A bowstring is a core part of the archery equipment. It serves to hold the bow together, transferring the energy released by the archer into the bow, a vital aspect that determines the precision of a skilled archer.
It consists of a tough material which can be traditionally obtained from plant fibres or the pelt of animals, carefully made to fit the bow which it is selected for. More recently, bowstrings are made from synthetic materials which consist of tougher and yet more flexible fibres, making the bow shoot faster and with better precision.
A bowstring can be made into custom colours based on the preference of the archer to make their equipment unique, while maintaining its durability.
How to tell if your bowstring is bad
It is important for an archer, either a beginner or a professional, to be able to tell if their bowstring is bad as this determines a lot in knowing why their shots are not on target. The worst nightmare of an archer is when their bowstring snaps without warning; this can be avoided if you have keen eyes and note when your bowstring is bad.
A worn out bowstring is one of the top reasons for having inconsistent shots or constantly shooting off target, despite perfect aim. You can know if your bowstring is bad if it has any of these:
Long time use
A bowstring may appear neatly used and reliable, but you should be aware that using the same bowstring for more than one year predisposes it to wearing off. You might not be able to visibly point out the part that is worn, however consistent use affects the tautness of your bowstring and you should therefore be prepared to replace it after a year or two, irrespective of how effective it still appears to perform for your shots.
One of the instructions given while purchasing a bowstring is to ensure it doesn’t get dry by waxing it often with string wax to help maintain some extent of flexibility of the string. You should normally apply some little wax to the fibres that unwind and stand out after using it over and over again. If you notice your bowstring dries out too often, then this is a sign of it becoming less useful for you and you would need to replace it soon.
Depending on the material which a bowstring is made from, it can break while you are aiming for a target. A bowstring is more likely to break if it is made from plant fibres, but they are rarely used as the sole materials for making a bowstring recently. The synthetic bowstrings are less likely to snap, however if this happens, it means your bowstring is bad and needs replacing immediately. Also, for the compound bow which is made of more than one bowstring, you can’t use the equipment effectively if even just one of the bowstrings is broken.
Seperation of the Server
Every bowstring has a tightly wound thread around the material of the mains string which is called the server. It holds the bowstring together and is also present on the compound bow. You should look out for the serving very often as it slowly separates in some bowstrings after some time. You may have to replace your bowstring early even if it looks to be in good shape once you notice the server is separated.
Although it is important for your bowstring to be stretchable, there is a limit to how far you should be able to stretch it out. A bowstring requires some level of rigidity, but not too much to create a balance for accurate aim. Using one particular bowstring can result in you overstretching it after some time and then cause your shots to be off the target.
You should also know that your bowstring can be stretchy even if you haven’t used it in a long time; this can be due to poor storage at some extreme temperatures which would affect the durability of your bowstring. You would need to change your bowstring as soon as you notice your precision is beginning to get affected.
The fibres of a bowstring very often unwind and begin to fray all over the string after an archer has used it for constant practice, and in some cases the fraying of the string would eventually lead to a snap of the entire bowstring.
You can temporarily solve this by applying string wax to the fraying parts, but this would not fix the problem. You can keep managing the bowstring until you’re in the middle of an important shot and the fibres eventually snap out which can cause serious injury to either the archer or an innocent bystander, depending on how much force it was shot with and the direction of the target you were aiming for, but it is important to know that a fraying string is a sign that your bowstring is bad.
Having a durable bowstring is a crucial aspect of archery, and being able to identify that your bowstring is bad is also a skill that you wouldn’t learn without a keen eye. Make sure you regularly check out your bowstring before taking that shot with your bow.