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How They’re Made: Bowstrings

Each compound-bow component works in harmony to deliver accurate shots. Limbs and cams transfer energy to the bowstring, which transfers energy to the arrow. To maximize shooting performance, each component must be in top working order. That’s especially true for your bowstring. If it’s looking worn, it might be time to replace it.

Why New Bowstrings?

The strings are well worn components of the bow, so they need a tune up as they deteriorate with use. Photo Credit: ATA

Bowstrings wear out through use over time. When should you replace them? That depends on how often you shoot, how well you maintain your bow and bowstring, and what conditions it regularly endures.

Well-maintained bowstrings last about two years, and should then be replaced. If you shoot a lot, you might have to replace your bowstring every six months to a year. Also, replace bowstrings that have frayed or broken strands. If you’re unsure whether to replace your bowstring, visit an archery store for advice. An extra incentive for replacing factory-installed bowstrings is that you can switch to custom-colored strings to make your bow unique.

Determining Bowstring Length

Bowstrings are measured against your bow’s length. Photo Credit: ATA

When you order a bowstring, you’ll need to give the string-maker its length. If you have a compound bow, you’ll also need the length of its cables.

A recurve’s bowstring generally measures 4 inches less than the bow’s length. For longbows, it’s usually 3 inches less than the bow’s length. Bow manufacturers can provide the proper bowstring length, or you can take your bow with its old bowstring to an archery shop.

For compound bows, your bowstring and cable length can usually be found on the bow’s limb. If you can’t find them, take your bow to a pro shop, and the bow technician will help determine their lengths.

How Bowstrings are Made

Building a bowstring requires art and science. String-makers use their knowledge of bows and string materials to produce functional works of art that make your bow shoot and look great.

The process starts with choosing your desired string colors, material and string length. If you’re unsure about the different options, the archery pro can describe the pros and cons of different materials.

The string-maker takes information from the bow and uses a computer program to determine how long to make the bowstring. The length is based on the desired finished length, bowstring material, and the number of twists in the finished string.

Then they set up their string-making jig, and wrap the string material around the jig’s posts. They wrap string-serving material around the bundles to hold them together.

The string-builder then adds the specified number of twists to the bowstring, and puts it on a pneumatic string stretcher overnight at 375 pounds.

After stretching, the bowstring is ready to be served. The string-builder carefully serves the string in the right direction, which prevents peep rotation. Once the loops and center-serving are complete, the bowstring can be installed.

Are you ready to order your customized bowstrings? Visit an archery shop to start the process. You can find a nearby shop here.



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