Should You Unstring A Recurve Bow?

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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.

Entering the world of archery can be very exciting. However, it can also bring some challenges. One of the biggest is figuring out how to store your equipment safely.  

Many archers want to take care of their most important tool, their bow. This has led many people to question, should you unstring a recurve bow?  

This will depend on the type of bow that you are using. Older, wooden bows should be unstrung when not in use. However, newer bows, like the ones that contain fiberglass, carbon, or synthetic foam, don’t need to be unstrung.  

As you can see, this can be a complex area, which often produces conflicting advice. This can confuse a lot of people, especially if you are new to the archery world.  

Let’s take a closer look at this area to provide clear advice to make sure that you are taking care of your equipment correctly.  

How Long Can You Leave A Recurve Bow Strung? 

As we discussed earlier, this can vary. But why does the age of the bow matter? 

When your bow is strung, it is under a lot of pressure. Tension is placed onto the limbs, keeping them in position. The materials used to create the bow can determine how well it can handle this pressure in the long-term.   

Older bows tend to be made from wood. This can mean that, if the limbs remain under tension for a long time, they can get bent out of position. Over the long-term, this can cause several serious problems.  

Over time, the bow will lose its flex, as it becomes stiffer. This will make it unusable. This can be worsened by storing the bow in poor conditions, such as a high-humidity environment.  

It is generally recommended that you only leave older bows strung for short periods of time as it helps to maintain their structural integrity. Once you are finished using them, you should remove the strings.  

On the other hand, newer bows are made from more durable materials, like carbon and synthetic foam. This makes them more durable.  

Because of this, they can be left strung without risking moving the limbs out of position. In theory, the bow could be left this way for several years without experiencing any significant impacts.  

How To Safely Unstring A Bow 

If you own a recurve bow, you should know how to string and unstring it. When doing this, you should make sure to follow the correct techniques. If you don’t this correctly, you risk damaging the bow or the string.  

During this process, you should remember that the bow is under a lot of pressure. If not appropriately unstrung, you risk injuring yourself or someone else, as the string comes flying off the bow at high speeds. To prevent this, let’s look at the correct technique for unstringing a recurve bow.  

First, you will need to purchase a bow stringer. These should be an essential part of the toolkit for any bow owner. They are a corded rope, with two pockets on either end. This tool will make it much easier for you to string and unstring your bow.  

Next, place the pockets of the bow stringer onto the limbs of the bow. Depending on the model, you might find that one pocket is bigger than the other. The bigger pocket should go onto the lower limb.  

The next step is to hold the bow horizontally, with the string facing towards the ground. Lower it until the cord from the bow stringer is on the floor, then stand on it. This will allow the cord stringer to take the slack out of the bow so that you can remove the string. This should be as simple as sliding it from the nocks.  

Once the string is out, slowly release the pressure on the bow stringer. Now, you should be able to remove the bow stringer from the limbs easily.  

If you don’t intend to use the bow for a long time, make sure to store it properly. This will ensure that the bow remains in excellent condition.  

How To String A Recurve Bow 

Once you’ve got the string off the bow, how do you get it back on? Thankfully, this process is relatively simple. Let’s look at the steps required to re-string a recurve bow.  

First, attach the bow stringer securely. Then, stand on the stringer, placing pressure onto the bow. When doing this, make sure to place both feet onto the stringer. This will ensure that it doesn’t accidentally come loose.  

Once the limbs are bent, you will be able to place the string onto the nocks in the bow. When doing this, the larger loop goes onto the top limb. Once both sides are in, slowly release the tension on the bow stringer.  

Finally, inspect the string thoroughly before you shoot. This will ensure that it has been nocked correctly and that you will be safe. If necessary, use the bow stringer to adjust the way that the bow has been strung.  

Maintaining Your Recurve Bow 

Finally, you should make sure that you support and care for your bow correctly. This will ensure that it lasts for a long time. Let’s look at some tips to help you do this.  

As we mentioned, you only need to unstring older recurve bows before you store them for an extended period. However, there are a few other factors to consider to keep the bow in good condition. If you don’t do this, the bow might be unusable within two years.  

First, make sure that you put them into a case. This will protect the bow from the bumps that will occur as you head to the archery range. This can also work as a great long-term storage solution.  

When picking a place to store the bow, make sure that you select an area that has a low moisture content. Sometimes the limbs can absorb the moisture, causing them to get bent out of shape. You should also make sure that you lay the bow flat on the ground. If it’s lent on one limb for an extended period, the pressure can cause the limb to bend out of shape.  

You should also make sure to inspect the bowstrings before each session. In some cases, they might feel dry. In this case, apply wax to add more moisture. If cared for properly, your strings should be able to last for three years.  

You will need to make sure that you are using the bow correctly. This means understanding the right techniques and handling the bow successfully. To do this, consider building up your strength and improving your conditioning. This will also allow you to become more accurate 

In Conclusion 

Archery can be a challenging sport, and a great way to keep healthy. However, to get the most out of it, you’ll have to make sure that you take care of your equipment.  

For older recurve bows, this means unstringing them before you store them so that the limbs don’t become too stiff. For newer, more durable models, this shouldn’t be an issue. You shouldn’t need to unstring them. So, use these tips to care for your bows to make sure that they will last for a lifetime.  

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Should You Unstring A Recurve Bow?

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.


Hi, I'm Sam, and I love archery! I used to work as a caregiver, and I'm in medical school now. I started this blog to help people like my parents get healthier in fun and exciting ways, more than just going to the gym. If you like one of my articles, I'd appreciate it if you share it with your folks and help them get healthier too!

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