Recurve Bowstring Creation: A Complete Guide

by | Jun 14, 2023

With the development of modern technology, new materials such as synthetic fibres like Dacron and Dyneema have become popular choices for making high-quality bowstrings. But the history of recurve bowstring creation is rich with cultural significance.

The earliest bowstrings were made from natural materials such as animal sinew, plant fibres, and animal intestines.

In traditional Asian cultures such as China, Japan, and Korea, archery has been an essential part of military training and spiritual discipline for centuries. The art of creating a perfect bowstring was considered just as important as mastering the technique to shoot an arrow accurately.

In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the world of recurve bowstring creation. We’ll look at the different techniques, the methodology, and how you can get started on creating your own recurve bowstrings.

Creating A Custom Recurve Bowstring

Creating a high-quality recurve bowstring is essential for achieving optimal performance in archery.

A poorly constructed string can cause significant problems such as inconsistent shots or even damage to your bow. That’s why it’s so important to master the art of bowstring creation.

While it may seem daunting at first, recurve bowstring creation can be an immensely satisfying experience that enhances both your enjoyment and effectiveness in archery.

With some dedication and practice, you can become skilled at crafting high-quality strings that perfectly match your specific needs and preferences.

In the following sections, we’ll explore everything you need to know about creating exceptional recurve bowstrings – from understanding the basics to fine-tuning your skills with advanced techniques. Let’s dive in!

Understanding the Basics

Types of Materials Used for Bowstrings

The type of material used for a bowstring can greatly affect performance, durability, and maintenance. The most common materials used for recurve bowstrings are Dacron, Fast Flight, and Dyneema.

Dacron, a traditional material, stands out for its reliability and ease of use. It treats the bow more gently than other materials and makes less noise when releasing the arrow

Fast Flight is a high-performance material that offers quicker arrow speeds but requires proper string maintenance to prevent damage to the bow limbs.

Dyneema is another high-performance material that has excellent durability and low stretch but requires special tools to work with.

Tools Needed for Creating a Recurve Bowstring

Creating a recurve bowstring requires several specialized tools that can make the process easier and more precise. The most essential tool is a bowstring jig, which holds the string in place while it’s being made.

String Jig

Other necessary tools include scissors or string cutters for cutting the string to length, serving tools for wrapping serving thread around areas of high wear on the string, and tension devices for ensuring consistent tension throughout the building process.

How to Measure and Cut the String to the Proper Length

To determine the correct length of your recurve bowstring, measure from one limb tip to another while your bow is unstrung. Add 4-6 inches to this measurement depending on your draw length and personal preference.

The additional length allows for proper brace height adjustment once the string is installed on your bow.

Once you have determined your ideal string length using this method, cut your chosen material using scissors or specialized cutters designed specifically for cutting strings cleanly without damaging them.

Be sure to follow any manufacturer recommendations or guidelines regarding cutting techniques based on their particular material type as some cutters can cause fraying in certain types of string material.

String Building Techniques

Recurve bowstring creation requires precision and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step process for building your own string:

1. Choose your materials: Start by selecting the materials you want to use for your string. Common options include Dacron, Fast Flight, and BCY-X.

2. Measure and cut: Use a bowstring measuring tool to measure the length of the string you need. Then, use a pair of sharp scissors or a razor blade to make a clean cut.

3. Attach loop ends: Attach loop ends to each end of the string. This can be done using a bowstring jig and serving material.

4. Twist the string: Use a twisting tool to twist the string until it reaches your desired number of twists per inch.

5. Settle/stretching phase: The next step is to settle/stretching phase, which is crucial for achieving consistent tension throughout the string.

6. Add end serving (Endless Loop string): If you’re making an Endless Loop string you add an additional layer of material around the loops on either end of your recurve bowstring.

Make sure there are no twists in your serving material – Keep track of twists per inch (TPI) during twisting.

Be careful to avoid some common mistakes that beginners make when building their first recurve bowstring:

  • Over-twisting or under-twisting
  • Not using enough tension during stretching
  • Inconsistencies in serving thickness

By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to mastering this important aspect of archery!

Fine-Tuning Your Bowstring

Adjust Brace Height and String Length for Optimal Performance

Once you have created your recurve bowstring, it’s time to fine-tune it for maximum performance.

The first step is adjusting the brace height, which is the distance between the string and the deepest part of the grip when the bow is unstrung.

The ideal brace height varies depending on factors such as draw length, bow design, and string material. Generally, a higher brace height results in a slower arrow speed but reduces shock and noise upon release.

Recurve Bowstring Creation

Conversely, a lower brace height increases arrow speed but may cause more shock and noise.

To adjust your brace height, use a bow square to measure the distance from the throat of the grip to the string at two points: 1/8″ above and below where your arrow will rest.

Adjust the string length accordingly until you achieve optimal brace height. Keep in mind that this process may require some trial-and-error adjustments until you find what works best for you.

Understanding How Different Materials Affect Performance

The material used to make your recurve bowstring can significantly impact its performance. Common materials include Dacron, Fast Flight, and Spectra Fibres.

Dacron strings are a popular choice for beginners as they are affordable and forgiving on bows with lower draw weights. However, they stretch more than other materials over time and may require more frequent maintenance.

Fast Flight strings are generally faster than Dacron but place more stress on bows due to their low stretch properties. Therefore they should be used only on bows designed to handle them safely.

Spectra strings are even faster than Fast Flight but can be expensive due to their high-performance capabilities. Choosing which material would work best with your recurve bow really depends on what feels comfortable when practising or competing with it.

Tips for Maintaining Your Bowstring

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure a long lifespan and optimal performance from your recurve bowstring. Regular inspections can reveal signs of wear and tear, such as frayed strands or broken servings.

You should also check the string’s tension regularly, as it may stretch with use over time. To maintain your bowstring, it’s recommended to store the bow unstrung when not in use to reduce stress on the limbs.

Additionally, waxing your string every 100-200 shots can help keep it supple and prevent fraying. By following these tips for fine-tuning and maintaining your recurve bowstring, you can ensure that your bow performs at its best each time you shoot.

Advanced Techniques

Customizing your bowstring with colours and patterns

One of the most fun aspects of recurve bowstring creation is being able to customize it with your own unique colours and patterns. There are several types of string materials available in a variety of colours, including Dacron, Fast Flight, and Dyneema. Some companies even offer custom colour options for their strings.

When it comes to patterns, the possibilities are endless. You can create stripes, chevrons, diamonds – whatever strikes your fancy.

One popular technique is using serving thread to create intricate designs on the string. Experimenting with different colour combinations and patterns can be a fun way to personalize your bow and make it stand out on the range.

Creating Flemish Twist strings

Archers have used Flemish Twist strings, a classic style of bowstring, for centuries. To create a strong, durable string, they twist multiple strands of material together in opposite directions. This string type is renowned for its superior performance and accuracy

To create a Flemish Twist string, you will need specialized tools such as a jig or serving tool. The process involves twisting two or more strands together while also twisting each individual strand at the same time.

Once the desired length is reached, the ends are served with thread to prevent unravelling. While this technique requires some practice to master, many archers swear by Flemish Twist strings as their go-to option for recurve bows.

Building Endless Loop strings

Endless loop strings are another popular option for recurve bows. As the name suggests, this type of string has no ends – instead, it loops around itself at both ends to form a continuous circle. This design helps distribute tension more evenly across the entire length of the string.

To build an endless loop string, you will need to measure and cut a length of string that is twice the length of your bow. The two ends are then served with thread to create loops that will be attached to the bow’s tips.

This type of string is often made from Fast Flight materials for maximum performance. While Endless Loop strings may not offer as many customization options as Flemish Twist strings, they are still a reliable and effective choice for many archers.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Identifying and Fixing Issues with String Serving

One of the most common problems with a bowstring is damage to the serving. The serving is part of the string that covers the area where an arrow is nocked and helps to protect the string from wear and tear.

Frayed Bowstring

If you notice any fraying or separation in your serving, it’s important to address it immediately to ensure your bowstring remains safe and functional.

To fix issues with string serving, start by examining the damaged area closely. If there are only a few loose strands, you may be able to simply trim them away with a pair of scissors or razor blades.

However, if there’s significant damage, you’ll need to replace or repair it using a specialized tool called a serving jig. This device allows you to apply new string material to your existing string in tight wraps that will hold up over time.

Related: When To Change A Recurve Bowstring?

Addressing Problems with String Stretch or Creep

Another common issue that can affect recurve bowstrings over time is stretch or creep. This occurs when the string fibres start to elongate due to repetitive use, which can result in reduced accuracy and velocity when shooting arrows.

To prevent this problem from occurring in the first place, choose high-quality materials for your string that are designed for durability and longevity.

Additionally, be sure not to overstretch your bowstring during installation; doing so can cause unnecessary wear on its fibres. If you’ve already noticed some stretching or creep in your bowstring, there are several things you can do to fix it.

First off, try increasing brace height slightly; this will put less stress on the fibres of your bowstring between shots.

Alternatively, you may choose as well invest in a new set of strings altogether if they have reached their limit after prolonged use- this will ensure optimal performance every time you shoot.


Mastering the art of recurve bowstring creation can be a fun learning experience that will lead to a more enjoyable archery experience.

When it comes to creating your own bowstrings, understanding the basics is essential, including knowing what materials to use and having the right tools.

Taking your time and following a step-by-step process can help ensure accuracy and consistency in string building.

It’s also important to fine-tune your string to achieve optimal performance. Making adjustments to brace height and string length can make all the difference in shooting accurately with your recurve bow.

Additionally, customizing your bowstring with unique colours and patterns can add a personal touch as well as allow you to easily identify your own equipment.

Remember that practice makes perfect when it comes to bowstring creation.

Don’t be discouraged if you encounter problems or make mistakes along the way – troubleshooting issues is an important part of mastering any craft.

With patience and persistence, you too can become an expert at creating high-quality recurve bowstrings that will enhance your archery experience for years to come!