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The Toronto Tool Library

Nobody paid me to post this. I just happen to like the idea.

The Toronto Tool Library is just like what it sounds like. See https://torontotoollibrary.com/ to learn more about it.

You go to one of the locations, pick up any tools you need just like you would library books, and then return the tools after using them.

Using "tool libraries" saves people money.

An example shown on their website is as follows:

"One of our most popular tools – cordless nail gun – has been borrowed a remarkable 108 times. By sharing this single tool, which retails at $299.00, our members have saved over $32,000!"

The premise is so simple it is amazing it hasn't been done until now.

Years ago I came up with an idea for a Tool Workshop which worked like a gym membership. People pay a monthly membership fee and then can use the tools in the workshop. Instructors in the workshop are available (sort of like personal trainers) to help people to safely use the tools. There is a problem however, my idea called for people transporting whatever project they were working on to the workshop and storing it in a locker and taking it home with them eventually. Transportation could be an issue, depending on the size of the project.

The Toronto Tool Library takes it a step further, allowing people to borrow the tools and take them home for working on whatever project they need the tools for. That solves the problem of project storage, and also providing the space for people to work in.

They also have a number of other services.


The Toronto Tool Library also hosts events, listed on their website at http://torontotoollibrary.com/workshops/ which includes training programs, free community nights, and community projects.

3D Printing and 2D Laser Cutting

Youth Programs

And more...a

Now there is of course a membership fee, just like my workshop gym membership fee idea. The basic membership starts at $55.

Archery Craft Toronto Recurve Bow - How much is it worth?

"Hello sir,

My father owns this bow and would like to sell it, we would like to know its value approximately.

Its a 32/19 and 59 longer, Archery Craft Toronto.

Thank you very much
Carole L."

Hello Carole!

Okay so when trying to sell a bow you need to supply at lot of photos showing the following parts of the bow:

  • Front and back of the top tips.
  • Front and back of the bottom tips.
  • Left and right profile of the top limb.
  • Left and right profile of the bottom limb.
  • Front, back, left and right profiles of the riser.
  • 4 photos of the full bow shot from different angles.

So at least 16 photos and they should all be high resolution photographs.

Send me those and I will give you a more accurate estimate.

The reason potential buyers need that is because we need to know if the tips, limbs or riser are damaged, cracked or twisted. It is strongly recommended that collectors don't buy any bow that doesn't have all the necessary photos showing its condition - and a person looking to sell needs to please the collectors, because they are the people who are willing to bid more on them in an auction.

Also helps to know the poundage, model and year of the bow.

Judging by that photo it could be worth $50 or it could be worth $200. Or more depending on its age / model rarity. Impossible to tell without seeing all of it in more detail.

Charles Moffat

"Ok I understand, thank you very much for your response :)

Carole L."

Orienteering, the Lost Art

An Orienteering Compass
The Lost Art of Orienteering

Guest Post by R. W. - January 19th 2018.

Orienteering is not only a fun and rewarding hobby, it’s also a crucial survival skill that could one day save your life.

But orienteering is different from other ‘survival skills’ in that it is something that can be beneficial to almost all of us in practical situations. Let’s be honest, many survival skills are things that we are unlikely to ever need. A lot of survival enthusiasts operate on a ‘what if’ basis. What if I got stranded on an island? What if there was a zombie apocalypse?

But getting lost without GPS is something that still happens to most of us from time to time. And being completely helpful in these situations makes us feel just that: helpless.

So, learn orienteering and be a little less dependent on your phone. Not only could it get you out of a pickle, but it will also hone and train valuable skills.

How Orienteering Works

Orienteering is more than just navigation, it is actual practiced as a sport. It is possible to find ‘orienteering events’ which include courses for beginners and experts. To start, you will pick a special map with a course of your choice printed in red. You’ll see a start point (a triangle) and an end point (a large double circle) and you’ll be required to visit a number of specific points along the way, known as ‘control sites’. When you reach the control sites, you’ll see a stake with a triangular red and white nylon flag. There will be an electronic timing device here, which is used to record your time and to prevent cheating. You’ll also carry a small block called a ‘dibber’ which will record your time and download to a computer when you’re finished.

This sport is great for testing your skills with a compass, honing your natural sense of direction and also getting some fresh air and exercise (not to be underrated!).

Engineering Compass

Whether you’re taking part in an event or just trying to improve your navigational abilities, you’ll need to be able to use a map and a compass. Orienteering is all about reading and understanding maps drawn at large scale. These will often be 1:10,000 scale.

One tip for this is to keep the map set to match the view. This means you’ll need to constantly turn the map as you go, in order to know what sites you’re looking for. Of course you also need to know which direction you should be heading in, and this is where using a compass helps. That said, the best navigator or orienteer will be able to use the sun, stars and even vegetation to help learn the direction they need to head in.

Another skill that needs to be developed is the ability to judge distance. Interestingly, most people will walk at a rather even length pace and if you can count how many paces it takes you to cover 100m, then this can be used to ascertain how far you’ve walked in a given direction.

But to really master the art of orienteering, you need practice. Over time, you’ll find that you learn to intuitively estimate distance, direction and more much more easily. You’ll become better at looking out for useful landmarks and orienting your map.

Once you manage this, you’ll find you become inherently more aware of your surroundings in daily life. You’ll be more mindful and engaged with the world around you, with more of an idea of which way you came and where you need to go. And so if you ever do get lost, you should be able to quickly and efficiently correct your course!

See Also

The Barkley Marathon, a marathon for people who are into orienteering / survivalism.

Ship's Compass

The Best Exercises when Living Off the Grid

Happy New Year!

So you are living off the grid in the wilderness somewhere - in our case that would be northern Ontario - and you want to stay physically fit.

So how do you do it? Well, here is a list of 20 ways to exercise off the grid which won't require any electricity.

#1. Chopping firewood and stacking the wood in piles.

#2. Snowshoeing.

#3. Skiing.

#4. Shoveling snow out of the driveway.

#5. Go outside and build something.

#6. Take the dog for a walk.

#7. Cycling.

#8. Swimming (probably best to do this in the summer).

#9. Build your own exercise equipment (the building process alone is exercise).

 #10. Weightlifting.

#11. Hiking.

#12. Gardening / Landscaping.

#13. Birdwatching / Outdoor Photography - which oddly enough involves a lot of walking and hiking.

#14. Exploration.

#15. Spelunking / Cave Exploration.

#16. Rock Climbing / Tree Climbing.

#17. Build a Zip Line between two high points. (You should really research how to build Zip Lines properly before attempting and get someone with more experience with building Zip Lines to help.)

#18. Garbage cleanup - just go around your property and clean up the place. Sometimes debris builds up over time.

#19. Build a stone wall or staircase for your property.

#20. Horseback riding / Equestrian archery. My personal favourite.

Five Easy to Make DIY Woodworking Xmas Gifts

Struggling for ideas for what to give people for Xmas this year?

Here are a few ideas!

Bottle Opener!

Makes a great gag gift. ;)

Goes well with a bottle for them to practice opening.

Candle Holder!

Pretty simple design. Hardest part is drilling the holes.

Make one for each family member and you have all your xmas gifts done for the year. Tada!

Bath Box!

Just add the various bath toiletries like Q-tips, shampoo, conditioner, etc and you are done.

Tie Rack or Jewelry Rack!

Works for both guys and gals.

Decorative Art!

Seriously. Pick a subject they like and just make art in that shape. Cats, dogs, sailboats, whatever.

Have a great holiday season!

Food Wars vs Revenge Food

Okay, so here is the deal.

I am really tired of hearing people argue about food and fur.

Yes, we get it. Vegans don't like it when people hunt for food, trap for food/fur, or use leather/antlers or other animal byproducts.

I personally have no problem with people eating what they kill and using the fur, leather, antlers, bones, and anything else they can salvage. eg. Deer sinew is handy for bowmaking.

But I do have a problem with having to hear about it from nitwits who are trying to force their beliefs on to other people.

So the deal I have made with myself is that every time someone annoys me with their whole "fur is evil" or "hunting is evil" arguments, I go and eat a cute fuzzy animal. I call it The Revenge Food Principle. Every time someone annoys me, I go eat a cute animal as revenge.

The more annoyed they make me, the cuter the animal is.

Rabbits, lambs, deer... they are all on the menu.

I even found several lists of places where I can go eat locally here in Toronto:




* I decided to add duck to the list because I personally find them to be really cute. The meat is really greasy, but I will just have to deal with it however. I think on a cuteness scale however, a nice young lamb is still cuter however. Rabbits also very cute, so ducks will only be eaten if I am mildly annoyed.

Look how cute this duck is? And tasty! I very much want to eat it.

So here is the plan.

Every time a vegan treehugger pisses me off I am going to eat one of the above mentioned food items. Or maybe I will finally get my hunting license and get into small game hunting. Either way, more food for my belly.

Also, every time they piss me off I am also going to add their names here. In the Hall of Cute but Tasty Food Shame. And to prove that these are real people I will be posting links to their Facebook profiles / etc.

I might even go a step further and post photos of any animals I kill with me holding up a sign that says "I killed this rabbit for you Jenny Patterson."

The Hall of Cute but Tasty Food Shame

Jenny Patterson so far has killed 2 cute widdle animals.

Andy Niko has killed 1 so far. I am thinking a rabbit. I have never had rabbit before.


December 27th 2017
Aleah Hall of Toronto has killed 1 duck and 1 lamb so far by annoying me. If she annoys me again I am thinking I will add pork to the menu.

So yeah... go ahead. Annoy me. I have 34 bows, an untold number of arrows, and I keep telling myself I should get my hunting license. So if going out to restaurants to eat rabbit, lamb and duck gets too expensive I will just get my hunting license and add venison to the menu.

Tonight my wife and I are going out to dinner at a restaurant. Some place that serves lamb. I have a sudden hankering to eat lamb for some reason. You can thank Jenny Patterson for that.


Absolutely, feel free to post annoying comments. I will respond by killing another cute widdle animal. Go ahead. Make my tasty food.

Black Hawk Bow Models

1972 Black Hawk Avenger
Saw this on another website: http://blackhawkbows.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page.html

I decided to repost in case that website ever gets deleted (which can happen and result in the internet losing valuable info).

If I can add to it in the future and make it better, I will do so.

Black Hawk Bow Models

This is a list of bows made by the Cravotta Brothers.

A lot is not known about all the models, so this will be an ongoing project to find, and list the models and their specs, so check back once in a while to see if anything has been updated.

As you can see, there's a lot of confusion with the decals and model numbers, etc.

Black Hawk Models
  • Chief H304- 1957 Model. Oval limb decal.
  • Chief H672- August 1957 Oval limb decal
  • Chief XC55 August 1959 angle grip Oval limb decal.
  • Yellow Jacket X448- March 1957 Oval limb decal.
  • Yellow Jacket Y706- Oct. 1958 Oval limb decal.
  • Yellow Jacket Y454- March 1957 Oval limb decal
  • Yellow Jacket Y042- June 1958 Oval Limb decal
  • Warrior R101-1956 model Oval limb Decal
  • Warrior W659- 1964 model Rectangle limb decal
  • Warrior W293- April 1963 Rectangle limb decal
  • Warrior R177- 1950's model Oval limb decal
  • Warrior R173 June 1957 Oval limb decal
  • Avenger A-1000-SEC May 1968 Rectangle limb decal- Could SEC means a second? 52" long
  • Avenger March 1971 stamped with the letter "S"- perhaps another second? 52" long
  • Avenger A4765 May 1970 Rectangle limb decal
  • Avenger A1174 Nov. 1974 round Black Hawk & handwritten style decal
  • Avenger A1273 Dec. 1973 Handwritten style limb decal
  • Avenger A1175 Nov. 1975 Round Black Hawk and Round Avenger by Black Hawk decal
  • Avenger A572 May 1972 Round Black Hawk riser decal & handwritten style limb decal
  • Bee N524- Nov. 1956 Oval limb decal.
  • Bee E365- Nov. 1957 Oval limb decal
  • Bee M549-1957 model Oval limb Decal.
  • Bee ?030- 1959 model Oval limb decal.
  • Bee Deluxe Dec. 1974 No limb decal. Hand written style limb decal
  • Short Bee- AB-760-S May 1966 Rectangle limb decal
  • Bee ASB 3657 no date. Longer 70's model Bee. 66" long. Rectangle Limb Decal
  • Wasp S929 1957 model Oval limb decal.
  • Wasp D207 Feb. 1958 Oval limb decal.
  • Wasp D756 March 1958 Oval limb decal
  • Hornet K771- Oct. 1956 Oval Serial# limb decal.
  • Hornet XB165- Aug. 1959 Oval Limb decal
  • Hornet K857- Sept. 1957 Oval limb decal.
  • Short Hornet SH2784- 10/02/1964 Rectangle limb decal.
  • Short Hornet SH1384 - 10/04/1968 Rectangle limb decal
  • Hornet Special 1968 model rectangle riser decal.
  • Hornet Special T/D HS575 Rectangle limb decal
  • Hornet Special H.S.2739 Oct. 1 1964 Rectangle limb decal
  • Brave F923 Jan. 1960 decal unknown
  • Scorpion BS2791- Sept. 1970 Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion CS219- 1967 Model Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion 2-tone riser 1971 model Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion DS3735 Jan. 1969 Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion DS430 1968 model. Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion BS826 Nov. 1965 Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion AS964 March 1964 Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion CBS3603 year unknown Rectangle limb decal
  • Scorpion 259 Feb. 1959 Round limb decal
  • Scout Hunter SC234 1970 model Rectangle limb decal
  • Scout Hunter SC159 April 1969 Rectangle limb decal.
  • Firebolt Sept. 1974 no riser decal. hand written style decal
  • Firebolt Aug. 1972 S.L. 52" Hand written style decal.
  • Firebolt Feb. 1972 S.L. 52" Ink stamped on riser: Firebolt by Black Hawk
  • Mosquito 1968 model. Rectangle limb decal. Imitation horn tips.
  • Flea
  • Unknown Ash2521- 1968 model Rectangle riser decal. no limb decal.
  • 650 K355- April 1960 RED/YELLOW oval limb decal.
  • Brave- F286- January 1958 Oval Limb Decal

Black Hawk Galaxie Models
  • Mars- 1973 model round Blackhawk riser decal (possibly inlay), round Galaxie Mars limb decal.
  • Mars- M773 round Black Hawk riser decal, round Galaxie Mars limb decal
  • Mars- M1174 round Black Hawk riser decal, Round Galaxie Mars limb decal
  • Pluto- P2665 1968 model Galaxie rectangle riser decal, round Galaxie Pluto limb decal
  • Venus V874 Dec 1966 Rectangle Galaxie riser decal, round Galaxie Venus limb decal
  • Apollo Aug 1971 Rectangle Galaxie riser decal, round Galaxie Apollo limb decal
  • Nike 575 May 1975 64" Round Galaxie Nike limb decal
Black Hawk also made a variety of models for other manufacturers.
Martin Models
  • Hunter Mark II Feb. 1974 Round limb decal.
Doug Kittredge Models
  • Signature Hunter V773- July 1973
Feline Archery Models
  • Panther Hunter A1074 Oct. 1974 (Black Hawk Avenger made for Feline Archery)
Red Head
  • Thunderbird Feb. 1, 1958

Time Lapse Archery Videos x 4

For fun today I ended up doing a wee bit of photography. I have been experimenting with Time Lapse videos lately, and thus decided I wanted to make some time lapse videos of the Toronto Archery Range.

The videos below were all made on November 19th 2017.

During the 4th video a gust of wind knocked over the tripod. Hence why it goes dark briefly. So we did what archers typically do and blamed the wind. ;)

Time Lapse Video 1

Time Lapse Video 2

Time Lapse Video 3

Time Lapse Video 4

My Bowhunting / Archery Magazines Collection

Okay so I have quite a few archery books, but honestly - I have waaaaaay more magazines on the topic, mostly pertaining to bowhunting.

So I decided today to make a list of all my magazines thus far. (I have a subscription to one of them.)

I should also note that an article I wrote years ago was published earlier this year in Archery Focus Magazine. Which is ironic because I have never even SEEN that magazine in person in Canada. No stores in Canada seem to sell it. I managed to do this small feat of archery thanks to knowing the editor socially, he is a fellow archery instructor I have consulted with in the past. (I do have a great book of his though, "Precision Archery", which I totally recommend buying, regardless of what style of archery you practice.)

So back to the topic at hand... Let me grab a pile of magazines and lets get this Archery Magazine list started.

Note - In the future I want to add more notes to this page about articles I found to be particular useful / interesting. For now I just want to make the list. I can add detailed notes later when I have more time.

Traditional Bowhunter Magazine
2018 Dec-Jan - Food Plots, Hawaiian Quiver, Arctic Gear (they send out upcoming magazines well ahead of schedule. It is November and already I have received the Dec-Jan issue in the mail.)

2017 Oct-Nov - Flemish Twist Bowstring

2017 Aug-Sep - Better Anchoring, the Crescent Arrowhead

2017 Jun-Jul - Obsidian Arrowheads, Archery Golf

2017 Apr-May - Refurbishing Wood Arrows
2017 Feb-Mar - Two Piece Recurve Bow
2017 Dec-Jan - Brain Tanned Knife Sheath, Aesthetics of Hunting
2016 Oct-Nov - I really love the cover painting on this one. I even wrote emails back and forth to the editor about it. 
* I seem to have misplaced Jun-Jul and Aug-Sep 2015, I cannot find them.*
2016 Apr-May - Backing a Bow with Turkey Feathers

2016 Feb-Mar -  Backing a Bow with Snakeskin
2016 Dec-Jan - Restoring Old Bows

2015 Oct-Nov - Stone Points, History of the Deflex-Reflex Bow
* I seem to have misplaced Aug-Sep 2015, I cannot find it. *

2015 Jun-Jul - Brain Tanned Quiver, Part 1

2015 Apr-May - Dogwood Arrows

2015 Feb-Mar - Paper Tuning
2015 Dec-Jan  - Repairing 3D Targets

2014 Oct-Nov - Lovely painting on the cover
2014 Aug-Sep - Simple Spine Tester

Notes - So Traditional Bowhunter is the only one of the magazines that I have a subscription for. So I know the magazines that are missing are *somewhere*, I am just not sure where. Possibly tucked into a bigger archery book. Perhaps under some other book, alone and forgotten. Maybe all 3 of the missing magazines are hiding some place together. Won't know until I find them.

As you may have guessed Traditional Bowhunter (aka TradBow) publishes 6 times per year. I forget what the subscription cost is, but it is well worth it.

TradArchers' World Magazine
Fall 2014 - Plains Indian Sinew Backed Bow, Part 1
Winter 2014 - Plains Indian Sinew Backed Bow, Part 2
Spring 2015 - History of the Steel Bow
Summer 2015 - Laminated Recurve Part 1
Fall 2015 - Jerry Simmons Obituary (Master Tracker and Hunter), Laminated Recurve Part 2
Winter 2015 - Laminated Recurve Part 3
Spring 2016 - Building a Bow Quiver, Scottish Longbows
Fall 2017 - Longbow Ground Blinds, Accuracy Tips by Bob Wesley

Note - For people who are into bowmaking, TradArchers' World is good magazine to be reading. Published 4 times per year this is a magazine I should probably get a subscription to, but I have not bothered as of yet to do so. Probably a good idea to get it as it has more articles about bowmaking and equipment making than Traditional Bowhunter does.

Bowhunting World Magazine
Jun 2015 - 2015 Equipment Guide, #3
Sep 2015 - 2015 Equipment Guide, #4
Mar 2017 - 2017 Equipment Guide, #1

Note - Bowhunting World Magazine (BWM) publishes equipment guides multiple times per year. I really only buy it for the equipment reviews, which are mostly related to compound bows. I do however wish that they only published one big guide only once per year instead of splitting it up. I wouldn't bother getting a subscription to this one. I usually only try to buy a compound bow equipment guide once per year.

Petersen's Bowhunting Magazine
Mar 2014 - 2014 Equipment Guide
Jan-Feb 2015 - Practice Hunting by looking for Shed Antlers
Jun 2015 - Clutch Shots, Practicing Tips, Target Durability Tests
Jan 2016 - 2016 Equipment Guide
Jun 2016 - How to Paper Tune, Cam Synchronizing, Boosting Accuracy using Tuning Tricks

Note - While Petersen's Bowhunting (PBM) does offer annual equipment guides (usually during the winter), they also sometimes have useful articles about bowhunting skills and tuning compound bows. (Maybe someday I might publish something in their magazine about compound bow repair, as it seems like a topic many compound shooters could learn about.)

If I had to choose, I think the PBM's equipment guides are better. They also have more actual useful archery tips when compared to BWM. It might make some good sense for me to get a subscription to PBM.

Ontario Out of Doors (OOD) Magazine
Aug 2015 - includes article "Way of the Bow"

Note - I normally don't buy OOD Magazine. I made an exception because of the title article being promoted on the front cover. Most of the time the magazine is about rifle hunting and fishing, so I usually skip it. I probably should read more articles about fishing however, so there are some benefits to that I suppose.

Publishing in Archery Magazines

A little goal for me to do... try to publish articles in all the magazines listed above. I have already scratched off Archery Focus Magazine from the list, so might as well try and see if other people like my writing.

How to Fix a Dryfired Crossbow

Okay so someone contacted me recently regarding a crossbow which had been dryfired and was wondering if I could fix it, since I currently fix compound bows.

So I normally don't fix crossbows and I made the mistake of mentioning it to my wife, and she vetoed the idea (besides the point I already have 3 crossbows in the house and have a hobby of building them). Apparently she puts her foot down on having any more crossbows in the house. My limit is 3. No more than that.

Below are several photos they sent me of the crossbow which had been dryfired.

So I might not be able to fix it myself, but I can certainly provide instructions for HOW TO FIX IT and that way the owner can fix it themselves using the instructions below.

How to Reset the Bowstring a Dryfired Crossbow

Or... How to Remove an Old Bowstring and Add a New Bowstring on a Crossbow

Honestly the steps below work for both.

Step One - Reduce the Poundage, if possible.

On a compound bow there is typically a way to reduce the poundage. You do this with a Allen key (aka Hex key) at the point where the limbs meet the stock. See the photo below. However many crossbows don't necessarily have such an option. However if it does, now is a good time to use it.

If the poundage is low enough the bowstring should be significantly less taut and more easy to remove. Skip to Step Three if you were able to do this. If the bowstring is still very taut, you are going to need a bow press, in which case go to Step Two.

Note - Do not remove the limbs entirely. You only want to reduce the poundage, not remove the bow limbs entirely.

Step One B - Use a Dummy Bowstring.

I am adding this as an optional way to reduce the poundage. This is a method you can do if you don't have a bow press. It is a bit more of an unorthodox method, which is why I am making this section in different colours of text, to note that people should use caution when using this method. This method only works on crossbows however. This method won't work on a regular compound bow unless you also have a tillering stick (totally different topic, tillering sticks are used by bowyers during the tillering process, but that is something to talk about another day).

What you do is get a nice long bowstring that is strong enough for your crossbow and place it in a loop going around the axles, tying the ends together in a Reef Knot (aka, a Square Knot). It should be completely slack and extra long so that the string can reach about 3/4s or 4/5ths of the way to the cocking mechanism without even pulling.

Then you pull back the dummy bowstring the extra 1/4 or 1/5th to a cocking position on your crossbow, thus causing your normal bowstring to now become slack - and thus make it easier to remove or adjust.

When you are later ready to remove the dummy bowstring, simply pull back on the string with your hand to make it tight, hold on, release the trigger and hold it down, and then slowly let down until it is completely slack again. Loosen and remove the Reef Knot, keep the dummy bowstring for the next time you might need it.

Step Two - Place the Crossbow in a Bow Press and Tighten.

If you cannot reduce the poundage then you are probably going to need a bow press. Pretty much a necessity with a lot of modern crossbows. If you decide to use this method it is probably best you skip Step One entirely.

I recently wrote a post about Five Ways to Make a Homemade Bow Press, which I recommend reading as it is certainly cheaper to just build a bow press than go out and try to find / buy one.

The trick about bow presses is that you might only need it the one time. So it doesn't really make any sense to buy a $200 bow press just to use it one time.

Once tightened, your bowstring should be slack and ready to be removed.

An example of a homemade bow press that works on crossbows.

Step Three - Remove the Bowstring completely or partially.

See the loop on the cam in the 3rd photo? Not the loops that fit on the axle of the limbs, but the one which loops like a 9 on to the middle of the cam itself. Start by removing that and unwind or untangle it from anything.

Depending on the situation you might only need to partially remove the bowstring. If this is the case, awesome. It should be a fairly simple task of removing one section of the bowstring, rewrapping it around the cam, and replacing the loop.

eg. If you can get away with leaving parts of the bowstring still fed through the stock, good, just leave that in place. Basically if you can leave much of it already in place, please do. Less work for later.

The cam loop should always be the first thing you remove, and the last thing you put back in place.

Step Four - Carefully Place the New Bowstring.

Note that I said "New Bowstring". The steps described on this page work for either resetting your old string or adding a new one. This is a good point to decide whether you want to keep your old bowstring, or use a new one. If there is heavy or medium fraying on your bowstring, probably time for a new one. Minor barely noticeable fraying? Not such a big deal. Crossbow bowstrings are rated for many multiple times the poundage of the actual crossbow. If one strand snaps it is not biggie. It is when multiple have snapped that you need to start worrying. (Sort of like the front and back brakes on a bicycle, ideally both should work - but if one doesn't work then the other set of brakes should save your life.)

Okay, so this is the tricky part. Modern compound crossbows do not make this part easy.
  • Start with the axle loops.
  • Feed the bowstring through the gap in the stock.
  • Following a diagram if possible, correctly rewrap the bowstring around the cams. If you don't have a diagram, find some good high resolution photos of your model of crossbow and then follow the setup there and match it exactly.
  • Double check that everything is correctly in place before proceeding to the next steps.
  • Place the cam loops last. Depending on the bow press you are using, you may want to place the hardest to reach one first. Sometimes bow presses are designed in a way that makes it annoying to reach one of them. This way when you place the last cam loop it should be easy to reach.
  • Triple check everything is correctly in place.

Step Five - Loosen the Bow Press or Retighten the Poundage.

Really depends which steps you did, Step 1 or Step 2 or both. Or Step 1 B. Whatever.

Once your crossbow is out of the bow press / back to its original poundage you should find a safe place to fire a few shots with it (with actual crossbow bolts this time) to make sure everything is in good working order.

Step Six - Never Dryfire a Compound Crossbow Ever Again.

Probably the most important step.

The correct / safe way to uncock a crossbow is to load a bolt and fire a shot into a target (or into a sandbag, a good patch of dirt with no rocks, etc). Never dryfire it.

Even if a manufacturer is bragging about how great and durable their crossbows are, you should never ever dry fire one. You are just asking to be the exception, the one person who has theirs break. Don't be a dumbass and don't make yourself into a statistic.

This is one of the reasons I really like Excalibur Crossbows - they use recurve limbs instead of cams. If the bowstring ever comes off, then you can more easily place it back on. Easy to fix, super powerful.

The whole point of compound crossbows is to make them more compact, but to me I would rather have something that is easy to repair. As someone who makes my own crossbows, they are also easier to build if they are straight or recurved limbs, with no cams.

Note to Self

Sometime in the future I should try making a double limbed crossbow (similar to a Penobscot bow). That should be fun.

Lately I keep thinking of kewl science fair projects I could do with my son in the future when he is older. I think that would be an interesting science fair project... not sure if schools would appreciate kids bringing crossbows to school for a science fair however, even if it was a bizarre looking Penobscot-style crossbow.

Considering how schools already have so many easily upset snowflakes these days, I can only imagine what it will be like 10 years from now.

Probably should build a catapult or trebuchet instead. That would be okay. Or maybe a ballista, like the Roman style ballista below. Oooooo!

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