The days of William Tell are over. The modern archer’s relation to his/her bow is changing and growing more complex. Gone are the days of the longbow. Nigh are the days of the compact bow, which is quite a complex tool indeed.
The weapon of choice for hunters and hobbyists alike, the compound bow is a concise and effective tool, with a specific set of care instructions.
In particular, you might wonder: How do I go about restringing my bow? More importantly, how often and when should I restring my bow?
It’s a good question, and, as is usually the case with this sort of complex machinery, the answer isn’t totally cut and dry.
First, think about what happens to your bow every time you shoot it. When you draw the string back, you’re creating energy and transferring that energy from your body to the bow and bow string.
With a snap and brisk cutting of air, the energy travels into the arrow, and the arrow travels into the target. The whole process involves a massive transfer of kinetic energy and tension. Every time you shoot your bow you put it through a cycle of tension and release.
Generally speaking, you’re going to want to replace your bow string about once every year. This is mainly for the reason you might expect: general wear and tear.
Shooting a bow regularly is a taxing physical practice, both on the archer and on the bow itself. Your bow is going to need maintenance. Even if you don’t shoot regularly, once a year is the general minimum benchmark for having your bow restrung.
If you wait longer than a year, you might be endangering the overall health of the bow.
In some respects, it’s helpful to think of the bow as being like any other large piece of modern machinery. Would you wait, for example, more than a few years to service your motorcycle?
Probably not, the simple reason being that you acknowledge the complexities of the machine, and understand that it needs maintenance. You really need to start thinking of your bow in the same way. With all its parts and complicated pieces, it is a complicated piece of machinery.
Aside from a general checkup, there are a few other times when you might need to get your bow restrung.
Take, for example, the most obvious one: an accidental or intentional dry fire.
Maybe you didn’t know that dry firing a compound bow is one of the worst things you can do to it.
Maybe you tripped and the arrow came loose, and you released the bow on accident. In any case, if you ever dry shoot your bow, you’re going to want to bring it in immediately to be restrung.
A bow will not survive a dry shot unscathed. The energy that is placed into the arrow during a normal shot is released into the bow. The shock released into the bow during a dry fire can cause damage to the string, limbs, cams and all moving parts. There will be, in short, some kind of damage, and that damage is likely to occur to the string itself
A dry fire is, again, one of the worst things you could do to your bow, and there will be damage in places other than the string. It’s best to take your bow into the shop after this happens.
There, a technician can inspect the bow and determine if there is damage beyond the string. They may go ahead restring the bow and test operate it.
There are two general rules for when to restring your bow: when you’ve made the mistake of dry shooting, or after a year of general use.
These are two general guidelines to follow for the adult archer.
If you’re a juvenile archer, however, or the parent of a juvenile archer, you also have to consider another reason to restring the bow. The archer may grow and the bow may need to be restrung with a longer bow string.
The concept here is quite simple: Your bow is strung to match your arm span, and your arm span is going to change if you’re growing. As such, children should have their bows restrung more than once a year, especially if they’re growing at an unusually fast pace.
All things considered, one must be kind to one’s bow.
The relationship between an archer and his tool is one of the oldest human relationships. A good understanding of the proper care and use of the modern bow will allow its easy and safe operation.