How To Wax a Bow String: Perfect Maintenance

Bows, like every other equipment, have an unspoken rule: look after me, and I will pay you back.

In other words, you can’t realistically expect your bow to sustain a top-notch function and results if you ignore its maintenance.

And among the most crucial bow caring practices is waxing your bow string.

Not a single bow is exempt from this- recurves, compound bows, long bows..you name it.

And today, I will be showing you how to wax a bow string professionally and without taking too much time.

Overall, waxing a bow string is a simple procedure and you should be able to do it like a pro in a short while.

How to wax a bow string (all types of bows): step-by-step guide

The steps are the same for all type of bows.

But just before we look at the steps, I will answer a common question from inexperienced bow owners: how do you remove old wax?

How do you remove old wax from bow string?

For the best results, you need to clean old wax before applying new wax unless you have a brand new string.

All you need is a piece of cord, string, or any alternative material like dental floss.

You will first take your cord/string and wrap a loop around the bow string (at the top).

The last step will require you to drag the loop up/down the string while ensuring that the string remains taut on both ends.

Dirt and debris will start to peel off and you will soon have a clean string.

Note that doing this on an extremely frayed string may damage it further so you may want to go direct to waxing.

With that out of our way, let’s now turn our attention waxing starting with the requirements…

Basic requirements

You will need the following:

  • A bowstring
  • String wax 
  • Piece of flexible leather or fabric cord/string (or floss).

Next, we will look at the preparations..

The preliminaries

Before everything else, check that your string is fine and that it has the optimum amount of twists.

This is important since changing the twists drastically after waxing might be difficult as the wax hardens your string.

You also need to confirm that the servings are very intact since they usually loosen over time.

The final preparation step is stringing your bow.

Onwards now to the practical easy-peasy steps:

1. Rub your wax

Take your string then apply wax directly on the full length of your string.

You will gently rub in the wax up and down from the top to the bottom of the string.

Don’t forget that the wax should be being applied uniformly on all sides of the string for the best outcome.

The key at this stage is making sure that the whole string is covered by a thin coat of wax.

2. Massage the string

To help the absorption of the applied wax by all the strands, massage the layer of wax further in with your fingers (some veterans use leather or paper for application).

It is important to massage all around so that it melts into the gaps.

This also helps quicken the absorption across the whole bow string.

By now your string has comprehensively drawn in wax and is in a supple state.

But you tend to have excess wax accumulating at various points on the string including often at the servings.

The last step will help you clear this.

3. Remove left-over wax

You can repeat the old wax removal steps that I had narrated above to clear any excess wax from the surface of the string.

Push and pull the loop up and down the string until the wax clears out.

Ensure that you get rid of everything even from the serving points.

And that’s it…you are now ready to go and enjoy fruitful shooting sessions.

Waxing a bow string: Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

I will dedicate this section to other questions about waxing your bow string and we shall dive right in..

A. What is the best Bow String Wax?

A couple of brands dominate the market and have positive ratings from bow shooters.

These include:

· Scorpion venom

I have used Scorpion Venom accessories for long and I find their bowstring wax variety excellent even for bow owners with a soft spot for traditional dressing.

They use flexible formula and won’t freeze or turn brittle as some conventional wax-based products do.

Their bestselling string waxes are odor-free and include an applicator.

· Limbsaver string wax

LimbSaver manufactures assorted bow string conditioners and protectors.

Their standout models use the innovative WeatherLock technology to eliminate moisture and consequently reduces friction sublimely in the strands.

Wax from Limbsaver is again odorless, non-toxic, and non-flammable.

· Bohning string wax

Bohning offers several options including those based on natural based wax packaged in easy-to-use  tubes.

Most of their models are designed purposed for synthetic fiber strings and remain tacky even in wintry weather conditions.

You will also meet other players with amazing bow string wax products but these are the three most trusted players here.

· Allen Company Archery Bow String Wax

Allen Company also supplies wax for synthetic bow strings and has some of the most gentle wax types.

Their various wax brands are in particular very famous among traditional archers due to their less messy nature.

Their prices are quite friendly.

B. What is bow string wax made of?

Today we mostly have synthetic waxes though some traditional archers still opt for all-natural beeswax- by the way it smells great!

We already saw that most bowstring wax models are packaged in easy-to-use tubes (almost resembles regular deodorants).

C. When should I wax my bow string and How often should you wax your bow string ?

So, when should you wax your bow string?
Well, again it will depend on a host of factors like usage and the string you often use.

But generally, you should reapply wax as soon as you start noticing hairs on the bow string.

In addition, if you’re using older non-fast flight strings, reapply wax if it looks as if the wax is cracking even though it still feels soft and pliable.

On my side, I habitually apply wax on my bowstring after every 50 shots or thereabouts.

Some of the guys at my local club – they wax once a month or so- don’t understand my ‘over-waxing’ but I consider it the cheapest insurance so I don’t mind their disapproval.

On the other hand, my older brother usually waxes at the start and at the close of the deer hunting season (of course, for safe storage).

Still, another friend waxes mine every time he shoots because the bowstring lasts so long that way.

On their side, competition level archers wax their bow strings every 2-3 weeks in addition to before competitions in case the weatherman has forecasted rain.

Can you now see how I said it depends?

All in all, work on the string the moment the frays start to show no matter how many times you will be doing it.

D. Should you wax bow string serving?

First, for starters, serving is the thread that’s usually tied in over the top of the bowstring.

You’ll on top notice servings in the central area of the string where the arrows nock onto the bowstring.

In addition, most compound bow strings and cables come with servings wherever they touch cams, the roller guards, or the string stop.

Now, a few shooters wax servings when waxing their strings but a larger majority of the folks won’t because of the inherent risks.

For example, the wax could also cause the serving to slide and probably separate.

Still, you don’t want wax spilling into the cams.

Side note: Remember to inspect the servings and to address any separation immediately you notice it as it can harm your accuracy.

Also, if you notice any serving breaks, fix it regardless of whether it’s on the string or cables.

If you don’t how to do this, the best person to help here would be a pro from your local archery shop.

E. Can I use a Bow string wax substitute?

Some bow owners often ask if you can use chapstick instead of bow wax (or other substitutes)

Well, I don’t think that using anything else but approved string wax is a very bright idea more so because string wax produces awesome results and its super cheap too.

That aside, I have heard of people using traditional string wax, peanut butter, beeswax, and yes, even chapstick.

I do not believe in trying every hearsay so I haven’t tried any of the above.

In any case, using a wrong substance might shorten your string as well as cable life span. The two are way costlier than wax string so it doesn’t make any sense to me.

F. When should I replace my bow string?

I am afraid that there is no best time to replace your bow string and it all comes down to factors like how frequently you shoot, how well you wax it, and the conditions you regularly face.

On the whole, a well maintained bowstring can last even beyond three years.

The danger sign that it should be replaced is the presence of broken stands and fraying despite expertly waxing it frequently.

Your local archery store can help you check if it’s ripe for change if you’re unable to tell.

How to wax a bow string: Additional tips

  • Ensure that you clear any visible chunks of string wax that might remain after waxing. Left-overs are not unsightly but also messy.
  • Be generous but avoid over-waxing your string as this can result in an adverse performance during draw.
  • Avoid waxing the serving since they can unravel quicker than you think besides becoming slippery!

Wrapping it up

A bow string comprises of numerous different mini-strings and they typically rub together as you draw your bow.

Timely waxing keeps the mini-strings from rubbing against each other (this subsequently weakens the string).

Waxing also keeps your string from soaking in water- this potentially damages the string fibers and hence the string.

You already know the steps and I believe the whole process shouldn’t trouble you.

For reassurance, be sure to use the best bow string wax possible.

Good luck.

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