How to Measure a Bow String

Written by kurt schanaman
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How to Measure a Bow String
String length always measures shorter than the total length of a bow from string notch to string notch. (boy playing archery. symbol of success.leisure. image by L. Shat from

Archery bows come in many lengths and draw weights. Draw weight is the amount of force, in pounds, required to pull the string back until the tips of the fingers reach the archers chin. This complete distance of pull is called the drawn length. A bow string should be measured when purchased if the packaging isn't clear about the length, to ensure the string is designed for your bow. But before measuring and purchasing a string, it is important to first measure the bow length itself.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Remove the old string from the bow and lay the unstrung bow flat on a workbench, tabletop or the floor.

  2. 2

    Measure the length of the entire bow, not from one tip to the other tip but from the string notches near the tips of the ends. Typically for both recurve and long bows, these string notches are about 3/4-inch to an inch from each tip of the bow. Measure from the centre of the string notch on one end to the centre of the string notch on the other end and this will give you the actual length of your bow according to archery industry standards.

  3. 3

    Visit a local archery shop and take your tape measurement and written bow measurement with you. When finding a string that is packaged and listed for the pounds of draw for your bow, measure the string, especially if the length isn't clearly printed on the packaging. Archery standards have established that a bow string should always be 3 to 3.5 inches shorter than the total measurement length of the bow from string notch to string notch.

Tips and warnings

  • For those who desire to make their own strings for any given bow length and draw weight, a string must be strethched on a pegged string jig when making measurements, as this is the procedure used by commercial string producers. Please visit the reference links if you desire to make your own strings or to make them for others.

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