 pipe, but plumbing pipe works as well.

Step 4: Paracord String and Bow Stringer

Now we'll make a temporary string out of paracord, which can be used as a final string. We'll also make a simple rope stringer to help string the 100 pound crossbow.

Step 5: Making a Flemish Twist Crossbow String

If you want something more permanent than paracord, follow along to make a simple Flemish twist bowstring.

Step 6: Making Crossbow Bolts With Wood Dowels

Finally we'll make some bolts to go with our finished crossbow!

Step 7: Shooting the Finished Crossbow!

Here's the crossbow in action!

One thing to keep in mind is that this crossbow is comparable to a 35 recurve bow. It does draw 100 pounds, but crossbows with short power strokes are generally much less efficient than hand bows and need to be much heavier for the same performance. To put this into perspective, many states require a minimum of 45 pounds to legally hunt with a bow but require a minimum of 150 pounds to hunt with a crossbow.

That said, it is dangerous and should never be pointed at anyone. Make sure that you know what lies beyond your target and never point the crossbow at anything you do not want to shoot.

This crossbow is a lot of fun to shoot and is fairly easy to cock with the stirrup. Thanks for watching!

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    16 Comments

    0
    Badgerboy4
    Badgerboy4

    Question 3 years ago on Introduction

    Good morning
    I hope that your still active on this site
    I made your crossbow ( thank you for sharing) with a slight modification. I have 16” front to trigger and 28” from tip to tip on the prod. When I tested it I was disappointed. I am only able to get about 5yards distance when fired. I’d love to be able to hunt with this crossbow and was wondering if you had any suggestions to increase the poundage or distance fired. I have not been able to check how many pounds it’s drawing but it’s very hard to set the string for firing. Oh BTW instead of 1” schedule 40 pipe I used 11/4” pipe hoping to increase the poundage

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    0
    najrrellim
    najrrellim

    Answer 1 year ago

    I have run into the same weak performance problem in the three different PVC prods that I have made. The first 1" PVC schedule 40 plumbing pipe had no power (I used paracord for the bowstring). It seemed that the prod flexed too much. I drilled two tiny holes in the prod and filled the prod with aerosol gap filler. That made the prod so strong that it wouldn't flex at all.

    After purchasing schedule 40 furniture grade PVC, my first prod made following the directions to the letter bent and collapsed in the center when I attempted to stringer.
    I made a second prod from the furniture grade PVC; this time completely flattening the
    the entire prod before adding the recurve four inches from each end. This prod behaved well and accepted the store-bought 30" crossbow string I purchased for it. Though having good bow strength equal to at least a 30 pound true recurve bow, the bolts I made for it following the instructions flew about five feet and dropped like dog turds.
    So I went to my bag of cheap store-bought, carbon-fiber archery arrows I use for "bale shooting form practice" with my Martin Saber take-down recurve. I grabbed a beat up carbon fiber arrow that was way too long for use on a crossbow, nocked it in my furniture grade crossbow and shot at a target ten yards away. The arrow flew like a rocket over my target backboard, over the shed behind the backboard, and over my split-level house...never to be seen again!

    This led me to conclude that the problem lies not with the PVC crossbow, but the bolts...they are too heavy and not nocked properly to the bowstring! Try experimenting with some discount store carbon fiber arrows, the shortest you can find. Make a complete nock instead of the half moon nock. You want a nock gap that fits onto the bowstring, but not so much that you have to tug on the arrow to get it off of the bowstring. See if that doesn't make you smile when you shoot one into your target at ten yards or farther.

    0
    AlexH348
    AlexH348

    Question 4 years ago on Step 3

    hello th ere!

    Now we can get schedule 40 in the uk, I'm looking to build some of these for a UK larp.

    Is there any way to lower the poundage significantly, to around 25-30 pounds? Or is it best to use bungee at th at point rather than taking power from the prod?

    thanks for your time.

    0
    DEEJAY246
    DEEJAY246

    5 years ago

    Hello,

    I think I used about 3/4" pvc and after shaping the prod and waiting for it to cool for a while, I tried it out but it just folded over so now its useless... I did only use pluming or electrical white pipe but what do you suggest??

    0
    Helmcon
    Helmcon

    5 years ago

    good job but what is the FPS (feet per second) you got

    0
    rpoddig
    rpoddig

    5 years ago

    How or where can i find instructions on how to build a heat box that you used?

    0
    john043
    john043

    6 years ago

    Commercially available bolts are most commonly 20". I think all I need to do is to cut the trigger hole back some and add 2" to the Prod to make it a tad wider. Do you suppose that would work?

    0
    ajealadick
    ajealadick

    6 years ago

    What is the size of the paracord for stringing. I saw 4mm and 6mm when I wanted to buy it.

    0
    Mary AnnL1
    Mary AnnL1

    6 years ago

    Nick: I tried flattening gray electrical pvc, and it cracked on the ends. When I cut the piece for the bolt retainer the middle piece became two pieces. Maybe it's me, or should I get some furniture grade? Ray

    0
    Jake_Makes
    Jake_Makes

    Reply 6 years ago

    Just get some basic schedule 40 pipe. I don't know what it is with the electrical, but it has always acted a little different to me. Also make sure you are heating it evenly and long enough, otherwise it won't flatten properly.

    0
    Croocket
    Croocket

    6 years ago

    I am so impressed. Not only with the build but how you present it. Thanks!

    0
    JoshuaP1
    JoshuaP1

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Is it possible make a lower poundage version of this crossbow?

    0
    desertsniper
    desertsniper

    7 years ago

    Awesome! I'm working on a crossbow right now, this will help a lot! The bow string it tricky!

    0
    Backyard Bowyer
    Backyard Bowyer

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for checking it out! Glad it's helping you on your project.