How to String a Recurve Bow without a Stringer

Recurve bow owners enjoy the old-school way of shooting. Instead of getting a crossbow or a compound bow that make shooting rather easy, recurve bow owners do it all by hand. They do not need to have the trigger or the gears to make the job of shooting easier.

This same attitude comes across when recurve archers need to string their bows. Of course, there are bow stringers that can get the job done quickly and easily, but why use that when you can do it all by yourself, with your own muscle and power.

Recurve Bows Used for Centuries

The recurve bow is a basic bow that has been used for centuries. The bow includes a string that is stretched between the ends of the bow arm. When the string is in place, it makes a shape reminiscent of the letter “D.” The early recurve bow arms were made of one piece of wood; but, now they are made of two limbs – an upper and lower. Connecting the two limbs is the middle section that is made of the grip, the nocking point, the sight window, and the arrow rest. Those can be made of one solid piece of wood or of a composite material. When a recurve bow is strung, the nocked arrow will align perfectly with the bowstring.

string recurve bow

String recurve bow

Inspect the Bow Prior to Stringing

Before you get busy stringing your bow, it is a good idea to give your bow a good inspection. Look closely at the bow, the string, and anything else you might use to help you get the string on the bow. Check to be sure there aren’t any cracks in the arms or the grip. Look to be sure the string isn’t fraying or worn out anywhere. If you notice anything, get it fixed prior to putting the taut string on the arms.

Rookie archers might want to work with a veteran archer when stringing a bow by hand for the first time. It is not an easy task, even though it is possible. It is actually potentially dangerous undertaking, and can cause damage to your bow and possibly even to you. It is much easier to do on a really flexible bow that is lightweight. The heavier the bow, the more difficult it is to get the job done.

The Step-Through Method

The “Step-Through Method” is the best way to string a bow by hand. Your string will need to be approximately four inches shorter than the recurve bow. The best way to get the string on the bow is backwards. To get the string on at the inside of the upper recurve section, put the lower bowstring loop in the notch. Then, put the loop over the bow, but under the notch.

When you shoot, the bow will be nearest your body. So, put your leg through the bowstring and the bow away from your body. This way, you can get tension with your opposite foot. Keep the curve pointed away from you, so you are not hurt. Then, at the top of the bow, put your hand on it and pull the bow toward you. Put the bowstring loop through the bow. Voila! You now have a hand-strung recurve bow.

The “Foot Bracing” Method

There is another method that does not involve stepping through the bowstring. This method requires a significant amount of arm strength to keep the tension of the string and get it on the bow. The “Foot Bracing” technique is quite simple. It is best to use this method with lightweight recurve bows or even longbows. The string loop is placed on the upper limb and the lower string loop needs to be put on the nock. Then, the lower limb is placed at the inside of the foot, holding it strongly in place. One hand holds the bow and pulls, but the other hand bends the bow. Then, the top hand on the upper limb puts the bow string in its place.

string recurve bow by step

String recurve bow ( image: archery.org.au)

What to Wear When Stringing Your Bow by Hand

When you are stringing your bow, it can be helpful to prepare yourself for the work. Many people will wear heavy-duty shoes like work boots or shoes with heavy soles. The added weight of the shoes will help you keep the lower limb of the bow in place, especially during the time of stringing with the most tension. It is also helpful to wear the arm guard that you would wear when shooting, so you have some protection on your lower arm if the string snaps during the procedure. It is also helpful to wear gloves that provide good grip and good protection at the same time. Keep your arms covered with long sleeves and it can be helpful to wear pants made of a heavy textile – like denim or tough cotton twill.

What is your preferred method of hand-stringing your recurve bow? Share your stories with us on Hunt Hacks.

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