How To String a Recurve
Bow in 4 Simple Steps How To String a Recurve Bow in 4 Simple Steps

Stringing a bow is a fundamental skill of recurve and longbow archery, and removing the bowstring extends the life of the bow and string alike. If you have a bow that can be taken apart for storage, you must first remove its string. No need to worry – your local archery shop can teach you how to properly remove and reattach your bowstring without damaging any parts. If you’re more of a do-it-yourself person, let the steps below be your guide.

Bow stringing and unstringing are basic skills, but require a specialized tool called a bow-stringer. This device helps archers safely and easily string and unstring their bows. You can use other methods for these tasks, but a bow-stringer provides the safest method for you and your bow. It’s also the only method bow manufacturers recommend. Your local archery shop can help you select the proper bow-stringer for your bow, and teach you how to use it.

Bow-stringers are available from archery stores, and come in several varieties, but they all function the same. That is, they help archers flex their bow, which makes it easier to slide the string into place. Before stringing your bow, talk to your local archery shop. They can answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.

Here’s the step-by-step process of stringing a bow with a bow-stringer.

Step 1: Get the bow ready.

Recurve bows have a small ridge, called a “string groove,” in each of their limbs. These distinctive grooves are near the tip of each limb and hold the bowstring in place. Photo Credit: World Archery

If you have a three-piece bow, install its limbs per the manufacturer’s instructions. Your local archery shop can help with this step. Next, locate the top string loop. You can tell the difference between the top and bottom loop because the top loop is larger. Slide the top loop down the top limb. Then place the bottom loop into the string grooves on the bottom limb. You’ll see the string grooves near the tip of each limb. They’re distinctive grooves that hold the bowstring.

Step 2: Putting the stringer on the bow.

When putting a bow-stringer on your bow, first slide the saddle over the upper limb-tip. The saddle is the smaller of the two bow-stringer pockets. The larger pocket, called the “pouch,” fits over the lower limb. Photo Credit: WikiHow

As with the bowstring, attach the bow-stringer by starting with the top limb. Place the bow-stringer’s “saddle” end over the limb just behind the string loop. The saddle end is open and flat so it lies flat on the limb.

Next, place the pouch end securely over the bottom limb tip. The pouch end is enclosed so it can securely hold the bow’s tip. Your bow is now ready to be strung.

Step 3: Stringing the bow.

After securing the bow-stringer to your bow’s limb tips, stand on the stringer with your feet shoulder width apart. Pull up on the bow and, at the same time, slide the loose string loop up until it fits into the notch near the tip of the bow. Photo Credit: WikiHow

Step onto the bow-stringer with both feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold the bow by its grip and pull straight up to flex its limbs. The bow-stringer will support the bow’s draw weight as you now slide the top string loop into the limb tip’s string grooves.

This step may seem daunting for new archers. How do you know if you’re flexing the bow far enough? Are you sure it’s ok to step onto the bow-stringer? Talk to your local archery shop. They’ll show you exactly how to safely and properly string your bow.

Step 4: Checking the bow.

After stringing your bow, inspect the string to make sure it’s secure in both string grooves. Photo Credit: The Infinite Curve

Once the top string loop is secured, remove the bow-stringer. Turn the bow so its limbs face away from you. This is the same position you would use to shoot the bow, and it’s a precautionary measure. If the string slips off a limb, the limbs will release away from your body. If this step makes you nervous, visit a local archery shop for help. They can demo the process, and ensure the strings are properly in place.

Last but not least, check to ensure the string is secured in both string grooves. Your bow is now strung and ready to go.

Now that you know how to string and unstring your recurve or longbow, you’re on your way to a full day of shooting. To pick up a bow and a bow-stringer, visit your local archery store. Its pro staff will help you select the right bow and demonstrate how to use a stringer.

Find a store near you.