How To String A Recurve Bow

Recurve bows are preferred by those who like to do a more traditional type of archery thanks to their conventional design. However, restringing them does take some practice but if you want to be the best archer you can, it is important to learn how to do this properly.

In this article, we will be looking at how to string a recurve bow by hand as well as using a bow stringer.

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Stringing A Recurve Bow

Knowing how to string your recurve bow is an important part of archery, yet many people do not learn how to do this and instead take their bow to an archery shop.

This is, of course, a viable option but just think how convenient it would be to do this yourself and not have to make a special trip or fork out any extra cash just to restring your bow.

Another important thing to think about is that restringing does not only need to be done when the string wears out or breaks. There are a lot of recurve bows that can be taken apart for storage and the string must be removed in order to do it.

Using A Bow Stringer

One of the easiest methods for restringing your bow is to use a bow stringer. This is a piece of equipment that not only makes restringing the bow easier but also makes it much safer. A lot of people prefer to use this method for these reasons.

Furthermore, if you speak to any archery shop technician, they will tell you that this is the recommended way to do the job. What’s more, they will be able to help you select a bow stringer that is right for you.

Step 1 – Buy A Bow Stringer

As we have mentioned, you can speak to your local archery shop where you will be able to source the right type of bow stringer for you. They do come in several varieties but essentially, they all have the same purpose; to help you restring your bow.

The most common types for a recurve bow are the double pocket bow stringer and the pocket and saddle bow stringer.

Step 2 – Prepare Your Bow

When you are doing any maintenance on your bow, it is vital that you take your time and make sure that everything is prepared. You don’t want to rush the process and risk damaging any part of your equipment.

To get the bow ready to be restrung, you must first install the limbs, if it is a new bow. If you are restringing an old bow, you must first remove the old string.

You will now need to put the string loops onto the limbs. You must begin with the top string loop which can be easily recognized because of its larger size. Simply slide this loop down the limb and then take the bottom string loop and put this onto the bottom limb.

These loops must sit on the string grooves which are very distinct grooves at the tip of both limbs; you can’t miss them.

Step 3 – Putting The Bow Stringer On

You will need to put the bow stringer on in a similar way to the string loops, beginning with the top limb.

The saddle end of the stringer, which is the part that lies flat on the bow should be installed slightly behind the string loop that you have just installed.

Now you can move on to the pouch end of the bow stringer which will be put onto the lower limb. You can place this over the tip of the bottom limb, you will notice that the design allows this to be put on securely and enclose the entire end of the limb.

You are now ready to string your bow.

Step 4 – Stringing Your Bow

With the bow stringer on the floor, step onto this with both feet; keep your feet shoulder-width apart to make this process as easy as possible. Now take the bow by the grip and lift it straight up towards you so that the limbs become flexed.

The job of the bow stringer is to hold the draw weight of the bow while you get on with installing the string so don’t worry about whether you can hold the weight yourself. All you need to do is to slide the string loop into the string grooves on the top of the bow.

For the first few times doing this, you may feel a little intimidated and may also have a lot of questions about whether you are flexing the limbs enough, or perhaps too little.

However, following these instructions should give you the results you want. But if you do feel nervous, you can take your bow to an archery shop and have an expert talk you through the process and give you tips on the best methods.

Step 5 – Check Your Bow

Even if you are the most adept bowperson in the world, it is still essential that you check your bow once you have finished installing the new string, failing to do so could result in damage to the bow, or worse, injury to you.

Start by removing the bow stringer and turning the bow around so that the limbs are facing away from you. It is important to hold the bow this way while you are checking it because if the strings were to come loose, the limbs would move back towards you.

Take a look at the string and double check that it is fitted into both string grooves on the bow correctly and securely. If everything looks good, your bow is ready to be used.

What If I Don’t Have A Bow Stringer?

While we would always advocate the use of a bow stringer, there may be times when you simply do not have access to one. Other people prefer to do things the old- fashioned way, so rather than struggling with what could be a dangerous process, we will give you a run-down of how to do it.

This method is known as the step-through method and is one of the more traditional ways of stringing a recurve or longbow.

If it is not executed correctly, it can be dangerous. Therefore, it is vital that you follow these steps to the letter.

  • Ensure that the string is the right way up and hook the bottom loop around the bottom limb of the bow.
  • Hold the bow in front of you, using one hand to hold the bow and the other to hold the string. Now step through the two.
  • Place the bow at the back of your front thigh and in front of your back shin and use your two legs to hold it securely in place.
  • Now bend the bow towards the string. You can use your torso to turn if you need help to get the two to meet.
  • If you are using a Dacron string; twist the end of the string between ten and twelve times before attaching it to the limb.
  • Step out of the bow and check each end of the string to make sure that it is in place.

Tips For Maintaining Your Bow

Of course, one of the best ways to make your bow go the distance is to look after it well. Any archer worth their salt will tell you that regularly waxing your bowstring is one of the most effective ways of prolonging its life.

That being said, we do recommend changing your bow string every two to three years to make sure that it is always functioning as it should.

But looking after your string is not the only thing that you should do to make sure your bow keeps going shot after shot. Take a look at these handy tips;

  • Never dry fire your bow; this can cause serious injury to you and others around you and will also damage your bow.
  • Remove the string from the bow if you will not use it for a significant period of time.
  • Do not store the bow at extreme temperatures.
  • Regularly inspect the string for signs of wear or damage.
  • Before shooting the bow, make sure that you adjust the finger guard.


There you have it, restringing a recurve bow is quite simple once you know how to do it. Many archers prefer to use a bow stringer and this is the way that most experts would suggest you do this.

However, it is possible to string a recurve bow without a bow stringer, provided that you are careful and follow the step-through method exactly.

About Brad Harris