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!



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest

    15 Discussions


    Question 3 months 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


    Question 10 months 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.


    1 year ago


    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??


    2 years ago

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


    2 years ago

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


    3 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?


    3 years ago

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

    Mary AnnL1

    3 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

    1 reply
    Jake_MakesMary AnnL1

    Reply 3 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.


    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago on Introduction

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


    3 years ago

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

    1 reply