Choosing the Perfect Recurve Bowstring: A Complete Guide

by | Jun 9, 2023

A recurve bowstring is the string that connects the two ends of a recurve bow, creating the tension and energy needed to propel an arrow forward.

While it may seem like a minor component of the overall setup, choosing the perfect recurve bowstring can make a significant difference in your performance as an archer.

In addition to affecting accuracy and consistency, selecting the wrong string can even lead to damage or injury.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a recurve bowstring. Material, length, strand count, and colour options all play a role in determining which string will work best for you.

Depending on your level of experience and preferred shooting style, some strings may be more suitable than others. Ultimately, finding the perfect bowstring requires careful consideration and perhaps even some trial and error.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Recurve Bowstring

Material: Dacron or Fast Flight?

The material of your recurve bowstring is an important factor to consider when selecting the perfect one. Two popular options are Dacron and Fast Flight. Dacron strings are made from polyester and have been around for years, making them a reliable choice for traditional archers.

Dacron Recurve Bowstring

They are less expensive than Fast Flight strings but also tend to stretch more and require more frequent maintenance. Fast Flight strings, on the other hand, are made from high-performance materials such as Dyneema or Spectra.

They offer faster arrow speeds and less stretching compared to Dacron strings. However, they tend to be more expensive and can be harder on your bow’s limbs due to their higher tension.

Length: Measure Twice, Buy Once

Choosing the right length for your recurve bowstring is crucial for proper performance and safety. It’s important to measure twice before purchasing a string in order to ensure you get the correct length.

To measure for a recurve bowstring, first measure the overall length of your bow from tip to tip along the belly side (the part that faces you when you hold it).

Next, subtract 4 inches from that measurement if using a longbow or 3 inches if using a recurve bow. This will give you your ideal string length.

Having an incorrect string length can lead to poor accuracy, damage to your bow limbs, or even personal injury. Always double-check measurements before ordering a new string.

Strand Count

Another important aspect of choosing the perfect recurve bowstring is considering strand count. Strand count refers to how many individual strands make up the entire string – usually between 12-18 strands.

Endless Loop Recurve Bowstring

Generally speaking, more strands equal more durability and less stretching. A higher strand count also allows for a smoother release and less finger pinch during shooting.

However, a higher strand count can also mean a heavier string which may lead to slower arrow speeds.

It’s important to find the right balance between durability and performance when selecting the strand count for your recurve bowstring.

Colour Options: Vibrant Hues or Muted Tones?

While colour is mostly a personal preference, it’s still worth considering when choosing your recurve bowstring. Bright colours such as fluorescent green or orange can provide increased visibility in low-light conditions, making it easier to track your arrow’s flight path.

However, some archers prefer muted colours such as brown or black in order to blend in with their surroundings while hunting.

Others may simply choose their favourite colour or one that matches their bow. Ultimately, the colour of your recurve bowstring comes down to personal preference and what works best for you in your shooting environment.

Types of Recurve Bowstrings

Choosing a recurve bowstring can be overwhelming, especially when there are different types available. The three most common types of recurve bowstrings are Flemish twist, endless loop, and custom strings. Each type has its own unique features and benefits.

Related: How To Choose The Right Recurve Bowstring: A Buyer’s Guide

Flemish Twist: Traditional and Reliable

Flemish Twist is the traditional method of making bowstrings. It involves twisting individual strands of material together to form the string. One advantage of Flemish Twist is that it provides a smoother release than other types of strings.

Flemish Twist Recurve Bowstring

This type of string also has more stretch than modern materials like Fast Flight, making it less likely to damage the bow limbs. To maintain a Flemish twist string, you should regularly apply wax to prevent fraying and prolong its lifespan.

When inspecting your string for wear or damage, look out for any signs of unravelling or broken strands.

In general, other types of strings have a shorter lifespan compared to Flemish twist strings due to the ease of maintenance with regular waxing.

Endless Loop: Low Maintenance Performance

To create endless loop strings, archers form a loop at each end of the string and then wrap it around itself, resulting in a continuous loop that encircles the bow tips.

One benefit is that endless loop strings require less maintenance compared to Flemish twists since there’s no need for periodic waxing.

This type of string offers another advantage: it exhibits less “creep” over time compared to Flemish Twist strings. It achieves this by being made from modern materials like Fast Flight, which possess less elasticity than traditional materials like Dacron.

Although endless loops may not possess the same visual appeal as traditional Flemish Twists, many archers still prefer them because they require less maintenance and deliver consistent performance, even in wet conditions.

Custom Strings: Personalized Perfection

Custom strings, as the name suggests, are made to order from specific materials and specifications for each archer. The custom string maker takes into consideration many factors such as the bow length, draw weight, and desired arrow speed to create an optimal string that suits the archer’s needs.

One advantage of custom strings is that they can improve accuracy since they’re tailored to the archer’s unique set-up.

They’re also great for those with more advanced skills who want to squeeze out every last bit of performance from their bow. However, custom strings can be expensive compared to pre-made options.

They may also take longer to produce since they’re being made specifically for your bow setup. But for archers who are serious about their craft and want the best possible performance from their equipment, a custom string is worth considering.

Maintenance Tips for Recurve Bowstrings

Regular waxing: Why it’s important for prolonging the life of the string

Regular waxing is essential for keeping your recurve bowstring in top condition. When you wax your string, you’re adding a layer of protection that helps prevent damage from the elements and regular use. Waxing also reduces friction between the fibres, which can lead to wear and tear over time.

Adding some wax to your string after every few dozen shots will help it last longer and perform better. To wax your string, you’ll need a special type of bowstring wax that’s designed specifically for this purpose.

Avoid using household lubricants or other types of wax, as these can damage the fibres and compromise the integrity of the string. To apply the wax, hold one end of the string in your hand and rub a small amount of wax into it with your fingers.

Move down the length of the string, applying more wax as needed until you’ve covered every inch. Make sure to get all parts of the string, especially areas where there are twists or knots!

Inspecting for damage: How to inspect your recurve bowstring for signs of wear or damage

It’s essential to inspect your recurve bowstring regularly for signs of wear or damage. Over time, even with proper care and maintenance, strings can become frayed or worn down due to use or exposure to environmental factors like humidity or extreme temperatures.

When inspecting your strings, look closely at each strand individually – if you see any signs that they are beginning to fray at all then it may be time for replacement!

Additionally, look out for discolouration too because this could also be an indicator that something is wrong with them which needs attention.

If any part appears frayed, or damaged in any way (even slightly), replace it immediately before it can cause a dangerous situation. Do not try to repair a damaged bowstring as this will only increase the chance of failure and could lead to an unsafe situation when you’re trying to shoot.

Replacing worn-out strings: When it’s time for a replacement

While proper care and maintenance will help prolong the life of your recurve bowstring, eventually they will need to be replaced.

When you notice signs of wear or damage, or if you’ve been using the same string for an extended period, it’s time to start thinking about replacing them.

The easiest way to tell that your string needs replacing is by closely inspecting each strand – if any part appears frayed or damaged in any way then replace them immediately!

Additionally, look out for discolouration too because this could also be an indicator that something is wrong with them which needs attention.

If you aren’t sure whether your string needs replacing, consult with a professional archery shop or other experts in the field who can help guide you in making the right decision. Replacing your bowstring at regular intervals (between 1 and 2 years) can ensure that you’re always shooting with optimal performance from your bow.

Related: Fast Flight Strings: Right For Any Bow?


A properly maintained recurve bowstring is essential for optimal performance on the archery range. By regularly waxing your string and inspecting it for signs of wear or damage, you’ll be able to extend its lifespan and prevent accidents while shooting.

Remember: never try to repair a damaged or worn-out string – always replace it immediately. With these simple tips, you’ll enjoy many years of successful shooting with your recurve bow!