How to Measure String Length on a Recurve Bow

Written by mary lougee
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How to Measure String Length on a Recurve Bow
Recurve bows are used in archery events in the Olympics. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

A recurve bow is flexible; it has tips that, holding the string, curve away from the archer. This type of bow is preferred for younger archers as it takes little force to draw the string back, but the design adds more velocity and height to the arrow per draw length. Strings are available in several lengths to fit the different sizes of recurve bows. Measuring the string length correctly provides you with a replacement string of the correct size for your particular bow.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Bow stringer
  • Small nail
  • Hammer
  • Old bow string
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Hold your recurve bow, with the face pointing down, in your strongest hand. The centre of the stringer should be on the ground.

  2. 2

    Place the larger pouch of a bow stringer on the bottom bow tip and the smaller pouch on the upper bow tip. Step on the centre of the stringer with the same side foot as the hand you are holding the bow with. For example, if you are holding the bow in your right hand, step on the stringer with your right foot.

  3. 3

    Pull the bow slowly up towards you. The stringer applies pressure on both ends and bends them slightly. Slide the bow string loop off the groove holding it in place on the upper tip. Release your foot off the bow stringer and remove the bow string loop off the lower bow tip.

  4. 4

    Hammer a small nail into a scrap piece of wood or into a work bench. Loop one end of the bow string around the nail and let the string relax --- to return to its unstretched size --- for three hours.

  5. 5

    Measure the length of the bow string from the top of the loop on the nail to the outermost end of the other loop in inches. Order a new bow string for your recurve in this size.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not have an old bow string to measure, subtract 4 inches from the bow size to obtain the correct length of replacement string.
  • Do not place your fingers between the bow string and bow face while stringing or unstringing a bow. The string can snap back and pinch your fingers.
  • Bow strings that are too short can break the bow when you draw the string back to shoot an arrow.

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