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Automan26 and I collaborated to bring you all this information. Hopefully it will inspire and help people to star making their own custom strings.

There are a lot of guys who want to start building their own strings, but two things are holding them back: 1) They are reluctant to invest hundreds of dollars for a jig with the possibility that they might not like string building and don’t want to end up with a $350 dust collector. 2) Many guys don’t have a clue about how to build a string and are afraid the process is more complicated than they want to get involved in.

This thread is designed to take care of both of these problems so anyone can start building strings fast, cheap and easy.

This thread is going to get quite long, but I want to make sure that you have everything you need to get starts as well as some instructions on string building to make you successful.

string making thread 079.jpg

BEFORE YOU BEGIN— All the parts on this jig have an important purpose. I had to work through a number of difficult problems that are not readily apparent just from looking at the finished product. If you leave anything off, you will run into a problem I worked hard to avoid.



Unistrut and Superstrut parts are nearly identical. I have used parts from both manufacturers simply because I had to use what my supplier had on hand. Mix and match parts as you wish, they will go together just fine.

Parts List

2, 10’ sections of 1 5/8” Superstrut channel (Flip one over and bolt it to the bottom of the other to help stop it from flexing when stretching long strings).

4 Superstrut/Unistrut corner brackets—3 ½” X 4”

2 pieces of 7” long, ¾” wide by ½” thick steel bar (If in the Kansas City area, Metal by the Foot will cut it to length)

4 Superstrut/Unistrut spring nuts

5/8” All-thread rod—Cut to make 2, 7” sections

1 Compression spring— McMaster Carr part Number: 9573K81 Medium Load Chrome-Silicon Steel Die Spring 1.5" Hole, .75" Rod, 2" L, .135" X .345"

6, 5/8” nuts—(3 for each section of All-Thread)

4 coarse thread, 1” X ½” bolts

4 coarse thread, 2” x ½” bolts

8 coarse thread ½” nuts

8” x 3/8” eye bolts with internal diameter large enough to fit the 5/8” threaded rod

4, 3/8” bolts with 8, 3/8” washers and 4, 3/8” nuts (To bolt the strut together. 3/8” because that allows you to fit a socket into the channel to tighten them down)

2, 1/4X20 X 3” Grade 8 hex bolts (handles)

2, 1/4X20 X 2” Grade 8 hex bolts (jig posts)


ASSEMBLY:
If you look at the pics above you can figure out most of the assembly, but there are a few things you will need to know:


1. Adjust the height of the eye bolts so that they keep the All-thread level when tension is applied to the jig posts. Due to the fact that the tension is not centered along the axis of the All-thread, the posts want to tilt down when under tension. This causes a severe binding problem that you will want to avoid.

2. Drill a hole through the nuts and All-thread, and then tap them to fit the bolts. This is more difficult than first appears, so if you do not have confidence in your abilities, a machine shop can do the task very cheaply. These holes need to be dead center and squared-up. I found it was easier to thread the nut on the all thread and drill through them at one time rather than drilling separately.

3. Screw the Grade 8 hex bolts down ALL the way down. You don’t want any threads from the bolt still showing as it would not be a smooth post to build on.

4. Grind a flat spot (prevents drill bit from “walking” on you) on top of the other end of the all thread 1” from the end. Drill and tap another hole in the flat spot for the “handle” screw.

5. Clamp the 7” pieces of ½” x ¾” steel bar between 2 of the corner brackets. Make sure the steel is centered, and drill them all at once if you can. If you cannot drill them at the same time, clamp them together, mark the circle of each hole in the corner brackets on the flat bar with a pencil. You may need to go around several times with the pencil. Then use a straight edge and make an “X” in the circles so that the “X” crosses dead center in the circle. Use a steel punch to make an indention where the lines of your “X” cross so there is a place for your drill bit to settle to prevent it from walking. If it walks, you may have a hard time lining all the holes up.

6. Between the two existing holes in one of the corner brackets, drill a hole big enough for one of the 3/8” eye bolts. On another corner bracket, between the existing holes, drill a hole big enough for one of the coarse thread 1” x ½” bolts. You can see on the picture which bracket has the eye bolt between the existing holes and which has the 1” x ½” bolt between the existing holes.

7. Adjust the eyebolts until they cause the 5/8” all thread rod to sit at an angle like in these pictures.
string making thread 044 (800x600).jpg string making thread 045 (800x600).jpg

This will prevent excessive binding when you tension the string.

Tensioning the String

There are two methods which can be used to put tension on the string. First, you can pretention the tension spring and use the adjustments on the opposite head and tighten until the compression spring begins to move slightly. As soon as the stop bolt on the spring head moves slightly, the pre-tensioned spring is pulling on the string. Automan26 likes this one but I use the second method because my jig is built slightly differently.

The second method simply involves adjusting the non-spring jig head to do all the pulling and compressing of the compression spring. This allows you to use the spring as your scale. I like this one because long strings will take a different amount of adjustment to reach the same poundage as a short string. It also seemed easier since I will go up and down in weight often during the build process. To calibrate your spring, hook up a heavy scale that is capable of weighing something to at least 300lbs. Use the spring-less jig post to start tensioning the spring and watch the scale climb. When you reach 100lbs, measure the spring and record that measurement. You can also build a “jig” to that fits between the ½” thick steel bar and the washer on the outside of the spring when you reach your poundage. (That’s what I did and it works great.) Keep tightening the jig until the scale reaches 300lbs and measure or mark your jig. With these measurements or “jig” you will not need to use your scale again except to check periodically to make sure you don’t need to recalibrate. (I have not need to recalibrate for the several months I have been doing this.)

Also, keep things well lubed up. This is an inexpensive starter jig and is thus not the same quality as something you will pay $300+ to purchase. At times things may bind a bit and need a small tap here and there. It’s no big deal, but it is a small price to pay for a jig that costs as little as this one and can build the quality of string that this jig can build.


String Building Formula

Here is a good formula for determining the proper number of twists and the finished string length:
Finished Length X .75 = Number of Twists
Number of twists X .012 + finished length= Initial Jig Post Setting.
Example: 100” String
100 X .75=75 (Twists)
75 X .012=0.9”
100” + 0.9”=100.9” (Initial Post Setting)
Add 75 twists to your 100.9” string and you should be very close to your finished length.

Building the String

Note: I build all my strings and cables with the top loops on the post without the spring. This helped to keep me from getting confused about serving direction when I started and I have kept it the same for consistency. We’ll call that post A. Post B will be the stationary post that has the spring on it.

1: Set and measure you jig to the appropriate length. Measure from outside of one post to the outside of the other jig post.

2: Tie off a tag end and lay out your material so that none of the strands overlap on the jig post.
string making thread 002 (800x600).jpg string making thread 001 (800x600).jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2
3: Take the tag ends on one end and cross them on the post and put the through the center of the string bundles.
string making thread 006 (800x600).jpg string making thread 008 (800x600).jpg

4: Pull the tag ends back towards you until the reach the outer most part of the jig post. Repeat this step, pulling the material tightly each time until you have “served” enough to make a loop.
string making thread 011 (800x600).jpg

5: Back serve the left side tag end, as if you were looking from the end of the jig toward the middle of the string, 4-5 wraps and cut off the excess tag end close to the string. (If you are standing perpendicular to the jig and the post is on your right, the tag end closest to you would be what you back serve first. This is important when we do the end serving on the string using my method.)
string making thread 011 (800x600).jpg
 

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6: Use the other tag end to wrap the bundle together and back serve 4-5 wraps. (Make sure if the jig post is on your left side, like in the picture, that you wrap over the bundles, away from you to finish with the second tag end. If the jig post is still on your right, you would wrap over the bundle toward you.)
string making thread 015 (800x600).jpg string making thread 015 (800x600).jpg

7: Finish other end in the same way. Note: my tag ends are different colors because this is a 22 strand string (11 strands of each color). If you were building a 24 strand string (12 strands of each color) they would be the same color.

8: Insert golf tees between the bundles and halves of each color strand, to make an “X” with the tees. Wrap a spare piece of serving (I like to use .021 62xs) or scrap piece of string material around ½ of one color.
string making thread 023 (800x600).jpg

9: Pull tight and run up and down the string once to remove excess wax from the threads. Do this to each half of each color. This prevents the colors from bleeding into one another and also helps prevent serving separation. (This is a ball of wax from one time down that half bundle.)
string making thread 024 (800x600).jpg

10: Remove the golf tees and tension the string to 300lbs and let stretch for at least 20 minutes to let the strands equalize within the bundles. (I like 350lbs) (This is my “jig” to check what weight I’m at. The notch is 300lbs and the whole thing is 100lbs.)
string making thread 026 (800x600).jpg
 

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11: After stretching for 20 minutes, relax the tension and re-insert the golf tees in the same “X” position. At the post A, the one without the spring, use the handle to twist the string however many times your formula calls for. (If you were standing at the end of the post, looking toward the opposite end, rotate the handle counter clockwise.) Make sure you backed the weight off enough because as you twist, the poundage will increase. The golf tees will force the twists to start in the middle of the string and move outward so you get even twists throughout. (This pic is to show the handle rotated clockwise.)
string making thread 031 (800x600).jpg

12: Insert a scrap piece of string material in between the color bundles, through the space that the golf tees create, and run from one end to the other to neatly separate the strands.
string making thread 035 (800x600).jpg

13: Tension to at least 300lbs to stretch for a minimum of 30 minutes. (Again I like to go to 350lbs.) There really is no max time limit. I like to go at least an hour on my strings but cables are good to go in 30 minutes. This is because strings are longer so there is more material to stretch.

14: Immediately after tensioning, wrap your “de-waxing” serving or scrap piece of string material around the string and run that up and down the string 4-5 times. This is called burnishing and will make the string nice and round. It will also help to even out the strand tension and it removes a little more wax.

15: After a minimum of 30 minutes, remove the string from the jig and secure the ends to prevent it from untwisting. Let it sit and “relax” for 4 hours so it can shrink down from the stretching process. (During the 4 hour wait, you can build your cables and then take them off to let them relax, to speed things up.)

16: After the 4 hours, place the string back on the jig and measure at 100lbs. Measure from outside to outside of the jig posts. (This string is supposed to be 58 1/8” long.) Make adjustments as necessary to achieve the proper length.
string making thread 040 (800x600).jpg

17: Tension the string back up to 300lbs and serve the required areas of the string. You can put a piece of masking tape around the string to act as a “flag” that will show if you are serving too tightly. You don’t want the flag to rotate much more than ¼” rotation. If it rotates too much, it can cause peep twist in the finished string. (I don’t use the flag method because I’ve built string clamps that prevent twisting. This lets me serve at higher tensions to prevent serving separation.)

18: I like to serve towards the jig posts. You need to make sure you always serve in the right direction. If you follow this method and twist the string clockwise using the non-spring post, it will be easy to keep straight. If you are serving toward the post and the post is on your left, the serving tool will need to be going away from you when it goes over the top of the string. If the jig post is on your right, the serving tool would need to be coming towards you as it passes over the top of the string. It’s hard to explain in words but easy to understand once you start building. If you do not serve in the correct direction, the serving will actually remove twists from your string and cause severe peep rotation.

I also like to have my tag ends exposed near the end of the serving. That way I can pull them tight and melt a little ball with them ensuring that they can’t pull through and work loose. You can serve over the full length of your tag end but please pull them tight before you do. I hate when a factory serving comes loose because they didn’t bother to pull it tight.
string making thread 064 (800x600).jpg
 

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19: When you get close to the jig post and need to back serve, there is a trick for laying down the serving before pulling your tag end through. (This gives cleaner end serving than if you serve away from the post.) Use a short length of scrap serving (I use .014 Halo) and fold it in half. Wrap your serving over the scrap piece so that it forms a loop with the loop on the jig post side of the serving that you are laying over it.
string making thread 066 (800x600).jpg

Put the tag end or your serving through the loop.
string making thread 069 (800x600).jpg

Pull on the opposite end of your loop to pull the serving tag end under the wraps and out the other side.
string making thread 070 (800x600).jpg string making thread 070 (800x600).jpg

Pull the tag ends nice and snug, cut and burn them to form a small ball of serving. (I push the ball flat before it cools too much.)

String building summary

1. Set and measure you jig to the appropriate length. Measure from outside to outside of the jig posts.
2. Tie off the first tag end, leaving 12-16 inches extra, and lay out your first bundle. Tie off the second tag end and then repeat with the second color.
3. Finish the end loops using the tag end method. Back serve the final tag end to finish the loop.
4. Split the bundles both ways using the golf tees being careful to separate the bundles evenly.
5. Wrap scrap piece of serving or, string material, around half of the first color, then pull the looped serving up the bundle to remove excess wax. This helps the colors to not bleed into one another and also helps reduce serving separation. (If you’re doing this over carpet, lay something down to catch the dyed wax). Do this to each half of each color bundle.
6. Tension the string to at least 300lbs. for 20 minutes to let the strands equalize within the bundles. (I stretch to 350lbs so when it stretches, the poundage does not go below 300lbs.)
7. Relax the tension on the string and re-insert the golf tees forming the same “X” on each end.
8. Twist the string using the top loop post clockwise if you were looking from top loop to bottom loop.
9. Insert a scrap piece of string material in between the color bundles and run from one end to the other to neatly separate the strands.
10. Remove the golf tees and tension to 100lbs and measure. (You don’t need to have the string at the exact length at this point. Within 1/8” or two is fine. If you’re ½” off, you did something wrong and should check your formula and post settings.)
11. Tension to at least 300lbs to stretch for a minimum of 30 minutes. (Again I like to go to 350lbs.)
12. Right after tensioning, wrap your extra piece of serving around the string 2 times and run it up and down the string 4-5 times. This is called burnishing and will make the string nice and round. It will also help to even strand tension within the bundles.
13. After your stretch period, relax the tension on the jig and remove the string for at least 4 hours so it can “relax” and shrink. Make sure to secure the end loops so it does not untwist on you. (I use a paper clip)
14. After letting the string relax, put it back on the jig and tension to 100lbs to measure. If your string is not at your desired final length, twist or untwist it until it is.
15. With the string at the final length, tension back to 300lbs and serve the string being careful to not serve too tightly. (Flag method or String clamps)
16. Remove string from jig and let it sit for at least 12 hours to “relax” to its final length.
17. Place back on jig and again measure at 100lbs. If it’s not at the desired final length, make adjustments and then remove and again secure the loops until the string is installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
BUILDING A SPLIT-YOKE CABLE
Making split yoke cables on this jig is very simple.
1. Lay out your first color just like you did for your string.
2. Using both tag ends of that color, finish the loop using the tag ends.
string making thread 046 (800x600).jpg

3. Lay out your second color and again finish the end loop making sure you finish it on the same post as your first color.
string making thread 048 (800x600).jpg
 

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4. Using a 24-28” length of string material, finish the loop on the other end bringing both bundles together. (You now should have 3 finished loops.)

Run it up and down inside the bundle and jig post to the back of the post.
string making thread 050 (800x600).jpg

Loop the section coming out the bottom over the top and through the center.
string making thread 051 (800x600).jpg

Run the part that's coming from the top under and through the center.
string making thread 052 (800x600).jpg

Pull them tight until they meet each other at the back of the post. Do this over and over until you have "served" enough to make a loop.
string making thread 053 (800x600).jpg
 

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You can also do this and make it 2 colors by taking 1 24" piece of string material of each color and looping them together in the center like this. (This is how I made this one.)
string making thread 056 (800x600).jpg string making thread 057 (800x600).jpg
string making thread 059 (800x600).jpg

From here the process is basically the same as making a string until you get to serving the yoke loops.

5. Split with golf tees and de-wax just like on your string.
6. Stretch to 300lbs. (I like 350lbs.)
7. Relax, insert golf tees and twist like the string.
8. Remove golf tees and tension to 300lbs for at least 30 minutes. (Again I like 350lbs.)
9. Burnish the cable to make it nice and round.
10. Remove from the jig and let “relax”, with the loops secured, for at least 4 hours,
11. Place back on the jig and measure at 100lbs making adjustments at necessary.
12. Tension to 300lbs and serve making sure to not cause the cable to twist while serving.

From here, steps 13-16 are optional though I do them every time.

13. Remove 1 loop from the yoke end and tension the other loop/bundle to 100lbs. (I don’t go above 100lbs because it can cause the bundle to shift under the serving.)
14. Serve the end to cover your back served string material.
15. Remove that bundle and then serve the other.
16. Place both loops back on the post and tension to 300lbs for 5 minutes to equalize the bundles again.
17. Remove from the jig and let the cable “relax” for at least 12 hours.
18. Place back on the jig and measure at 100lbs making adjustments at necessary.
19. Remove from jig and secure the loops until the cable will be installed.

You don't have to serve over the back served yoke loops because they are in a non-wear area. I've seen threads that are not served there and they look good and function well too. You may want to do a few more back serving wraps if you want to cut this part out.
This is the easiest way I have found to construct a split-yoke cable on our 2 post jig.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
These are supposed to be in post #3 after the back serving pic. Sorry! :confused:
string making thread 016 (800x600).jpg
 

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WOW!!!!!! I am completely blown away with this thread you have put together here. This is the first time I have had a chance to see the jig you built and I can honestly say that it will build a string that is as good or better than anything on the market today. I really like the modifications (improvements) you made to my jig.Your explanation of the entire process, start to finish, is outstanding--I am jealous ;-).

I am confident that anyone who wants to get into string building can look at this thread and start from a bare workbench and have their own custom built strings on their bow in 30 days.

Awesome job. This thread should be a sticky.

Automan
 

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WOW!!!!!! I am completely blown away with this thread you have put together here. This is the first time I have had a chance to see the jig you built and I can honestly say that it will build a string that is as good or better than anything on the market today. I really like the modifications (improvements) you made to my jig.Your explanation of the entire process, start to finish, is outstanding--I am jealous ;-).

I am confident that anyone who wants to get into string building can look at this thread and start from a bare workbench and have their own custom built strings on their bow in 30 days.

Awesome job. This thread should be a sticky.

Automan
Thanks Automan! I really have to give most of the credit to you. If I hadn't seen your thread and you hadn't shared your knowledge and information with me, I wouldn't have been able to do this. All I did was take some pics while building a set and add some instructions. You came up with the basic design on your own which is much more impressive than taking some one else's idea and modifying it.
 

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One of quite a few ways to make strings for sure, so many different process' that can be done to achieve end result. you gonna do all the different ways that are typically used today?
 

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Great post! Thanks a lot. If you put it in the arrows and strings section maybe we could get a sticky?

Thanks again
Milsy
 

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Fantastic, just fantastic.

Not sure I need to know this as I don't go through many strings but its tempting to try just to say I can do it.

Very detailed, love it.
 

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One of quite a few ways to make strings for sure, so many different process' that can be done to achieve end result. you gonna do all the different ways that are typically used today?
I hadn't planned on it. The 2 post jig somewhat limits how many ways you can build a string. I've been trying to think of a way to make an adapter to this jig to allow you to serve your end loops if you want but haven't had a lot of time to do it. I also haven't come up with a good enough adapter. All this was designed to do is to compile instructions to one of the easiest methods for the everyday guy that wants to learn how.
 
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