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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.
The strings and cables are one of the most important parts of your bow. They will often determine how much power you’ll be able to put behind each shot. However, they won’t last forever.
So, when, how, and why replace your bow’s strings and cables? You’ll need to keep an eye on your strings. If you spot signs that they might be starting to fray, you will need to replace them. If you don’t, there’s a chance that they will snap on the range. This can cause serious injuries and damage your bow. When replacing a bowstring, you’ll need to put the bow into a press. The way you change the string will depend on whether you have a teardrop attachment.
Because of how important the bowstring is, you’ll need to make sure that you’re taking care of it. If you don’t, there’s a strong possibility that you will get injured on the range, or you’ll end up wrecking the bow. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important things to know about caring for and repairing bowstrings and cables.
Why Are Bow Strings And Cables Important?
Before we take a closer look at replacing strings and cables, let’s discuss why these elements are important. When you draw back on the string, this force propels the arrow forward. The cables are used on compound bows. This allows you to put more leverage behind each shoot, delivering the maximum amount of power.
The string and cams are one of the most important parts of the bow. They are the engine. If the string and cables don’t work properly, the whole bow will be affected. Most commonly, this will impact the accuracy and the amount of power that you’ll be able to put behind each shot.
To show how crucial they are, let’s take a closer look at the role that the strings and cables play in the role. Most archers will be familiar with the string. This is where the arrow is nocked. When you fire the bow, you draw back on the string. Then, when you release, the tension of the string propels the arrow forward. Different strings will be able to launch arrows at different speeds.
If you are using a compound bow, you also need to consider the cables. They run from one cam to another. When you draw back on the string, the leverage on the cam changes; this is why many archers can get more power by using a compound bow. If the cables aren’t aligned properly, this system won’t work correctly. You might not be able to get enough power. It’s also possible that your shots might not be straight.
The type of cable system will depend on the type of compound bow you are using. For example, some people might have a single cam bow. These tend to be one of the most popular models on the market. People like them because they are easy to use. In other cases, you might be using a dual cam bow. As the name suggests, this has two cams to give archers more power behind each shot. Some other models include hybrid cams and binary cams.
If you have two cams, you will need to use two cables. Though this can add more complexity, it will give you more power. Ultimately, there are pros and cons to each of these models. The type of cable system you use will depend on your personal preferences.
When To Replace Bow Strings And Cables
You must be taking care of your strings and cables. This means knowing when to replace them. Fraying is one of the most common signs that you will need to replace them. In other cases, you will notice a broken strand. How often you’ll need to replace them will depend on the conditions you are using the bow in.
As we mentioned earlier, the condition of your strings and cables can have a big impact on how you use the bow. However, when they break, there’s a potential that you can do a lot of damage to yourself or the bow.
The best way to protect yourself on the range is by remaining vigilant. Let’s look at some of the best ways to take care of your strings and how you will know when it’s time to replace them.
How To Care For Bow Strings And Cables?
Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your strings and cable in good condition. You will need to wax the strings frequently to stop them from drying out. It’s also a good idea to consider the way that you are storing the bow. Perform regular inspects to make sure that the cams are lined up properly.
One of the best ways to keep the string in good condition is by waxing it. This will stop it from fraying as it dries out. It will also make sure that you’re able to get the best possible performance. It can be a good idea to wax the bow before each shoot. You should also wax the cables. But, don’t wax the servings. This can do a lot of damage, gumming up the bow.
To wax the bow, you’ll need to rub the wax along the string. Apply it liberally. Rub it in with your fingers. The added heat will join the strings together. When you’re finished, wipe down the string with a cloth to remove any excess wax. You’ll then be able to shoot the bow.
It’s also important to inspect the bow before you use it. More specifically, check that the cams are aligned correctly. The top and the bottom cam should be moving in unison when you draw back on the string. This will deliver the maximum power and improve the lifespan of the cable. It’s a good idea to check the alignment at the start of each session.
Finally, the way that you are storing the bow can have a big impact on the string and cables. You shouldn’t store the bow in the heat. This can cause it to start warping. It will also cause the strings to expand. Any temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) can have this impact on the bow. Cold temperatures can also impact the bow. If the string freezes, it might snap when you put pressure on it.
What Are Some Signs That You Need To Replace Bow Strings And Cables?
When using your bow, you should remain vigilant. This will let you spot the signs that you might need to replace the strings or cable. One of the most common issues is fraying along the string. It’s also possible that the string might have separated from the serving. Another potential issue is that the string has stretched too much.
There are several indicators that you might need to change your string. At the start of each session, you should do a careful inspection. This will allow you to spot these signs. As we’ll discuss later, shooting with a damaged string can cause serious injuries and damage the bow.
One of the most common issues is that the string has started to fray. In the early stages, you might be able to correct this problem by waxing. This will bring the strands back together again. However, as the problem gets worse, it will become harder to solve. If the fraying gets too bad, or you start to notice a lot of broken strands, you will need to replace the string.
It’s also a good idea to check the serving. This is the section at the top of the string. Often, it will be made of a different material to the rest of the string. Over time, the serving might start to come loose. When this happens, you will need to replace the string.
Lastly, you might notice that the string has stretched out. When this happens, you won’t be getting the same amount of power as you were before. Often, this stretching will occur as a result of exposing the bow to either high or low temperatures.
How Often Do You Need To Replace Bow Strings And Cables?
How often you will need to replace bowstrings and cables will often depend on a few factors. First, how often you are shooting the bow. It might also depend on the amount of maintenance you do. Generally, though, you’ll need to replace strings every two to three years.
How often you’ll need to replace the strings and cables will often depend on how you are using the bow. The more often you shoot, the more quickly the strings will wear out. This means that you will need to replace them more often. Because of this, target shooters often need to change their strings more often than hunters.
Another crucial element is the way that you are treating the bow. If you are regularly waxing the strings, they will last longer. You’ll also need to make sure that you wipe all the dirt and grime off before putting them away. As we mentioned, store them in an environment where you can control the temperature and humidity. Though these seem like minor things, they can have a big impact on how long the string will last.
In most cases, you’ll need to replace the string and cables on your hunting bow every two years. If you are a target shooter, it’s recommended that you replace them once every year. The reason for the difference in timing is because target shooters will shoot more frequently. The best way to know when you need to change the bow is by looking for signs of stretching or fraying.
Why Should You Replace Bow Strings And Cables?
When your bowstring breaks, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s possible to receive serious injuries when you string breaks. This can range from eye damage to scratches on your arm. It’s also possible that the bow can be seriously damaged after these accidents.
When you fire the bow, it puts a lot of strain onto the string. If you look at the bowstring’s slow-motion video, it vibrates dramatically after the arrow has been fired. Over time, this can do a lot of damage to the string, which is why it starts to fray.
This potential stored energy shows you how dangerous the string can be when it breaks. The type of damage that will receive often depends on how the string breaks. However, you will need to be very lucky to avoid a serious injury.
If the string breaks while you aim, it’s possible that it might fly into your eye. It’s also possible that it will make contact with your shoulder or your arm. At such close distances, with the string traveling at such high speeds, there is the potential for a lot of damage.
Compounding the problem is that the arrow might have been loaded and nocked. If it breaks in the middle of your shot, it has the potential to fly erratically across the range. In other cases, the nock might break, and the arrow might fall to the floor, hitting your feet. This unpredictability is one of the reasons why breaking a string is so dangerous.
A broken string can also do a lot of damage to the bow. When it breaks, the vibrations might go through the bow. This has the potential to shake components loose or cause cams to lose their alignment. As it flies through the air, it might knock accessories off the bow.
What To Do After Your String Has Broken?
Having your string break on the range is a highly precarious situation. Afterward, you should take stock of any injuries that you received. If they are too serious, go to the hospital. Before you reshoot the bow, get it examined by a professional. This will ensure that it is safe to use.
After having a string break, your priority should be your health. As we mentioned, there are many ways that a string breaking can result in a serious injury. After such a shocking incident, it’s common for adrenaline to mask some of the pain. As a result, you might only start to experience the symptoms several hours after the accident.
If you suspect that you were injured, you might want to talk to a doctor. They will be able to examine you. This is especially important if you were struck in the head or the eye. Sometimes, the force of the string has the potential to cause brain issues, like a concussion.
Before you fire your bow again, you’ll need to take it to be professionally examined. Certain parts might have been shaken loose or taken out of alignment. If you don’t correct these issues and fire the bow again, you may be injured again. A professional will know what to look for, making sure that the bow will be safe when you use it again.
How Do You Replace Bow Strings And Cables?
First, you’ll need to get the right replacement strings. Then, you’ll need to restring it. The way you do this will depend on the type of compound bow you have. Lastly, you’ll need to wear the string in.
You must know how to replace broken or worn strings safely. If you need help at any of these stages, you can visit a professional archery store. Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps involved in replacing the bowstrings and cable yourself.
What To Look For When Choosing Replacement Bow Strings?
To find the right bowstring, there are a few things that you should be looking for. First, you want to make sure that you choose the right size. You’ll also need to make sure that you are getting something that will be made from durable materials. Finally, you’ll need to think about the number of strands you want.
The most important thing that you will need to consider is the length of the bow. There are a few measurements that you will need to take. First, you’ll need to know the length of the cams. You might also need to measure the length of the riser. You should also keep the shape of the bow in mind. Many manufacturers will state these specifications on their website. This will make it easier for you to find the right length of the string.
There are many types of bowstrings on the market. Generally, though, it can be broken down into two types: stock strings and custom strings. Both of these options come with some pros and cons. The one that you use will depend on your personal preferences.
First, stock strings tend to come installed with the bow. These tend to be the cheapest options on the market. They are also the easiest to find replacements for. However, they will require more tuning to get great performance. Also, these types of string tend to wear out the fastest.
The other option that you might want to explore is a custom string. These strings have been designed for professional archers. As a result, they tend to deliver the best performance and will allow you to get the most power. However, you might want to think twice before using these strings, as they might invalidate the warranty of your bow.
The next thing that you need to think about is the material that the string has been made from. In most cases, you’ll need to choose a synthetic material. If you are a hunter, you might want to pick 8190. This can withstand a lot of damage. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, you can get Dyneema.
Finally, you’ll need to think about the number of strands you will need. This will often depend on the draw weight of your bow.
How Can I Replace Bow Strings And Cables?
First, you’ll need to place the bow into the bow press, ensuring it is attached properly. Then, you’ll need to find the type of bow that you have. If you don’t have a teardrop, you’ll need to attach the new string, wrapping it around the cams, then remove the old string. If you don’t have a teardrop, you’ll be able to remove the old string, then put in the new one.
The procedure for replacing the string on a compound bow can be complicated. Often, it will take some specialized equipment, like a bow press. If you aren’t confident doing this or don’t have the right equipment, it’s recommended that you see a professional.
If you are replacing the string yourself, the first thing that you need to do is place the bow into the press. In many cases, there will be some weight adjustment bolts. You’ll need to loosen these before you can put the bow in. Once the bow is in place, tighten the bows up to make sure that the bow can’t move. There might be arms that go over the bow to stop it from moving around in other cases.
Next, you’ll need to decide if your bow has a teardrop attachment point. This will determine the order that you need to replace the strings. A teardrop attachment will have two grooves on the side of the string.
If your bow has a teardrop attachment point, you’ll need to put the new string in place while the old string is still attached. First, you’ll need to put the new string on the empty groove. Do this on both sides of the bow. When this is done, you’ll be able to remove the old string.
If you don’t have a teardrop attachment, you’ll need to attach the string to the cam. Run the string under the cam, looping it back into the attachment point. Then, run it into the other cam. If your bow has two cams, you’ll need to loop the string on the other cam. Then, attach the second cable.
Finally, you might need to adjust the tension on the bolts. Put it back into their original settings. Then, you’ll need to remove the bow from the bow press. It should now be safe to take it to the range and shoot with it. When you are pulling back, keep a close eye on it. If you think that the string hasn’t been attached properly, slowly release the attention and try to fix the problem.
How Long Does It Take To Break In A New String?
Once you’ve installed the new strings, you’ll need to break them in. Often, it will take around 100 to 200 shots before it will be fully stretched. By doing this, you’ll be able to make sure that you are getting the best performance from your bow.
When you find a new bow, it will often take a little while before the string is in peak condition. While many modern manufacturers have some stretch in their strings, you won’t be able to get the best performance until you break them in yourself.
This process is straightforward. You’ll need to take the bow to the range and fire some practice shots. As you do this, you will be stretching out the string. Typically, it will take between 100 to 200 shots before it has been broken in properly. Once this process has finished, you’ll be able to get the best performance from the bow.
If you got it strung by a professional, you might want to take it back to the shop. This will allow them to check that everything has been done properly. You won’t have any issues in most cases, but this final check will give you the peace of mind that your bow is safe to shoot.
Once you’ve checked that everything has been attached properly, you can start tuning the bow. This will further improve your accuracy. Once this is complete, you’ll need to make sure that you are taking care of the string.
The bowstrings and cable are some of the most important parts of the bow. They determine how much power you’ll be able to put behind your shot. So, you want to make sure that you are taking care of them. This can mean waxing the strings and being careful about the way that you store the bow.
However, the most important part of string maintenance is knowing when you need to replace the string and cables. If you don’t replace them on time, you risk them breaking on the range. Thankfully, there are plenty of replacement strings and cables to choose from. Though you can string it yourself, it’s often recommended that you get a professional to help you. If you follow these tips, your strings will be able to last for a long time.
Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. He has been hunting and fishing since a child and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.