How Do You String A Compound Bow? (Beginner’s Guide)

As with any archery equipment, compound bows need regular maintenance due to normal wear and tear. Especially in bowstrings, as without them, our bows would be useless.

Therefore, bowstrings need some consideration. No matter how hard you try, bowstrings do wear out and need to be replaced eventually. When your bowstring starts fraying and aging, it’s time to decide.

How should you proceed? Should you use sufficient bowstring wax and ignore the problem? Or should you change your bow’s string to prevent future failures? In any case, many archers tend to trudge down to the local archery shops to restring their bows.

Like me, many archers love to replace their own bowstrings. If you are looking to string your compound bow, let me tell you one thing. You’re in the right place, don’t worry if you’re not sure how to proceed because I’ve covered everything you need to know. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Here are a few things to consider before you restring

Prior to dealing with your compound bow, you should consider many factors of pertinence. When stringing your bow, make sure you avoid inadvertently damaging it. It is therefore crucial that you do it meticulously – especially if you are doing it by yourself.

First things First, Just Because there’s an option, Doesn’t Mean that You Should Restring

In case I haven’t said this before, I will now, look there are many ways you can install a string on your bow, but you’d have to do it meticulously, protecting your bow and yourself in the process. You may not realize it yet, but not all information about maintaining a compound bow is good.

If you are not careful enough, a compound bow can be damaged, since it is precision equipment. If anything goes wrong – poof! There is a possibility that your bow will not work.

Allen wrenches are often used to release tension from bowstrings and cables. However, I wouldn’t recommend you do the same; it can harm your bow limbs and cams, and you as well. It can dislodge under pressure, which is the last thing you want.

To counter this, archery shops utilize a bow press, and that deals with the pressure.

However, most people don’t own a bow press, and purchasing one can cost you a fortune, just like going to an archery shop. Still, I recommend getting a portable cable-style bow press. You’ll love it; it’s the perfect DIY companion.

Hold On Before You Leap

Hold On Before You Leap

It’s hard to restring a compound bow (you know what I mean). It can be annoying and frustrating sometimes.

The first time you do this, get ready for the vexatious feeling. You can get messed up here & there, let alone overwhelmed, with the cable route and string for your compound bow.

But I’ve got a solution that’s pretty much always with you. You guessed it; it’s your smartphone.

Make sure you take some good quality crystal clear photos of your compound bow from every angle – especially from the limbs and cams. By doing this, you’ll remember the cable route easier.

Look at the photos if you run into trouble. It’ll save you a lot of frustration.

Something Imperative

You can’t expect your bowstring to work if you use the wrong one. That’s why you must buy your bowstring from a reputable dealer. They can also determine which cable to help by determining which cable to use.

When ordering a bowstring, ensure you have the exact model and make of your bow. Usually, the manufacturer will ask for this information.

Coming to the Point — How to String a Compound Bow Using a Portable Bow Press

Now that you know everything, it’s time to get excited because this is going to be so much fun.

Here’s how to restring your compound bow. In a nutshell, I’ve used cable-style bow presses that are readily available and cheap. That’s why I recommend following along. You don’t have to worry if you have a bow press or don’t; I’ll explain it too.

Learning the Cable Routing

Whenever you are planning to restring a compound bow, it pays to study the cable routing and the fine details associated with it.

Remember to keep an open mind and do not presume you can master this fiddly mechanism easily. As we are all prone to making mistakes, such an attitude can lead to difficulty. That’s something I learned the hard way.

Clicking some photos is one of the best ways I’ve mentioned. If you would like to take it a step further, you can record a video. If you get quick notes and diagrams, both work.

It will save you a lot of time and frustration. Study the cable routing while also measuring the distance between the peep sight and D-loop on your bowstring. You’ll be able to replicate the setup that way.

Reducing the Draw Weight Poundage

This is not a necessary step, many people tend to bypass it, but it helps to reduce some undue pressure on your bow’s limb while compressing.

For reducing your bow’s draw weight poundage, you’ll have to turn the limb bolts in a counter-clock fashion towards each junction point at the bow’s riser.

As a general rule of thumb, you should turn the bolt approximately two to three full turns. Make sure that the number of times the bolt is turning from one limb to the next remains consistent.

Attaching the Press Cable

Now you have to attach the press cable to your bow’s limbs of your portable bow press. Remember, each cable-style bow press differs, but the setup remains the same.

My convenient bow press utilizes two rollers with a bolt that pulls the cable’s essential point tension. Depending on your bow press style, you’ll use standard T-shaped or L-shaped adaptors to get a better grasp.

The T-shaped ends will snugly slide into the space between the bow’s split limbs. On the other hand, the L-shaped brackets the end of the bow’s limb. Once everything is in place and good to go, to put the slack into cables and bow’s string, you’ll have to press the tensioner bolt.

For a better understanding, you can check this video out.

Removing the Past Bow String

Now’s the time to remove your old string. To do that, you’ll have to slide meticulously the strings end from the bottom cam. Once done, remove the string from the track or groove.

Now you’ll have one end of your bowstring free and route this end up the bow’s top cam or idler (if single-cam bows). After that, pop the string out from its cable’s track and take out the corresponding bow’s end from the bottom cam.

Installing the New String

 Installing the New String

Now that your old bowstring is out of the way, it’s time to add a new string to your compound bow. You can start by running the end of your new bowstring over the retention post of the cam.

While doing so, make sure that your string is running over the groove in the same way as it was before you remove the old string.

Next, route the bowstring over the top cam of your bow or idler pulley to the opposite post of the bow’s cam by sliding over it.

Now that your new string is in the perfect place as it used to be. Check the pictures or video you took before and compare everything from routing to fitting to ensure that everything is in place, and if anything seems out of place, don’t proceed till you get it done right.

If you want — You can Replace the Buss Cables

This is the ideal chance to supplant your bow’s bus cables. Also, substituting these cables is only equivalent to replacing your bowstring.

For removing the cables, you can start by eliminating the cables from the bottom cam and freeing them from their track.

Once you’ve removed the cables from the opposite ends, you can replace them with your new ones by installing them.

Place the D-Loop and Peep Sight

Before you remove your portable bow press, make sure to install your D-Loop and Peep sight again.

If you’ve gauged the measurement of the distance between D-Loop and Peep sight, now is the time to go back to it and follow it.

When you are installing your peep sight, ensure to leave a little wiggle room so that you can adjust the sight when and as needed. If you are happy with sight placement, try to avoid excessive string serving.

Gradually, Release the Tension Off of your Bow

Release the Tension Off of your Bow

Once everything is in place, slowly let the tension off your bow press. You can keep slight pressure from your hand on the bowstring while letting off the stress. The tension provided by your hand will keep the string from falling off of its posts as it goes under pressure.

How to String a Bow Using a Traditional Bow Press

Now that you know how to string a bow using a cable-style bow press, let’s look at the same thing with a traditional bow presser in five simple steps.

First Step

Talking about the first step, it is simple, all you have to do is place your bow on the bow press.

Whether you know it yet or not, the bow press has two models. One is Bench mounted, and the other is portable. We understand how portable one works, and the bench mounted works a bit differently.

It has a horizontal bar with two angled arms in the bottom that slides back and forth with a rubber roller at the end.

A winch is mounted in the center of the two steel cables, and it is manually operated and wrapped around a pulley that has a nylon harness on each end. Before you tight the wires with the winch, you must wrap the operator around the riser.

Second Step

Once you relieve the pressure from the string, you must scrutinize the cam on each end. From the side of the cam, you should find a small and round stud machined.

Now remove the string manually from the metal stud. However, before you proceed, remember to click photos or take a note of the cable routing so that you can install the new string in the correct manner.

Third Step

Now replace the old string with the new one. And for that, you’ll have to place the string on the studs of one cam while routing it properly.

Next, hold the other side by serving just below the loop of the other string and twist it around 5 to 15 times.

Then, place the string loop on the stud while routing the string in a proper way around the cam.

Fourth Step

Now gradually let off the tension or the pressure on the riser and use a ruler to gauge the brace height, and in the event that it is correct, you are good to go. Just apply some wax before you use it.

On the off chance, the brace height is either short or long; you’ll have to follow the steps. If the height is too short, you’ll have to compress the limbs again and twist the bowstring sometime more by removing the string from one cam.

On the other hand, if the brace height is too long, you’ll have to remove some of the twists you initially did to string the bow. And for this, you’ll have to keep repeating the process till you get the proper brace height for your compound bow.

Fifth Step

Finally, once you are good to go with all the other steps, you have to wax your bowstring. For that, you’ll have to get a bowstring wax and rub it over the string both above and below the serving center.

Once you are done with that, you’ll have to grab your bow tightly with your index and thumb finger and move your bow vigorously up and down. This way, the generated heat from your movements will melt the wax and get soaked with the bowstring.

That said, you should keep in mind that it’ll take time for the string to stretch at the final length, and therefore, the point of impact will differ till it does.

What If You Don’t Own a Bow Press?

Bow Press

If you don’t have a bow press, I’d recommend getting one because you will need one to string the bow every time for the newer models, but…

The only compound bows you can string without a bow press are the older models with tear-drop attachment.

However, you should never forget that stringing a compound bow without a bow press can prove to be dangerous. This is because of the tension associated with the process that can prompt the line to snap.

Here’s how you can Replace the String by Your Hand

Though archery shops can help you with your stringing predicament with amazing tools, they might cost you your fortune. And neither does everyone have the time and space as well as money to purchase a new bow press.

So what’s left is to DIY!! So get ready with your hands/feet, bowstring, and Allen Wrench.

  • Begin by using the Allen wrench and locating the limb bolts of your bow. The bolts connect the bow to the riser.
  • Now turn the bolts counterclockwise and remove them from the limbs.
  • Next, place both feet on the bowstring, and with the help of your hands, pull the riser up. Keep doing the same to pull the bow up till you get the full drawn position.
  • Use one hand to hold the riser and the other one to place the replacement bowstring on the open side of the new string’s attachment.
  • Till the limbs get back to the initial position, keep lowering the bow and keep checking the loop of your string to ensure that it is snugly fitted onto the grooves.
  • Now once again, pull the riser till it reaches the full draw by placing both your feet.
  • Lower the bow, remove the used string and then tighten the limb bolts using the wrench.

Some Common Signs To Replace Your Bowstring

You cannot always tell when your bowstring needs to be replaced and to be honest, it’s not easy.

Though you can easily spot if your bowstring is starting to age or fraying, there are other common places on your string that can indicate you should change the string without thinking twice.

  • If your string at the cam point starts to fray or appears broken, you need to pay attention and change the string. It is the most commonplace yet imperative to keep looking at if it starts to wear out.
  • Another place is the nock point of your string. This is another typical victim of fraying, so meticulously look at the string, check if it’s fraying, and replace it accordingly.
  • Lastly, if your draw length is too long, then may it’s time to change your string. It is interesting to look for the draw length. If it’s too long, that’s a sign to replace your bowstring.

In a Nutshell

Even though replacing the string of your compound bow may seem like an intimidating task, as you can see, it is relatively easy — especially if you are using a bow press.

You can even change the string yourself, and that’s not difficult as well, given that your compound bow is an older model and has a teardrop attachment.

As long as you are taking the time and patience needed to replace the task and have the proclivity to do the task, you are good to go, and you’ll easily replace the string.

That said, if you are stuck anywhere, don’t hesitate to come back to our guide or best watch a video.

Should you require any further help, leave a comment below, and I’ll reach back to you.