Bows are mechanical devices that go through repeated use. As a result, they naturally wear down over time and are subject to damage if not taken care of. Unfortunately, out of all the parts of the bow, the bow string is usually the one that takes most of the breakage. Therefore, it usually needs a bit more maintenance.
In short, bow strings will usually last for about three years. However, this can vary depending on a variety of factors. For example, a bow will a heavier draw will usually damage the bow string more quickly. In addition, how often you shoot and how often it’s maintained will also make a difference.
Bows strings are like machines. In order to keep them running, you have to take good care of them. But, how exactly do you maintain them and how long do they last?
How to make your bow string last longer
When a bow is fired, the bow strings usually take the brunt of the force. As a result, it’s normal for these “hits” to gradually damage them over time. However, while a frayed bow string is a natural part of archery, you should never shoot your bow string when it is like this.
Luckily, there’s a few things that you can do to ensure that your bow strings don’t go bad. To keep it from wearing away and facing a premature death:
- apply wax regularly
- store it properly
- take the bow string off when not in use
To properly maintain your bow string, it’s extremely important to regularly apply wax to it. Applying wax controls fraying and keeps the string weather-resistant.
Another thing that you have to do is to ensure that you’re storing your bow string in a place with good environmental conditions. For example, a lot of people keep their bows in their garages or sheds until they need to use them. Unfortunately, in climates with higher humidity or hotter temperatures, this can be terrible if your shed doesn’t have a consistent climate.
The last thing that you can do to make your bow string last longer is to take the string off when you’re not using it. This solution works for recurves and longbows, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work for every type of bow.
How string stretch affects the lifespan of your bow string
String stretch is when the fibers of your bow lose elasticity over time. It occurs through two methods: either through continued use or because of improper storage. The factors that rely on continued use are:
- draw length
- brace height
- draw weight
- tuning adjustments
How continued use affects the lifespan of your bow string
To start, draw length is the distance that you pull the bow string back when you fire. This factor directly correlates to how long your string with last. The farther you draw back your bow, the more energy your bow string will have to absorb and the more it will get damaged.
In addition, the brace height, which is the distance between the string and the deepest part of the bow, also makes a difference. The shorter the brace height, the faster the arrow and bow string will travel. Therefore, the string will have to endure a higher vibration.
The draw weight also affects the bow string’s lifespan. Bows with more poundage deliver a higher shock to the bow string. Thus, degrading them faster over time.
Furthermore, tuning adjustments in the bow and bow strings can affect the distribution of weight and energy within the bow string.
How improper storage affects the lifespan of your bow string
Higher temperatures and humidity will, overall, degrade the quality of your bowstrings. High temperatures will melt a bow string’s wax, while higher humidity levels can eventually lead to mold. Furthermore, it will also stretch out your bow string and lessen its elasticity.
How to make your bow string last longer with wax
Before you shoot, you should inspect your bow string. Run your fingers up and down the length of the string to see if it’s fuzzy or if it feels dry. If you find that it has any of these characteristics, apply bow’s wax to the string. This should improve the bow string’s resistance to breakage. Furthermore, it will also prevent environmental factors, like water, from getting into the product and causing further damage. Archers usually wax their bowstring every two weeks or so, however this depends on the amount of should.
I use this one from Amazon and it’s helped keep my bow strings from falling apart.
To apply the wax to the bow string, simply take a bit of wax with your fingers and rub it in with your fingers until it fully melts in the string.
However, this method only works for bow strings that can be salvaged. If you know, by looking at the string, that it is beyond fixing, get a new one. Drawing with a damaged string is dangerous because it can painfully slash your arms, face, and shoulders if it breaks.
When do you need to replace your bow string?
If your bow string looks like it’s going to snap, it’s better to say goodbye than to continue using it. It isn’t uncommon for people to use damaged strings and suffer the ugly consequences. I’ve heard of people drawing their bows back, only for the string to snap, and slice across their shoulders, arms, and face.
Once your string gets damaged enough, you can either replace it yourself or take it to your local archery shop. If possible, they’ll usually be able to fix it for you. If not, they’ll replace the string. The great thing about this is that you pick a new bowstring in whatever material or color you want.