How to string a recurve bow

There are a number of methods used to string a recurve bow although using an incorrect stringing method could cause damage to the bow in the form of twisted limbs or splitting of the limbs due to misaligned pressure or personal injury from the recoil of the limbs if control is lost during the stringing process.

The use of a bow stringer is the method recommended by equipment manufacturers.

The Bow String

Modern bow strings are made from a number of strands of bow string material; the ends are bound into loops which fit onto the bow’s nocks (notches) fitted to the ends of the bow limbs.

Usually the top loop is larger than the bottom loop as the top loop needs to be slid down the bow limb for storage and stringing of the bow. The larger top loop makes it easier to identify the top from the bottom of the string which is important when stringing a bow.

The centre of the string is bound with serving which protects the string from wear. Nocking points are fitted to the serving to provide a consistent point to place the arrow on the string prior to shooting.

If the top and bottom string loops are manufactured the same size you can determine the top of the string by folding the string in half. The upper loop is that loop which is on the side of the string-half to which nock points are applied.

The Bow Stringer

A bow stringer is a device designed to string bows. Bow stringers come in two basic designs, double pocket or saddle type. Both types have a strong nylon cord which has on one end a large leather (or rubber) pocket which fits over the bottom limb tip and at the other end, in the case of the “Double Pocket Type”, a smaller leather (or rubber) pocket or in the case of the “Saddle Type”, a saddle made of rubber or leather having a dimpled rubber surface.

With both style of bow stringers, the larger pocket fits onto the bottom limb tip over the string and helps in keeping the string in place.The smaller pocket on the “Double Pocket“ type fits over the top limb tip and allows the string to be placed into the string groove of the upper limb.The Saddle of the “Saddle” type stringer fits just behind the string which should be looped around the upper limb.

Procedure to string a recurve bow

1. Firstly identify the top string loop and slide the top loop over the upper limb of the bow and locate the lower loop in the lower string-nock.

2. Check the position of the bottom loop ensuring that it is located in the string groove of the limb and then slide the large pocket of the stringer over the bow tip and string loop.

3. With the bow held horizontally and the string underneath, place the small pocket of the bow stringer over the top bow tip. If using the saddle type bow stringer place the dimpled saddle of the stringer over the upper limb and below the bowstring loop. Slide the dimpled saddle of the stringer along the upper limb of the bow and locate it directly behind the upper string loop.

4. While holding the bow by the handle around the grip with one hand (if using the saddle type stringer) position the dimpled saddle with the other hand. Allow the cord of the stringer to touch the ground and place the ball of one or preferably both feet onto the cord. Under no circumstances should the cord be located under the arch of the foot, as this will allow the cord to slip when the tension is taken up. It is recommended that children use both feet.

5. Take up the slack in the cord and place the thumb and index finger of your free hand on each edge of the bow limb located just behind the string loop and take up the slack in the bow string.

6. In one action draw up using the hand holding the bow. This causes the limbs to bend downwards. At the same time, slide the string up the limb with the other hand until it engages with the string nock.

7. Using your finger, check that the string is seated correctly in the bow nock.

8. Step off the cord and, at arm’s length, rotate the bow, string toward the body with the limb tips pointing away from the body and vertical to the ground, this will ensure if there is an accident the limb and string will move away from the body. Inspect the string in correct seated in both limb tips in particular the upper limb nock is correctly seated in the nock groove.

9. If correct, remove the bow stringer and check that the lower string loop has not moved and is still seated correctly.

10. Now check the brace height and nocking point height before shooting.

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