Classic Vintage Diving

ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Dedicated to the discussion of vintage diving methods and equipment available prior to 1970. This forum section is limited to the diving without modern BCDs or use of an Octopus.

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When this forum section was first discussed, a possible name was Cranky Old Guys. That name came from the belief that those divers who feel that a more classic section of vintage diving was needed on VDH and are most likely cranky old guys. But it is also those individuals who actually lived the chosen time period and used the equipment of that era. Those people might also be the ones who grew up with Sea Hunt and Mike Nelson.

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Discussion of diving methods and equipment available prior to the development of BCDs beyond the horse collar. This forum is dedicated to the pre-1970 diving.


ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby sitkadiver » Fri May 06, 2011 5:52 pm

Does anyone have any idea what size bands to put on a 1960 or '61 Arbalete Champion spear gun. I have found it in the 1959 USD catalog, but there is no reference to the size of the band.

The threads are about 14mm, but the online sources for bands only market 16 and 18mm bands.... Any info on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby captain » Sat May 07, 2011 9:25 am

I usually make up bands from bulk tubing. Size and length is whatever works for you on your gun. Start with 14 mm (9/16") tubing, trial and error to determine length, you can always shorten a too long band. If you buy bulk tubing store it in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. Bands usually only last a year once in use.

http://www.spearitco.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=10
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby antique diver » Sat May 07, 2011 5:17 pm

When you decide on diameter and start wondering about length:

I got some guidelines in the 70's on sling length from old time spearfisherman and Bottom Scratchers Member, John Reseck. His recommendation was to use a 3:1 ratio of stretched to relaxed rubber. In other words, measure from where the sling attaches to where the wishbone hangs on the shaft when cocked, and make the rubber stretch to 3 times its relaxed length. He was a well known spearfishing expert in California, so I just followed his advice and made my slings that way. Worked great for me.
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby captain » Sat May 07, 2011 8:35 pm

Band length and diameter kind of comes to how much arm you have to cock it.
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby antique diver » Sat May 07, 2011 9:08 pm

captain wrote:Band length and diameter kind of comes to how much arm you have to cock it.


Yes, and the length is especially related to the efficiency of the band in creating maximum thrust force over the distance that it has contact with the shaft. The old guys (older than us that is) actually experimented with that to determine the best combinations.
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby sitkadiver » Wed May 11, 2011 2:02 am

captain wrote:I usually make up bands from bulk tubing. Size and length is whatever works for you on your gun. Start with 14 mm (9/16") tubing, trial and error to determine length, you can always shorten a too long band. If you buy bulk tubing store it in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. Bands usually only last a year once in use.

http://www.spearitco.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=10


This is the European style. It has a threaded fitting on each end and a separate band for each side of the gun. I've been poking around online and found that there are 3 sizes available today(at least commonly available). 13, 16 and 18mm. The gun itself looks almost identical to the USD guns(it might be.), the Healthways offerings and the Voit guns. I can't help but wonder if the arbalete's were all imported from the same French supplier.

I guess my biggest source of confusion is measuring the threads an getting 14.5 mm when I was expecting 16...!

I called a company in Florida called Austin's dive center, they seemed very friendly and helpful, but I was at work and had to get off the phone in a hurry, I follow up with them as they seem to stock all sorts of different bands, and a lot of bands for European type guns.
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby Phil » Sun May 15, 2011 12:27 am

Hi, Sitka!
Are you wanting to restore the arb to its original state for display or do you want to actually use it to poke fish? Rene Cavalero's arbalete, as it came from Champion Watersports, was certainly the most popular speargun in North America in the 1950's - it was distributed by Rene Sports, then USD and outsold all others by a wide margin. By the early 60's, there were some other guns available; notably the guns originally sold by Spearfisherman, then Pacific molded products and finally by Voit. The arbalete had a lot of problems - starting with the hard trigger pull on the standard and the deluxe models,( the sear-link design sucked!) real problems with dissimilar aluminum specs in the cast handle and muzzle vs the extruded barrel - this caused the handle to literally fuse to the barrel unless it was taken apart frequently and greased. Once frozen, it can sometimes be removed by taking out the line-clip bolt (which also holds the barrel onto the handle) stick the handle up to the trigger guard in a container of cold water and then heat the barrel immediately in front of the handle with a propane torch - then get someone to quickly hold the muzzle while you give the handle a sharp sideways wrench. This often worked even after penetrating oil failed.
The fine threads in the muzzle that held the kettle-cured rubbers were prone to corroding and/or stripping - also, those same rubbers had a hard contraction that often caused the gun to fire high. Many spearfishermen replaced the standard rubbers with surgical tubing which gave a long cast rather than a short snap and helped a lot with the trigger pull problem. To replace the standard screw-in factory rubbers - take a 10-32 X 1/2" or 3/4" long, push the bolt head entirely into the surgical tubing - hold tightly with your thumb and forefinger as someone stretches the tubing to about the barrel length - then (with your other hand) wrap a number of wraps of thin monofilament line on the shank of the bolt just behind the bolthead - trim the tubing to expose about a 1/4" of thread, drill holes in the muzzle rubber threaded socket (parallel to the barrel)put a stainless washer and nut on the front of the muzzle (or an acorn nut if you wanted to be 'uptown')This was all pretty easy once the surgical tubing loop slings with wishbone aready on became available - 'course by the time they became available, good guns were also available! Prior to that, the standard way of attaching the wishbone to the tubing was to take a heavy chromed brass fishing swivel and insert the eye and the swivel barrel into the tubing, leaving the other eye sticking out - stretch the tubing with assistance and wrap the monofilament line between the expose eye and the barrel and tie off. Stainless bicycle spokes made the best wishbones.

I shouldn't be down on the old arbs - I killed a very large number of fish with these early guns - If there are Lingcod in heaven . . .then I could be in big trouble down the road.
If you need parts - let me know I still have half a dozen or more arbaletes kicking about.
Hmmmm . . .Yet another manuscript reply!
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby DaleC » Sun May 15, 2011 3:13 pm

and much appreciated Phil :D
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby Phil » Sun May 15, 2011 5:23 pm

P.S. to Sitka
Sorry, forgot to mention that the reason there were/are three sizes of 'rubbers' ( this is very 50's/60's - in europe there were called 'bands' and, later in the US 'Slings')is because there were three models available: Junior, Standard, and Deluxe. The Jr. and Stnd. had two rubbers, the deluxe, four. The deluxe also had a center handle (which was quite useless, but looked the business). Trigger pull was relatively smooth on the Jr., very stiff on the stnd. and a jaw-gritter on the deluxe. There was also a very peeweee version some years later with a tubing handle.
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby dennis1573 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:41 pm

@Phil Wish I would have found your post earlier. My father owns a Arbalete Champion Spear Gun Rene Cavalero for many years and still uses it, recently he tried removing the barrel and broke the handle. He is need of a new handle. After long hours of searching for a replacement parts I found your post and hope that you may still have a replacement handle or entire spear gun that he can you use. Please reply if you can help or maybe point me in the right direction where I might be able to find replacement parts for his beloved speargun.

Thanks,
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Re: ARBALETE SPEARGUN BANDS

Postby dennis1573 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:43 pm

@Phil Wish I would have found your post earlier. My father owns a Arbalete Champion Spear Gun Rene Cavalero for many years and still uses it, recently he tried removing the barrel and broke the handle. He is need of a new handle. After long hours of searching for a replacement parts I found your post and hope that you may still have a replacement handle or entire spear gun that he can you use. Please reply if you can help or maybe point me in the right direction where I might be able to find replacement parts for his beloved speargun.

Thanks,
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