How Do You String A Compound Bow? (A Complete Guide)

by | Jul 17, 2023

A compound bow consists of a riser, limbs, cams or pulleys, strings and cables. The strings and cables used in a compound bow are essential components as they store and release energy during the shot cycle. But having more moving parts can require more maintenance, including stringing the bow. But how do you string a compound bow?

First, safely remove the old bowstring from one end of your compound bow. Next, take your new string and attach one end to a teardrop attachment on one cam, if your model has one. Carefully work the string around the cam and through the groove. Once you have the string on the cam, remove the string completely from the bow. Finally, firmly attach the string to the corresponding attachment or limb tip on the opposite side.

Stringing a compound bow the right way is essential to the bow’s longevity and of course, its functionality. In this article, we’ll look at how to string a compound bow and some of the pitfalls you may encounter along the way.

What Is A Compound Bow?

Compound bows have revolutionized the archery industry, and they have become the go-to choice for many archers. They are faster, quieter, and more accurate than traditional bows.

Compound bows incorporate a series of pulleys or cams that reduce the amount of force required to hold the bowstring at full draw.

The bow’s design allows for a more consistent shot release, making it easier to shoot accurately.

How To String A Compound Bow

These strings and cables come in various materials such as Dacron, Spectra or Dyneema. In addition to these materials’ strength properties, factors like durability, stretch resistance and creep performance also determine their suitability for use in different settings.

The cam system is a unique feature of the compound bow. It makes it possible for an archer to hold his or her draw weight without exerting too much effort while aiming at their target.

The type of cam system can categorize compound bows into either single-cam or dual-cam systems.

Single cams have one cam for string tension and an idle wheel as a secondary guide.

Dual cams have two wheels. They create equal pressure on the string sides when drawn. This reduces torque when shooting.

Single-cam bows have less power than dual-cams. But, they are quieter and more accurate.

How To String a Compound Bow: A Complete Guide

Essential Tools for Stringing Your Compound Bow

Before you begin stringing your compound bow, make sure you have all the necessary tools. You don’t want to start the process and realize halfway through that you’re missing a crucial tool.

Here are the essential tools you’ll need:

  • Replacement bowstring
  • Bow Press
  • Allen Wrench Set
  • Tape Measure

Safety Precautions Before Stringing a Compound Bow

Before you string a compound bow, it’s necessary to take some safety measures to prevent any accidents. Here are some precautions that you need to follow:

1. Check Your Bow

First and foremost, check that your bow is in good condition. Inspect the limbs and cams for any damage or cracks.

If you notice anything unusual or questionable, don’t string the bow and take it to a professional for inspection.

2. Use The Right String For Your Bow

It’s also essential to use the right type of replacement strings for your compound bow.

Bowstrings come in different lengths and materials; hence it’s crucial to pick the right one for your particular bow model.

Using an incompatible string might cause damage or even lead to an accident while shooting.

3. Use The Right Kind Of Bow Press

Additionally, never attempt to string a compound bow without using a suitable bow press tool.

The pressure can be immense, and if not done correctly, might cause significant harm or damage to the bow itself.

So always make sure that you have access to a reliable press before attempting any work on your compound bow.

4. Be Careful When Releasing The Cams

Be mindful of how you handle the cam system during the restringing process as they hold much tension.

Accidentally releasing them while handling them can cause severe injuries or damage if not done carefully.

The Process of Stringing a Compound Bow: A Detailed Walkthrough

Stringing a compound bow can seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and knowledge, it’s a simple process.

This breakdown will be for a single-cam tear drop compound bow. That means that there is only one string and one cable that needs to be installed.

All the string specifications are usually stamped on the limbs by the manufacturer, but if you can’t find the, you’ll need to disassemble the bow and measure the strings separately.

Once you have the correct string, it’s time to start the process.

1. Set your bow in the bow press

The first thing you’ll need to do after you’ve secured your bow is to loosen the tension of the limbs.

Make note of where the centre shot is if the bow has already been shot. Take photos of the cams if you feel it’s necessary. This will keep a record of exactly how the strings are aligned if you get crossed up.

You can also take measurements of the peep and centre shot positions. Then put them to one side.

If the bow has a speed nock, you’d also want to measure the distance from the nock to where the string meets the cam.

2. One Cam At A Time

You’re just going to be removing the old string from the bottom cam to start with. Slip it off the post and set it to one side so you have less chance of getting crossed up with the new string.

We don’t want to remove the entire string at once. That will make it more difficult to align the new string.

Take the new string and loop it around the bottom cam attaching one end to the post. Then feed that through the string groove.

Release the string from only the bottom cam first to simplify the process

3. Chase The Old String

Follow the path of the groove and take the new string to the other end of the bow. Peel the old string back and put the new string along the groove on the wheel.

4. Secure String Guides

As you feed the new string around the wheel, you can lift up the string guide and replace the old string with the new one. Then just slip the guide back down the post.

5. Disconnect The Old String

Now you’re ready to completely remove the old string from the bow by disconnecting the bottom portion of the string from the post. You can now go ahead and feed the new string around the bottom cam.

6. Attaching The Cable

You’ll do the same thing with the cable. Only detach one side at a time. Start at the bottom cam. The cable comes around the post and then the loop needs to be attached to the post.

7. Chase the Old Cable

Follow the path of the old cable through the string guide. Track it through, and then once you’re at the opposite wheel, pop off one side at a time. Then clip the loops of the new cable on.

8. Final Checks

Once you have the cable and string on the bow, check to make sure that everything is secured on the tracks the way it should be.

If everything is good to go, gently release some of the pressure from the bow press back onto the bow limbs.

Related: How Much Does It Cost To String A Compound Bow?

Is It Safe to Keep a Compound Bow Strung?

Many new archers ask if it’s safe to keep a compound bow strung. The answer is yes but consider a few things.

Firstly, understand that a strung bow always has tension on the limbs and strings.

If storing your bow long-term, it’s best to unstring it. This reduces tension and prevents equipment wear and tear.

However, if you shoot regularly and won’t store it long-term, keep your bow strung. Frequently unstringing and restringing can stress the cams and related components.

By keeping your bow strung at all times, you’ll help maintain these components and prolong their lifespan.

Additionally, if you’re using a teardrop attachment rather than a traditional bow press for replacement strings or maintenance work, leaving your bow strung can make these tasks easier since there will be less setup required each time.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Stringing a Compound Bow

When it comes to stringing a compound bow, there are a few common mistakes that beginners tend to make.

1. Not Using A Bow Press.

It may seem tempting to just use your hands or some other tool to string the bow. But if you’re not familiar with the process, or if this is your first time, not using a bow press can lead to damage in the cams and a decrease in the lifespan of your bowstring.

A bow press can properly hold the limbs and allow you to easily replace the string without any potential harm.

Compound Bow Maintenance

2. Not Taking Measurements

Measuring the distance between cams and yokes is good practice before stringing a compound bow. Also, use a tape measure to check the distance from the centre shot to the edge of the serving.

To ensure that you get the correct length of replacement string for your compound bow, you should measure both limbs from end to end while they are relaxed or unstrung.

3. Not Taking Photos

Finally, if you take a few photos of the string in the groove before you re-string your compound bow, you’ll get an exact picture of how they are meant to look once you’ve finished. Just a little insurance in case you mess things up!

Taking time to avoid these common mistakes can help keep you safe and extend the lifespan of your equipment.

If you’re not comfortable with doing any of the steps yourself, then you may want to invest in getting a professional to handle the stringing process for you.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to properly maintain your equipment and ensure optimal performance every time you shoot an arrow from it.

Maintenance Tips for Your Compound Bow

After successfully stringing your compound bow, it’s crucial to maintain it properly to ensure that it continues to perform at its best.

First, regularly inspect the bowstring for any signs of wear and tear.

The string is a crucial component of the bow and needs to be replaced periodically, especially if you use your bow frequently.

If you notice any fraying or other damage, do not hesitate to replace the string as soon as possible.

Additionally, keep an eye on the cables and cams; they need to be properly aligned and lubricated for optimal performance.

Secondly, keep your bow clean at all times.

After each use, wipe down the entire surface of the bow with a soft cloth or rag. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated during use.

You can also use compressed air to blow out any dirt from hard-to-reach places such as between the cams or around the teardrop attachment point.

If you have a compound bow press at home, consider utilizing it for regular maintenance operations such as replacing strings or adjusting draw weight.

A Bow press allows you to loosen up the strings while making necessary adjustments without putting undue stress on them.

Regular maintenance coupled with safe handling practices will ensure that your compound bow serves you well for years to come!


What part of a bow do you string first?

When stringing a bow, you generally start with the top limb.

Do you have to string a compound bow?

Yes, a compound bow requires stringing for it to function. Without a bowstring, your bow would just be a curved stick!

How are strings attached to bows?

Strings are attached to the bows via the notches or grooves in the bow’s limbs or cams.

How often do you need to change strings on a compound bow?

As a general rule, you should change the strings on a compound bow every 2-3 years, but it depends on the frequency of use and maintenance.


Stringing a compound bow is an essential part of maintaining your bow and ensuring that it functions correctly.

With the right tools and knowledge, you can safely and easily string your compound bow at home. Remember to always prioritize your safety when handling a compound bow.

If you’re unsure about how to proceed or feel uncomfortable with any aspect of the process, reach out to a professional who can help.

Don’t forget about maintenance after you’ve successfully strung your compound bow.

Regularly inspect your strings and cables for wear and tear and replace them as needed. This will not only ensure that your compound bow continues to function effectively but also prolongs its lifespan.

So go ahead – use this complete guide on how to string a compound bow to keep yours in top shape!

With practice, you’ll become an expert at replacing strings and using a bow press in no time.

Stringing a compound bow is an essential skill for any archer and with practice, it will become second nature.