Should A Recurve Bowstring Be Twisted?

by | Apr 9, 2023

This is the kind of question that is often asked by beginners as the topic can be a little confusing. Twisting a bowstring involves something called brace height, which is the distance between the deepest part of the riser and the bowstring. But should a recurve bowstring be twisted or not? And does it make any difference?

Twisting a recurve bowstring serves two primary purposes. The first is that the number of twists can either increase or decrease the bow’s brace height. The second is that the string twists help to keep the strands of the string tightly packed together, helping to preserve the string.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the reasons why you twist your recurve bowstring, and how essential it is for maximising your bow’s performance.

Should A Recurve Bowstring Be Twisted?

A recurve bowstring is twisted in order to set or adjust the bow’s brace height. Adding more twists to the string will make it shorter after string creep has occurred, increase the brace height and make it more flexed. Removing twists will lengthen the string, and reduce the brace height.

Twisting the bowstring will also help to keep the strands bunched tightly together. This is important for consistent shooting because, without twists in the string, the string is not completely round.

This can cause issues with the arrow delivery because of the flatter, uneven shape of the string. This means that the path of the string as you let the arrow go will be inconsistent.

On a compound bow, it will help to reduce the rotation of the peep sight.

A string that doesn’t have enough twists can be too noisy and is not ideal for tuning, while a string that has too many twists can easily stretch after becoming unwound.

How Do You Twist A Recurve Bowstring?

The main purpose of adding or removing twists to the string is to adjust the bow’s brace height.

Before doing this, you’ll need to measure your brace height using a bow square. Most bow manufacturers will provide recommendations for the brace height of their bows.

To add or remove twists from a recurve bowstring, you must first unstring the bow. Take the end loop and start to twist the string in the direction to either add or remove twists.

As a general rule, several twists of the string will represent about 1″ of brace height.

You will need to re-string the bow after adding or taking off the twists in order to measure the brace height and test the bow.

You might need to repeat this process of twisting and testing several times until you get the desired brace height.

How Many Twists Should There Be In A Recurve Bowstring?

The number of twists in a bowstring is not determined by a number but by the number of twists per length of the string.

BCY’s recommendation is to have between 1/2 a twist and 3/4 of a twist per inch on a recurve bowstring.

Different string lengths will influence exactly how many twists you can put in. For example, with a 68″ string, you could comfortably adjust 8 twists in either direction.

Having said that, you can still achieve good results with a wide number of string twists as long as your brace height is set correctly. That same 68″ bow could still perform well with between 20-60 twists in the string.

Can You Over Twist A Recurve Bowstring?

Adding too many twists to your bowstring can affect the performance of the bow. It could also contribute to bowstring stretching with prolonged use.

In general, you should stop twisting the string when you start to see the bowstring start to kink.

If the string doesn’t want to lay flat and starts to ball up, especially around the end loops, then there are too many twists.

Something else to watch out for is if the V-shape created by the end loops is also not laying flat on the limb tip. It will look like one side is trying to curl up and over the other. This is a sign that there are too many twists in the string.

Related: How To Choose The Right Recurve Bowstring: A Buyers Guide

In Which Direction Should You Twist A Recurve Bowstring?

The bowstring should be twisted in the same direction as the centre serving runs. There are two ways in which you can determine which direction the serving runs.

  • Take an unstrung string and hold the centre serving at each end. Twist the serving in opposite directions. The direction that has the most tension is the direction you should twist the string.
  • If you can see that the serving runs in a clockwise direction, then that’s the direction you twist.

Should a recurve bowstring be twisted?

The centre serving should always be applied in the opposite direction to the string strands. This provides extra support and can increase the lifespan of the string.

Does Twisting A Recurve Bowstring Increase Draw Weight?

Because adding twists to your bowstring will shorten the string, you will therefore increase the draw weight.

You can probably expect to get an extra 1/2lb per twist, but there are more effective ways to add poundage to your bow.

Adjusting the limb bolts is a more efficient way of increasing draw weight on a recurve bow.

Only adding twists to the string will offset the tune of your bow by changing the brace height.

Can You Shorten Draw Length By Twisting A Recurve Bowstring?

By adding twists to the string you can, in effect, shorten the draw length of your bow. But again, this will affect the whole tune of your bow.

When you add more twists to the string to shorten the draw length, you need to make sure that your brace height is still set correctly after you have made the adjustments to the string length.

Related: How To Make A Recurve Bowstring: A Complete Guide

Final Thoughts

Your bowstring is one of the fundamental parts of your recurve bow, so taking care of it is of great importance because, without it, you basically have yourself a curved stick.

So in answer to the question, ‘Should a recurve bowstring be twisted?’ You absolutely should be twisting your string. Twisting the bowstring is an essential tool to help you with tuning the bow to help you get the best performance from it.

By adding or removing twists to your bowstring, you set and control your brace height as well as maintain your bow’s performance.

The right amount of twists of your bowstring can also impact the tune, the longevity, and at the end of the day, the consistency of your groupings, which is what it’s all about!