In my day job I am the CTO and Founding Partner of a Web Application consulting team: Musketeers.me. You can connect with me more at my personal home on the web: eliw.com. I currently live in Maryland, and while I enjoy 'normal' hobbies such as playing video games, poker, golf and hanging out with friends, my true passion is for the Middle Ages. I belong to a medieval recreation group known as the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and that is where my love of crossbows began.
In the SCA, you choose a 'persona' for yourself. A new name and identity from out of the middle ages to help focus your reenactment. My persona is Barun Siegfried Sebastian Faust, a 16th century German Landsknecht (a fancy name for a mercenary who wears wild clothing). I first heard about the SCA probably around 1990 or so, but didn't end up finding them and joining until 1995. Since then I have dabbled in many aspects of the SCA: fighting, cooking, brewing, sewing, woodworking etc. But the one topic that has grabbed me the firmest was shooting crossbows, and therefore, making the crossbows came out of a natural progression of that.
About Me & Crossbows:
I had wanted to shoot crossbow since I joined the SCA, but being a poor college student I couldn't afford one. In the summer of 1998 at a large SCA event (Pennsic War), I purchased a $15 crossbow kit that used a piece of pine 2x4 for the stock and fiberglass electric fence posts as the prod. The crossbow as purchased didn't work that well, but I started putting some work into it, changing things, doing whatever I could to make it shoot better, and I kept practicing with it. Eventually frustration set in trying to shoot accurate with something designed to only worry about hitting a barn, and the next year at Pennsic, with the help of a generous donation by my wife, I purchased a true medieval style crossbow from New World Arbalest. I feel even deeper in love with shooting after that, but again, I was constantly doing small tinkering to try to make the bow shoot better. About a year after I bought it, it had to be returned to the maker for some major maintenance work, and I was without crossbow for a number of months. I decided during this time that I needed a backup crossbow, and attempted to make it myself. I set out to do so and in the end had crafted my first crossbow. It shot like a dream and I was hooked all over again on crossbows. This time … with making them.