Stringing a Compound Bow – When and How 

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Over the past few decades, the compound bow has grown in prominence within the sport of archery and is now the commonest type of bow in competitive archery in a number of countries, including the U.S. While compound bows have many advantages, their myriad parts often make restringing them slightly more complicated than composite bows, requiring the aid of tools like bow presses. 

It may sound complex, but stringing or restringing a compound bow at home is absolutely doable, even without a bow press. What’s more, learning how to restring your bow yourself can save you both time and money that might otherwise be spent at bow shops. It also gives you the opportunity to learn to set your own bow up exactly to your specifications. 

This guide goes over when and why you might need to string or restring your compound bow, as well as providing brief, simple guides to stringing your compound bow both with or without a bow press. 

Why Restring a Compound Bow? 

There’s a number of reasons you might need to string or restring your compound bow. Chief among them is your compound bow string wearing out and needing to be replaced. However, you may simply want to try a new bowstring on your compound bow, which would obviously also necessitate changing the bowstring. 

Ultimately, restringing any compound bow that you use in the long term is an inevitability. This is why it can be a good idea to learn to do so yourself. By doing so, you can save money and time that you otherwise would have spent on taking your bow to a professional archery shop. Also, you can ensure that your bow is set up exactly to your liking, which can go a long way in making your shot more comfortable and efficient for you. 

When to Restring your Compound Bow 

You might be wondering how you’re supposed to know when you need to restring your compound bow. Most manufacturers recommend that you change your bowstrings every two to three years at least. However, this depends on a range of factors, including how often you shoot and the draw weight you shoot at. 

Generally, we’d say any signs of significant wear and tear, like fraying, would be a clear indicator that it’s time for you to restring your compound bow. Otherwise, we feel that restringing your compound bow every two or three years, as is generally recommended, is wise. Doing so will not only help keep your shot in great shape, but also protect you from injury. 

It’s also worth noting that properly maintaining your bowstring will help preserve its longevity to a pretty significant degree. Storing your bow in an environment with a stable, suitable climate, and waxing your bowstring after each use will both go a long way in terms of helping you get the most out of your bowstring before needing to replace it. 

For a more detailed look at some of the indicators that it’s time for you to restring your compound bow, you can check out our comprehensive guide to how long bowstrings last.

Stringing a Compound Bow with a Bow Press 

While a bow press isn’t a necessity when stringing or restringing compound bows, it definitely makes the process easier and more straightforward. To get started, you’ll want to prepare your new bowstring for use. We recommend applying a coating of bow wax to the string; not only is this good for the longevity of the string, but it will make it easier to work with, too. 

Then, mount your compound bow into the bow press. Doing so safely will require an Allen key, which you can use to slacken the limbs on your compound bow before mounting it into the bow press. Then, you can replace the string. If you have a compound bow with teardrop fittings, you’ll need to attach the new string to the bow before removing the old string. Placing the string is simple enough; just thread the ends of the bowstring onto the groove where the current string is. Then, you can detach the old string. 

However, if you’re working with a compound bow without a teardrop attachment configuration, you’ll need to find the starting point at the bow’s cam and sliding the string onto the bow from there. Once this is done, all you need to do is carefully remove your bow from the bow press and take it for some test shots. 

In the video below you are taken step-by-step through the whole process of stringing your compound bow at home, making it easy to follow along with. This is very useful if you’re planning on stringing your compound bow for the first time and need some visual cues for guidance.  

An in-depth video guide to restringing your compound bow, then we recommend this one by Brandon Kalos

Stringing a Compound Bow Without a Bow Press 

While stringing your compound bow with a bow press is the safer and easier option, it’s possible to restring your bow without a bow press at home. To do so, you’ll need to get your bow into full draw position, and the easiest way to do so is generally to step onto the bowstring with both of your feet. This relieves enough tension to loop the new bowstring onto the bow. 

To make this possible, you’ll first want to relieve some of the tension in the limb bolts on your compound bow. We recommend loosening the bolts with an Allen key. Then, you can step on the bowstring and slowly lift your bow until it’s in full draw. From there, we recommend that you carefully attach your new bowstring, and then remove the old one. Make sure to tighten the limb bolts again once you’ve finished removing the old bowstring. 

Restringing your compound bow is a simpler process than it may seem to be at first glance. By learning to do so at home, you give yourself far greater freedom in setting your bow up, as well as giving yourself a fantastic opportunity to familiarize yourself with a key aspect of your bow’s functioning.

The Bow Master G2 Portable Bow Press

If you’re preparing for a hunting trip and thinking you may need to restring your bow in the field. You need to think about investing in a portable bow press. This one from Bow Master ticks a lot of boxes and should work with nearly any bow. Be aware that if you have split limbs, you’ll need to purchase a split limb adapter separately.

A portable bow press
A portable bow press

What we liked:

  • Repairs at home or in the field
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Adapts to any bow length from ATA 26.5″ upwards
  • Leather pads protect bow’s limbs
  • Precise adjustment

What we didn’t:

  • Split limb adapter sold separately

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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