One of the most ancient powerful weapons of warfare, the crossbow has been in use for centuries. Similar to a bow and arrow, the crossbow is drawn from a place of rest. The earliest mention of the crossbow actually comes from Ancient China. Although it’s known that this powerful weapon was used as early as 600 BC, it didn’t show up in writing until 200–300 AD.


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Making a bow and arrow is one of the most iconic hunting tools ever. It’s no wonder that the crossbow went mainstream in medieval times, and became so popular that it eventually replaced other types of bows. But if you’re just starting out with your own crossbow, there are some essential tools that you’ll need for construction.

The Crossbow

The crossbow is a bow mounted on a stock that’s more like a rifle than a traditional bow. It has a string attached to the stock. A trigger releases the tension on the string, which lets you shoot an arrow or bolt. The crossbow is more accurate and faster in shooting than a traditional bow. 

Tools Required For Making A Crossbow

You’re going to need some tools to build a crossbow. Some of them include:

1. Chisel (for removing wood for the arrow track)

2. Wrench (for tightening and loosening bolts)

3. Screwdriver (can be used to install or remove a sight)

4. Hand file (to clean any burrs or rough spots on the edges of the bow limbs)

5. Scissors (for cutting string) 

6. Nail set (to create a hole in the bow’s side so you can string it) 

7. Drill bit (to create holes in the bow limbs for screws and bolts)

8. Paintbrush (to paint arrows and crossbow bolts) 

Materials Needed For Making A Crossbow 

The materials for making a crossbow include:

1. Wood (to make the stock of the crossbow) 
2. String (to tie the bow and string to the stock) 
3. Bolts and Bowstring (for attaching the arrow to crossbow) 
4. Wrist Sling (for protection of your wrist) 
5. Wooden Target (to get your aim and shooting discipline right) 
6. Woodworking tools (for making a crossbow)
7. Sandpaper (for smoothing the edges of the stock)
8. Wood glue and roller (for gluing the string to the stock)
9. Screws and bolts (for installing screws and bolts on different parts of a crossbow) 
10. Nocking point (a small strip of leather or plastic for nocking the string when making a crossbow)

Making Of A Crossbow 

This phase is to be done before starting to assemble the main crossbow body. You must first decide what size crossbow you want to make. It would be a good idea to measure out your hand such that you can see how long the string should be adequate for it. It would also be a good idea to know how wide the frame of your bow should be. Creating the main body includes many different steps, which are: 

Phase 1: Constructing The Stock 

Before you can construct the crossbow, you need to make a stock. The stock is the housing for the bowstring. It’s also where you put different parts of the crossbow and attach them together. Choosing the correct quality of wood for your stock is essential. You have to find the length that feels comfortable and then mark the wood to cut it. This will let you gauge the overall size of the body. The working of the stock requires pressing against the shoulders and a firm hand grip. 

Phase 2: Constructing The Bow String 

Next, you have to build the bow. The bowstring is the string attached to the stock that’s winding back and forth while you’re shooting arrows or bolts. It’s a very important part of a crossbow, as it holds your bolts and keeps them steady so they don’t shoot off at all angles. 

Phase 3: Constructing The Trigger Washer 

The trigger washer is a piece of metal that fits between the trigger and the bolt to stop it from misfiring. You’ll need at least three washers to complete this part of the crossbow. For its construction, you need to hold the wood as a rifle and mark the spot for a trigger where you feel it should be. When you’ve marked the trigger, draw a rectangle shape in the center. Draw it on the top of the pinewood, not on the side. 

Phase 4: Attaching The String To The Stock (And Stringing Your Bow) 

Now you can attach the string to your crossbow. You can do this with a stringing tool. This tool attaches to the holes at each end of the stock, then moves up and down through the bow limb, holding the bowstring in place while you’re working on it. 

Phase 5: Attaching The Foregrip To The Stock 

To make things easier and more comfortable for you, attach a foregrip to your crossbow. The foregrip holds your hands in place while you’re shooting arrows or bolts. 

Phase 6: Attaching The Fletching Tails To The Bowstring 

Now that your crossbow looks all pretty and neat, it’s time to attach the tail feathers to the bowstring. This final step is very important as it keeps the arrow stable while you’re shooting.

Phase 7: Attaching The Arrow To The Bowstring 

Next, it’s time to attach the arrow to the bowstring. It’s best to use a nocking point for this purpose, as it keeps the arrow steady when you’re shooting. 

Phase 8: Making The Sight (And Attaching It To Your Crossbow) 

To make sure your crossbow is accurate and stable every time you pull the trigger, install a sight on your crossbow.

Phase 9: Attaching The Wrist Sling 

With your crossbow all set up, it’s time to protect yourself. Attach a wrist sling for extra safety before you start shooting.

Wood Types For Building A Crossbow

1. Hardwood

Known as hardwood, it’s durable and can withstand the weight of a crossbow bolt. The most common hardwood used in making crossbows is ash, maple, beech, elm and oak. These woods are stiff and strong. However, they’re heavy so you’ll need to use another wood type for the bowstring. 

2. Pine

The wood type that works really well for the stock of a crossbow is pine. Pine is heavy and strong, just as it should be for a crossbow. The wood can withstand the force of an arrow or bolt and it’s also very easy to work with. This type of wood can be used for making bows and arrows as well. 

3. Willow

This wood type is also used for making crossbows. Willow trees are fast-growing and they’re extremely hard and tough. The wood of the willow tree is generally lighter and not as heavy as the other types of wood. 

4. Cottonwood

Another good wood type for making a bowstring is cottonwood. Cottonwood is used in many hobbies, one of which is making crossbows. The wood doesn’t warp, crack or rot and it’s also lightweight and easy to work with. 

5. Birch

Birch trees are among the best trees for making crossbows. The wood is easy to work with, light in weight, strong and durable. However, you’ll need to take care when using it as it has a tendency to splinter if you’re not careful. 

Conclusion 

In the end, it’s up to you to decide how you want to create your crossbow. However, following the steps in this article would surely help you. Through trial and error, you can easily create a crossbow that works for you. Just remember that with a little effort and dedication, you’ll be well on your way to creating the best crossbow of all time.

Hope this article was informational and provided ample knowledge in making a crossbow. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How many different types of crossbows are there?

A. There are different types of crossbows, which vary in their use and design. Here’s a list of them:

1. Stinger Crossbow/Crossbolt: Specially designed for shooting at the target from a distance. These are mostly used by hunters and target shooters.

2. Recurve Crossbow/Crossbow Bolt: This type of crossbow is used for hunting small animals like rabbits and squirrels. It has a longer pull than a sporter crossbow.

3. Pistol Crossbow: Pistol crossbows are designed to be held in the hand and not mounted on a stock.

4. Bow Crossbow: Bow crossbows are semi-automatic and they’re used mainly for hunting. It resembles an ordinary bow and it requires less cocking effort compared to a standard crossbow.

5. Compound Crossbow: This type of crossbow isn’t very popular, but it’s still used by hunters and target shooters with special needs.

Q. Which companies make crossbows?

A. Some of the leading companies that manufacture crossbows are Barnett, TenPoint, Parker Archery and CenterPoint. If you search for crossbows on the internet you’ll find many other companies as well. Most of these companies are based in the US or Europe and make bows for target shooting.