How to Put a Bow String on a Recurve Bow

Written by kurt schanaman
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How to Put a Bow String on a Recurve Bow
Put a bow string on a recurve bow (archery image by Vladislav Gajic from

The recurve bow is similar to a regular long bow, also called a self-bow, in that the length of the bow limbs provide elasticity to the string when pulled. This elasticity translates to pounds-of-force which propel an arrow from the bow to a target. The main difference of a recurve bow is that the tips of the bow limbs curve forward slightly to provide more force at the time the string is released. Both the recurve bow and the long bow will experience string wear over time necessitating replacement of the string.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • New bow string for the length of the bow (Dacron generally preferred due to longevity)
  • Bow stringer (sock on one end, cup on the other)

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  1. 1

    Hold the recurve bow upright so the top is skyward and the bottom is gently resting on the floor or the ground. Place the large loop of the new bow string over the topmost tip of the bow and slide the string down about six inches onto the upper limb. Don't put the loop into the notch at this time. Bend over and place the small loop of the string into the lower notch and then slide the sock end of the bow stringer over the bottom tip to hold the smaller string loop in the lower notch.

  2. 2

    Rotate the bow so it is parallel to the ground with the string side pointing downward. Stretch the stringer rope on the ground in front of your feet and slide the stringer cup over the top tip of the bow, placing the edge of the cup to the left of the new bow string (you should be able to slide the string toward the notch in the tip without the cup getting in the way of string movement).

  3. 3

    Step on the stringer rope with both feet, shoulder-width apart, and hold the stringer cup in place with your right hand. Grab hold of the underside of the bow handle with your left hand and lift upward on it so the bow stringer bends the bow enough that you can then slide the right (upper) string toward the right until the loop is inserted into the string notch. Slowly lower the blow and remove your feet from the stringer rope which should now have plenty of slack.

  4. 4

    Remove the stringer cup from the top limb of the bow and then slide the sock from the lower tip of the bow. With the bow now strung correctly, install the string nock into the desired position on the string, if you have one, and use the bow as normal. The string nock is a small clip-on item that looks like a small fishing weight, which permits the archer to set the arrow clip down onto it for a more consistent arrow notching placement on the string. This is an optional accessory, but should be installed immediately after restringing your bow with a new string if one is used.

Tips and warnings

  • To preserve the longevity of a recurve bow, use the stringer in reverse of the above to remove the string tension while storing the bow. Leaving any wooden bow strung over long periods of storage will reduce the compressive strength of the belly of the bow.
  • For the your safety and the bow's, always use a stringer when stringing the bow. If you use a part of your body for assistance while bending and stringing a bow and you lose control, serious injury or breakage of the bow can result.

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