The Basics of Bow String Maintenance

By Cody Larrimore


As you probably already realize, your bow string is an essential part of your bow; if there is no string then there is no possibility of shooting. It would be like a car without a motor.

That being said it is very important that you keep an eye on the condition of the string so as to make sure that it will deliver the best performance possible. The most common questions I hear are: “when should I change the string and cable”, “what could I do to prolong the life of the string/cable”, and “what do I do if the string breaks.”

Now first of all, I just want to state for those of you who aren’t very familiar with the bow. The purpose of the string is to pull on the cams causing them to rotate. As the cams rotate they pull on the cables which are attached to the ends of the limbs of the bow. As the cables are pulled their length shortens, causing the limbs of the bow to bend, this is what produces the energy within the limbs.

When to change your string

Ok so let’s start off with the first question “when should the strings be changed”. Well what you need to do is simply look at the condition of the string. What you’re going to be looking for are badly frayed sections, or broken strand. There is also going to be areas of the string that have serving on it. When you see this serving coming undone or badly spreading apart it is time to change the string.

Also pay attention to the draw-length of your bow because as a string ages it becomes stretched out and this in turn lengthens the draw of your bow causing the draw to become too long. This however does not always mean you need to replace the string more often than not you can bring it to a repair shop and they can put some twists in the string to shorten it back up.

How to prolong the life of your string

My first suggestion is to get a hold of some bowstring wax. You can buy it at almost any archery retailer or repair shop.

When you first receive your new string it will be pre-waxed, but as your bow is introduced to the outdoor elements this wax wears off, and that’s when you’ll notice the string begin to fray. At this point, you’re going to want to get that wax (it usually comes in a cylinder) and put some on the string.

Then take a rag and rub it up and down the string to heat the wax up so that it is able to soak into the string. Doing this will tremendously increase the life of your string.

Another suggestion is to store your bow in a dry place; leaving it in the back of your truck or in a place where there is a lot of moisture really breaks the string down. If you have been out hunting and it has been raining or snowing and your string is wet or dirty, then take a cloth and wipe it down to make sure that the dirt and the water are gone. Once the string is wiped down, take your wax out and re-apply it. This will ensure that the string stays dry and that the dirt will not cause excessive wear to your string.

The last suggestion I have for you is to get yourself a string loop. I’ve seen it all too many times. The string will be in good condition except for where the release pulls back on the string. When the bow is drawn there is a huge amount of pressure on the release and this quickly causes wear on the bowstring. So to solve that problem a lot of archers now are switching to a string loop, which is nothing more than a piece of string that attaches to the bowstring both above and below the knocking point.

What to do if a string breaks

To be honest you want to avoid this at all costs. But if your string does break you will undoubtedly have to bring your bow into a repair shop to get serviced. What happens when the string on a bow breaks could result in a couple different scenarios the first being that the string snaps and the cables are strong enough to keep the bow held down (applies only to dual cam bows), in which case place your bow immediately into your hard case and hurry yourself into a repair shop to get the bow serviced before the cables snap as well.

The other scenario applies to solo-cam and dual cam. If you’re not so lucky and both the string and cables break, your bow limbs will shoot forward more than likely causing the bow to jump out of your hands. With the limbs shooting forward so fast this could ultimately cause them to break or crack. It could also cause the axles and cams to bend or break. This is a very, very costly scenario, which you can avoid by staying aware and taking care of your string and cables.

Note: In the paragraph above I make mention of cables. Most bows have strings and cables that do different jobs but all of the rules with the strings apply for the cables as well.

If you take care of your bow and use these guidelines to keep your strings and cables healthy and performing their best, then not only will you save a lot of money and headache, but you’ll also ensure that the next time you draw your bow on an animal or targe you don’t end up having to pick up pieces of your bow as you watch your target get away.

Via: All Outdoor

Category: Hunting, archery, Archery String, Bow String


Charles is the editor for 248 Shooter a midwest based gun news and gear review site as well as Online Content Director for On Target Magazine. He is an avid student taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians.