Why You Should Wax A Recurve Bowstring: All You Need To Know

by | Apr 30, 2023

If you’re a recurve bow owner, you know that maintaining your bowstring is crucial for its performance and longevity. One essential part of bowstring maintenance is waxing. But do we really need to? And what happens if we don’t wax a recurve bowstring?

Waxing your bowstring helps to protect it from damage, maintain its elasticity, and extend its lifespan. When a string is exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures, it can weaken and become more prone to breaking. Waxing the string creates a protective barrier that helps to keep moisture and other elements out.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of waxing your recurve bowstring so that you can be sure that you’re getting the most out of your bow every time you shoot.

Why Should You Wax Your Recurve Bowstring?

Waxing is necessary to prevent your bowstring from becoming dry and brittle, which can lead to damage and breakage.

Improved Performance

One of the main reasons to wax your recurve bowstring is to maintain its performance over the long term. When a bowstring is dry and unlubricated, it can produce more noise and vibration, which can affect your aim and accuracy.

By waxing the bowstring, you can reduce the amount of noise and vibration that the bow produces, making it more comfortable to shoot which therefore improves your aim.

Additionally, a well-lubricated bowstring will help the arrow fly more smoothly, reducing any drag or resistance that could affect its trajectory.

Protection From Wear and Tear

A bowstring is made of many tiny individual fibres, and each time that you release an arrow, those bowstring fibres rub against each other, causing friction and heat.

Frayed Bowstring

Over time, this can cause the string to wear out and break. Waxing the bowstring helps to reduce friction and heat, which in turn leads to a reduction in wear and tear.

It also helps to maintain the bowstring’s elasticity, which is essential for proper performance.

Protection Against Moisture

Moisture can be a significant problem for recurve bowstrings, particularly if you shoot in wet or humid conditions. Moisture can cause the bowstring fibres to swell and weaken, which can affect the bowstring’s performance and lifespan.

By waxing the bowstring, you can create a waterproof layer that will help to protect it from moisture. This layer can also help to prevent dirt and debris from sticking to the bowstring, making it easier to clean and maintain.

Increased String Longevity

One of the main reasons to wax a recurve bowstring is to extend its lifespan. Over time, bowstrings can become worn and damaged, and if left untreated, they may need to be replaced.

Waxing the bowstring helps to protect it from wear and tear by reducing friction between the string fibres. When you shoot the bow, the bowstring experiences a lot of stress and friction as it rubs against the bow’s limbs and the arrow.

Over time, this can cause the string fibres to break down, leading to a weaker and less effective bowstring. By regularly waxing the bowstring, you can prevent this from happening and ensure your bowstring lasts for a long time.

Related: Should A Recurve Bowstring Be Twisted?

What Type of Wax Should You Use?

Not all waxes are created equal, and it’s essential to choose the right one for your bowstring. The most commonly used wax for bowstrings is beeswax. Although there are many different brands and labels which may seem confusing at first, plain old Bees Wax works just fine.

Beeswax is a natural, non-toxic wax that provides excellent protection for your bowstring. It is widely available, affordable and comes in handy-sized tubes. You can find beeswax at most outdoor stores or online retailers.

Pots of Bowstring Wax

Another popular wax is paraffin wax. Paraffin wax is a synthetic wax that is often used in candles and other household items.

It’s a good choice for bowstring waxing as it’s also readily available, affordable, and easy to apply.

How Often Should You Wax Your Recurve Bowstring?

The frequency of waxing your bowstring will depend on how often you use your bow. As a general rule of thumb, you should wax your bowstring every 100 shots or every two weeks, whichever comes first.

If you shoot your bow frequently, you may need to wax it more often. Always check your bowstring before shooting to ensure it is properly waxed and in good condition.

It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of keeping a stick of bowstring wax with you whenever you go to the range, just in case you need to smooth over any tag ends that have come loose.

Related: Fast Flight Bowstring: Right For Any Bow?

A Step-By-Step Guide To Waxing Your Recurve Bowstring

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of waxing your recurve bowstring, let’s talk about how to actually do it. The process is relatively straightforward and can be done in just a few simple steps.

1. Grab What You Need

Before you begin waxing your bowstring, gather all the supplies you’ll need. You will need bowstring wax, a clean cloth, and your recurve bow.

2. Check your bowstring

Next, inspect the string for any signs of wear or damage. If the string is frayed or has any broken fibres, it’s best to replace it before waxing. Waxing a damaged string will only mask the problem temporarily and could cause the string to break unexpectedly.

3. Clean the bowstring

Use a clean cloth to wipe down the bowstring and remove any dirt, dust, or debris. It’s essential to thoroughly clean the bowstring before waxing to ensure the wax can penetrate the string properly.

4. Apply the wax

Take a small amount of wax and apply it to the bowstring. Massage the wax into the string using your fingers, applying even pressure throughout.

Waxing A Bowstring

The heat of your hands should help to soften the wax and get it in between all the fibres

The only part of the string that doesn’t require any wax is the centre serving. The main reason for this is that it’s just not necessary. The string underneath is protected by the serving.

5. Remove excess wax

After applying the wax, you can loop a line of thread or cord around the string, pull it tight, and then slide it down the entire length of the string. The excess wax should skim off as you work the thread down the string.

After you’ve done that, you can give the string a rub with a cloth to smooth everything out.

6. Check for even coverage

Check the bowstring to ensure that the wax has been evenly applied. You should see a light, even coat of wax on the string.

7. Repeat as necessary

If you find any spots that haven’t been adequately covered with wax, repeat the process until the entire bowstring is evenly coated.

8. Store the bow

After you have waxed the bowstring, store the bow properly. Store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

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


When it comes to archery, the bowstring is an integral part of the equipment. It is the component that connects the bow to the arrow and is responsible for transferring energy from the bow to the arrow. Over time, bowstrings can become dirty, frayed, or stretched, which can lead to a decrease in accuracy and performance.

Just like polishing and waxing your car can make that coat of paint last longer, waxing your recurve bowstring is a crucial part of maintaining your bow’s performance and longevity.

Make sure to get into the habit of giving your bow a quick coat of wax before you go out to the range. That way you know you’re going to get the most out of your string every time you shoot.