Making Combat Bolts – Fiberglass Baldars

Recently talked someone through making some bolts and I thought it would be helpful to have some visual references with a step by step guide.

A kit as sold by Northstar Archery

Lets assume you have the pieces all purchased.

Got all your bits? Lets go!

Lets start with your shafts. Grab a blunt, you dont have to, but I like to smear just a touch of glue on the tip of the shaft. If you do this make sure to not over do it! Literally a smeared touch of glue. Place the blunt on the shaft and use the hammer to tap it down. You can flip the shaft and hammer the end of the rod but you may damage the rod and make it harder to seat the APD later. The blunt should seat 1 1/8″ down the shaft.

Once the blunt is securely in place, grab an APD. You should see a small pinhole on the APD near where the shaft goes in. This is where the excess glue can bleed out. Grab a pin and poke that hole to make sure it goes through and it clear of obstruction. This time, take a small pea-sized amount of blue and drip it in the APD hole. Insert the shaft in the APD. Now on the edge of a table or workbench, with the blunt on top and APD on bottom,

Illus. 1
Illus. 1

place the ring of the APD on the surface. The little nub at the bottom of the bold will be the only part hanging off. Hammer on the blunt to properly seat the APD. You may see a little glue squirt out the hole.

Next we will need the 1″ fiberglass tape. you want a piece that will go  from end to end of the complete fiberglass shaft. This tape wraps around the shaft just. The whole shaft must be covered so that no fiberglass is showing.

Next comes the wrapping of the APD and Blunt. If you have 1/4″ tape, use this, otherwise you can split a strip of 1″ into 2-4 vertical strips. You may lose a piece or two in the process as well as cut a few too short. You will get the hang of it.

Illus. 2
Illus. 2

On the Blunt, make an ‘X’ and let the tape go down on the shaft at least an inch. For the APD, refer to Illus. 2 and make an ‘X’ from the shaft to the APD tip, then flip bolt over and go straight down the APD to the shaft. The APD tape isn’t a requirement, but its a good thing to do! This can be done with electrical tape, but using strap tape will last a LOT longer and is that much safer.

Now we need to have pretty bolts right? Here is where

Illus. 3
Illus. 3

the electrical tape comes in.  You can at this point cover the blunt tape with colored electrical tape of choice to make it look nicer if you opted for strapping tape previously. Refer to Illus. 2 and note where the strap tape ends. Now we want to to start wrapping with electrical tape about a half inch above where the Blunt/APD ends, then wrap up/down until the strapping tape is covered. (Dont use too much gold tape! This is reserved!) Decorate to your content but remember the more tape, the thicker the bolt. Make sure the crossbow channel can handle it. Make sure you leave some space for…

Time for the label! I like to make a label in something like photoshop, but you can use Gimp, a label maker, whatever! Print out labels about 3/4″ x 1.5″. Make sure to include your SCA Name, Barony, Kingdom. Make sure its a legible font that can be read after being stepped on a few times. This covers all the bases. Now take your clear packing tape and go at least one and a half times around over the label.

Thats about it! Please post questions or comments in the comments below!

Next up, I’m all a quiver!

Additional Notes:

Bring extra tape and labels with you. You may get short on bolts and will need to do some last minute repairs.

If going to a war, I’d recommend at least 50 bolts because there may be a few battles before bolts get gleaned and re-inspected.

Ill shoot all my bolts at a board from about 20 yards. This is good target practice but also ensure the heads are seated.

Measure the shafts, if a few are longer, then the APD or Blunt may not be seated all the way!


Northstar Archery Kits

Argent Plus

Your version may vary due to Kingdom law, please check yours before making any purchases or assembling. But as of time of writing, these are legal for Pennsic and most Kingdoms

What passes for legal round here?

Quick missive friends,

Recently found myself at an event and a gentle who wished to have his equipment inspected brought up a bow which caught my eye immediately.

The bows stock construction was solid enough to be sure, but what caught my eye was the ‘prod’. I had never seen a prod like this. Four piece of fiberglass rod combined into one piece with copper caps and tape.

So let me do a bad thing and state my opinion right up front. This thing scares me. And without combing over the rules with a fine tooth comb, If I were MiC for CA, I wouldn’t let it on the field.

Here is where you all come in, would you? Of all the severe archery nerds friends to rules buffs, one of you must know the answer to this question.

After some discussion, I posited that if this were to fall under normal bow equivalents, I think this would be viewed as an ‘experimental weapon’ and would be treated as such.

You ready for the money shot?

A different method of crossbow construction
A different method of crossbow construction

What would you do? Please discuss and share your reasons and applied rules!