Should You Unstring A Bow When Not In Use? (The Answer)

A picture of a unstrung recurve bow. This is the proper way to maintain your wooden recurve bow.

A question that I get asked a lot, there is a lot of people having opinions and this and saying that it should be unstrung on all bows at all times. I understand that they say this, but its not quite right. I will explain you why and what bows you should keep with the string on and which bow you should unstring at all times.

Should you unstring a bow when not in use? It depends on the bow. For an older recurve bow, then yes you should unstring it. For modern recurve bows made of carbon and synthetic foam, you don’t need to unstring the bow. It will not harm your bow in the longterm.

The reason so many people say the people should not be strung. The reason for this is understandable. Because when a bow is strung at all times, the limbs are under tension this will make the limbs “sit” after a while. This means that the limbs will be stuck in the same position causing the limbs to be stiffer and the flex will be influenced by this, making the bow unusable.

But this information is kinda outdated. The reason for this knowledge is so common is because it applies to all wood bows. But a lot of newer bows have now been produced that are made of modern materials of layers with carbon and synthetic synthetic foam. These make the new bows a lot more durable and can handle a lot more strain. Having your carbon bow strung all year long will not impact anything.

Important steps to remember when stringing your bow

If you choose to keep your string attached, you need to remember not to put to much pressure on yours limbs. For example if you put your bow upright against your closet, this will cause tension on the limbs which is not good. This can cause the limbs to warp over time.

  1. The best way to store a bow with the string on is to have a rack for your bow and keeping the pressure on the riser. Either upside or downside is fine.
  2. You can also store your bow hanging it on a hook. placing the hook between the riser and the string and letting it hang.
  3. The third way that I recommend is to hang it by the string. Having two bolts and placing it on those. The tension on the string will not be a lot and is not enough to damage the bow longterm.

Another very important thing to remember wood bows is this.

This is how you should store your bow

This is a reason a lot of older bows get damaged and bad storage. Choosing the correct storage place for your bow is important. Bad storage can cause delamination. Which means the layers of the wood will start to separate. When this happens the bow can`t be repaired.

Another common thing that happens when you store it in the wrong space is that the limbs get warped. This can be fixed by applying heat if the warp is a minor one if it’s big enough the bow can be unusable depending on the damage. Still, if you can repair a minor warp, it’s still something you want to avoid. Because when the limbs get warped the string will not be in the correct place and the limbs will lose their shape.S

Still, if older bows get more affected of these weather can storage conditions it’s still a good idea to store your newer bow in a cold dry place. Having your bow laying around in poor weather conditions over a longer period is not a good idea for the lifespan of your bow.

How to wax the bowstring

When we are in the topic of maintenance and keeping your bow last for a lifetime we also want your string to last for a while. If you start noticing “hairs” or small strings poking out of the string, its time for a wax. When you start waxing its important to only wax the string and not the serving!

How many times you need to wax your string depends totally on how much you shoot, the weather conditions, humidity and how much dirt that has accured.

The was usually comes in a small stick making it really simple to apply to the string. It can look like a stick of glue. Just simply rub the wax down and up the string and when you have done that. Pinch your thumb and forefinger on to the string and rub up and down until it heats up real good.

If you see any problem with the serving, do something with it NOW. The serving is a thread that should be tight and compact. You can see the serving on the top of the string and the nocking area. It is very crucial that this part is as it should be. If there are any separation or loose ends there, you should contact your pro shop or do it yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, you need a bow press.

how to unstring and string a recurve bow

When you are unstringing the bow its important to get the string back on. There are several methods to do so, but if your bow is stiff and hard to do manually. I suggest you get yourself a stringer. These will help you easily put on your string without damaging the limbs.

If your bow is under warranty using your stringer is probably the only way you can string your bow. Most of the stringers are designed the same way. Usually, the only difference is the attachments on the ends.

When you string your bow to this

  • Slide on your string in the correct manner, usually, the biggest loop should be on the top, but this is not for every string.
  • place the stringer on the bow, it’s important to have the string under the stringer.
  • When you have attached the string on to your bow, pick up your bow and hold it so that the string is hanging downwards. Then while holding the bow step on the stringer.
  • The bow will start to bend and you can now move the string up.
  • Congratulations your bow is not strung! Make sure your string is put on correctly and is in the right place.

if you don’t have stringer yet, here is a link to the one I got. Stringer (link to amazon, affiliate link)

Related Questions

should you unstring a recurve bow after use? No, you do not need to unstring your recurve bow if its a modern bow made of carbon and sythetic foam. But if you have an older bow that does not handle the pressure, you should unstring your bow. This implies to wooden recurve bows.

how to string a heavy bow? To string a heavy bow you should use a stringer. This will make it easier for you to get the string on without damaging the limbs. There are several methods you can do without a string, but they are not recommended for a heavy bow.

do you need a bow stringer? No, you do not need a bow stringer. But it will make the process of stringing your bow easier. Excpecially if your bow is heavy, stringing a kids bow will be easy, but a bow that is drawing heavy weight can be hard without a stringer.