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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is the instructional write up I’ve been promising for a while now on making bowstrings. Sorry it took so long but as with all good things they’re worth the wait! So without further adeu:

Step 1-Initial Setup
Once the jig is setup to produce the desired string length, wind the bowstring fiber around the posts. It’s essential that both colors and individual strands are wound on with uniform tension. Often, different spools of material will have different amounts of wax causing the color with more wax to be wound on tighter. If this is the case it unwrap the amount of material needed ahead of time and then rewind it on the spool. That way when you wind it onto the jig both colors will be wrapped on with identical tension and there will not be a difference resulting from the wax. This step is perhaps the toughest to master and does take time and experience to get a good feel for. If even a few of your fibers are not the same tension as the others or one color is tighter than another you will see significant peep rotation.
:D :D :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Another setup picture
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Step 2-End Loop Servings

Step 2-End Loop Servings
Serve each of the ends perfectly across from each other. For example measure over 4” from the right post on each side and serve or if you have another way of doing this that’s fine here too. Typically a good serving length for end loops is between 2”-3” depending on your personal preferences. I use 2.5” and make my end loops ¾” which works great for 95% of cams. If you need to up the loop size to 7/8” due to bigger attachment posts on your cams you might want to err about 2 ¾” on the loop servings. Find out what works best for you…that’s the biggest part of string making.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
End Loop Picture 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Step 3-Transition
Now that both end loop servings are on (remove the bungees if you use them to tension the loose ends like I do) it is time to relax the posts and move the bowstring from four posts to two posts. Once the string has been transferred to the two posts line the end loop servings up so that each end is offset 1/8”-1/4” from each other. The only reason they are offset is to provide you with an easy transition when closing the ends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Step 4-Color Separation
As you’ll be able to see now to get that pretty twist string with each color separated you’re going to have to do some work to get them apart. At this point each color is intertwined with the other and needs some separation done. There are a number of ways to do this and as long as the end result is the same it shouldn’t make a bit of difference in the end product. First take and put perhaps 10 twists in the string. I twist my strings counterclockwise because that is the direction I serve in. Clockwise or counterclockwise it doesn’t matter. Just keep twist direction and serving directions consistent with one another. I take a scrap piece of string material about a foot long and starting at one end with the material splitting the colors work my way down to the other end and back up. Work it on one color down and the other on the way back up. You will more likely than not have a bit of a rat’s nest at the opposite end that you started at which is completely normal. This won’t hurt a thing. Often times I will see twist strings that have no apparent color separation or a strand here or there that is in with the other color bundle. That is because this step is not done properly or omitted altogether. Note that when you are performing this that the string should be under a slight amount of tension. No need to reef on your jig too hard here as you’ll only be making your job tougher.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Step 5-Twisting the String/Color Separation
Now that the string essentially only needs end and center servings it’s starting to look like a bowstring. I put the final number of twists I want in my string in at this point. I typically use 1 twist every 1.5” of string length. So on a 60” string the final product will have 40 twists throughout the entire string. Here for example I would twists the string until it had 37 total twists in it. Remember that there were 10 in from before. Keep it a few twists shy because when you serve you are adding additional twists from the tension of your serving jig. It’s not much but enough to make a difference. Attention to detail is the key to making a great string! Once the string has been twisted take your piece of scrap material and run back down through the string as in Step 4 separating your colors to ensure the best string you can.

Note: On a single color string while separation of colors is not necessary I do recommend doing the same procedure but this time do it down the true center of the string rather than between colors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Step 6-Applying the Center Serving
Tension the string to the maximum that your jig allows you. If your jig enables you to get 300+ pounds here that’s great. By subjecting it to that much force you are placing the end and center servings under just as much if not more tension than it will be subjected to on the bow itself. As for prestretching with modern materials there is no real benefit. Once the string has sat on the jig for 30 seconds give it one final check to make sure it’s as tight and begin serving. On mine I’ll usually ratchet the strap one more click.

Apply the center serving. Not much to say here. The only thing I would recommend is that like on all servings I make to run the tail all the way through to the end. Make sure when placing the serving that you are very precise in your placement. A misplacement of even ¼” here can be bad news. Not that it diminishes from actual performance but let’s face it. Bowstrings are just as much aesthetics as they are performance pieces. They are to me at least. I take pride in my work and they must have a certain professional look about them in all aspects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Step 7-Applying the End Servings
The first step before any serving or anything else is done is to tie lark’s head knots in the loose ends. There are photos demonstrating how to do just that. First, start by taking the end and making a loop on top of the string, then while holding the loop thread the end of the strand under the string and up through the loop. To complete the knot do just vice versa on the bottom. Take the end and make a loop on the bottom. While holding the loop, take the end of the fiber and thread it back over the top and down through the loop again. Pull the knot tight and make sure it’s up against the end loop serving and that’s that. The photos should be a big help if my explanation is confusing. After all of the loose ends are knotted up I attach my bungee to them and tension them off of the post on the opposite end as pictured. Tension need not be significant. Enough to pull them taut is more than sufficient here. Know you’re ready to put on both end servings. Serve right over the ends themselves. Use your standard serving procedure here and as always serve the same direction that your string is twisted. I start from the middle and work towards the end. Use whatever direction works best for you. Once your serving is complete trim the loose ends off flush with the end of the serving as shown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Next Step
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Next
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Next Pic
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Next Step
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Next
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Step 8-Final Check
You’re done with the string now. You will need to add the additional twists to the string and using a tape measure add until you get the twist rate you desire. In my case I twist the string to 1 twist every 1.5”. Again, find what works best for you here. I would caution people from to a much higher twist rate than I have here. I’ve found that this rate performs best for me and gives a nonexistent amount of peep rotation. On the string pictured here I have less than 5 degrees of rotation.


What I have outlined here is what works for me. Depending on what exactly is being constructed the procedure may change slightly. For example, on a single cam bow I serve the idler serving first and then the center serving while finishing the end servings up last. The thing that I cannot stress enough is that building a great string takes time, practice, and experience. While you may follow the same procedure I do that doesn’t mean that you will experience the same successes I have with this. Change steps that you see fit to suit your construction style. If something works better for you doing it another way then stick with doing it that way. What ever works for you! Lastly, remember the details! That’s what it’s all about!

Good Luck String Makers!
-Brian

PS: Feel free to PM me or post with any questions. I’m sure that I’ve probably left out at least a few details that come automatically to me without thinking twice. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Twists

I made an error while writing: I put twists in and serve clockwise.

Good Shooting!

-Brian
 

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I like the idea of holding the dead ends of the string with the bungee cords. I usually tied them off to the post & was never really happy with them that way. Thanks for the idea & the post..........................................................DF1
 

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When you hook up the bungees to start is there just enough tension to hold the string? If you are using one color do both ends that you are wraping end on the same end of the string? I'm still just a little confused on how to tie the loose ends of with the larks knot. I hope I'm not to confuseing on what I'm tring to ask. Thanks, for the info. I will be making a copy of this thread for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Lark's Head Knot

To start with the bungees are set to the same tension that the string material is wrapped on with. This is one of the most, if not the most important part of the string construction process. Each color is set at a different end. You could put them both at the same end if you really wanted but that would cause one end serving to be significantly larger in diameter than the other and it may form a tight fit in the cam grooves. By placing them each at opposite ends both end servings are the same diameter.

As for the Lark's Head Knot these pictures should help you out a bit. My bad, I forgot to post them initially.

Enjoy,
-Brian
 

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