Manner of Attaching Bow to
ingenious bridle made of cord or sinew. This bridle proved a light and
very strong method of securing a wooden, or a composite bow to its stock.
It not only greatly lessened the jar caused to the stock, by the rebound
of the bow when the crossbow was discharged, but also held the bow in its
grasp without causing the damage to it that would arise from metal clamps.
Though this bridle of cord or sinew is seldom seen in the large military
crossbow with a heavy steel bow, it was commonly used in the smaller weapons
with steel bows which were employed for sporting purposes in the sixteenth
century, fig. 27.
The Bridle of Sinew which was Often Used for Securing the Bow of a Crossbow
to Its Stock (Fig. 28, Next Page).
I. Fig. 28. The saddle, or piece of hard wood - along its flat side
of the same breadth and curve as the bow - which rested upon the centre
of the back of the bow. When the bow was in position, the hollows in this
piece projected just clear of either side of the stock, and held from slipping
the wrapping which secured the bow and formed the bridle.
II. Fig. 28. The bow fixed to the stock. Front and side view.
A, is one end of the saddle.
B, is the bow.
C, is the wrapping or bridle.
D, is the oval hole in the stock through which the wrapping forming
the bridle is threaded. (The hole for the wrapping, and the opening for
the bow and its saddle, were concealed by little bunches of coloured wool.)
III. Fig. 28. The wrapping as first put on, and before it is bound together
at E E, on each side of the stock, in order to tighten it and thus fix
the bow. The wrapping, usually consisting of deer or other sinew softened
in water, was firmly wound over the projecting hollows of the saddle A,
which rested upon the back of the bow. It was passed ten or twelve times,
to and fro, through the oval hole D in the stock, and alternately over
each end of the saddle. The separated halves of the wrapping (E E, III.
fig. 28) were then forcibly drawn together on each side of the stock by
another length of strong pliable sinew, as seen in II., fig. 28.
The wrapping, of course, gradually tightened throughout, as its side
strands were pulled up close, with the result that the bow was forced immovably
up to the stock.
When the bridle of sinew was dry and set, it became almost as tight
and rigid as an iron screw clamp.
I have had crossbows with steel bows that were secured in this way over