A Medieval Crossbow

One of the most appealing things about medieval projects is the fact that they can really work. You can use them. Making things in the medieval vein can be so much more than just making something for display. A crossbow is a perfect example of this. You can make a beautiful crossbow that really works. And you can make it in a way that goes way beyond just a crossbow. Here is an example of a beautifully made crossbow that has that little something extra. It is a dragon crossbow.

An Interesting note from the creator about the carving of the dragon: The carving is of an Oriental dragon, based on an engraved helmet that washed up from the Sea of Japan (National Geographic Volume 162, No. 5, November 1982 "Kubilai Kahn's Lost Fleet").

The dragon crossbow

The Hand-Made Dragon Crossbow

This crossbow is a state fair award winner. It is made of rock maple with steel and brass hardware and it is circa approximately the 13th century. It was made as part of a class called the Wiesenfeuer Crossbow Project and I believe it is affiliated with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism)


Here are some bigger pictures of this beautiful crossbow.

The hand Carved Dragon Crossbow


A Dragon Crossbow


closeup of a handmade crossbow


Interested in joining the group or learning more? Here is a note and contact info from the person that made this crossbow:

I am with the SCA (for 25 years now) and do custom work.

Malaki Dracwin aka David Swanson
1606 West Cherokee
Enid, OK, 73703

He also has a booklet on how to make a crossbow

I have written a booklet on running your own Crossbow Project that includes step by step instructions, documentation, many pictures and diagrams as well as full-scaled drawings of the various parts of the crossbow and three different stock patterns. This is available on CD ROM for $10 + S&H (overseas shipping extra).

His CD on how to make a Medieval Crossbow is still available (with the bonus article "Carving 101"), for $10 + S/H.

Here are some notes about this crossbow from David:

From the uppermost point of the thumb knuckle and the tip of the bolt. The ranges, from fore to aft are 20, 30 and 40 yards. Simple but quite effective. The carving is of an Oriental dragon, based on an engraved helmet that washed up from the Sea of Japan (National Geographic Volume 162, No. 5, November 1982 "Kubilai Kahn's Lost Fleet"). The helm was lost during the attempted invasion of Japan by Kubilai Kahn's navy, which was devastated by a storm after a successful landing. The storm's winds were referred to by the Japanese as "kamikaze" or "divine winds", a term that took on a new meaning in WWII.

Want to see more of his work? Here are more pictures

He has also made a Chinese Repeating Crossbow! You can see that project right here.




Want to see a crossbow that was reconstructed from 700 year old parts found at the site of the famous Bannock Burn Battle? The Bannockburn Crossbow




Giant Medieval CrossbowGiant Medieval Castle Defense Crossbow - European Crossbows of the Middle Ages saved many a Castle from siege. Crossbows were brought to England by the Normans in 1066 and soon became an important weapon in history. They were used for hunting and warfare and employed throughout England through the time of Queen Elizabeth. Large crossbows were more powerful than any longbow and unlike their light counterparts that were used in the field by armor clad soldiers, these giant crossbows were mainly used in the attack and defense of fortified places such as castles. This exceptional reproductions of Castle Defense Crossbows that are made in Italy and although they are meant as wonderful historical display pieces, they have functional parts. Each comes complete with its own "bolt" (missile shaped arrow). Get your crossbow now because "Bigger is Better" in defense of a Castle! The size is an incredible 47" long from stock to stirrup. Made in Italy.


The Book of the Crossbow: With an Additional Section on Catapults and Other Siege Engines

Fascinating study-only book devoted exclusively to the crossbow-traces use of crossbow as military and sporting weapon, its construction and management in medieval and modern times; also, related weapons: balistas, catapults, Turkish bow, more. Over 240 illustrations.



Make your own medieval weapons

Interested in making your own crossbow, catapult, slingshot or other type of projectile weapons? Take a look at this book:

The Practical Guide to Man-Powered Bullets: Catapults, Crossbows, Blowguns, Bullet-Bows and Airguns (Available at Amazon.com)