How Often Should You Rosin Your Bow (Expert Tips)

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
rosin applied to bow string

How often should you rosin your bow? As with anything, it depends on many factors. If your wax is viscous and fluid, you’ll need to apply it less often than if it’s more solid. How often you should apply rosin also, of course, depends on use. As a general rule, rosin is applied every 50 to 100 shots. But at the end of the day, the best way to know when to rosin the bow is by looking at the string. If the strands look like they don’t have much adhesive to hold them together, it’s time to rosin your bow.

If you use a more viscous sticky rosin, you can use your bow without having to reapply the rosin for up to 150 shots. For most people, this amounts to reapplying every two weeks. 

Note that it’s easy to apply too much rosin if you use viscous rosin. Flick the hairs and see if any rosin flies off. If it does, the bowstring has too much rosin on it, and you should apply it less often.

Rosin plays a vital role in keeping your bowstring compact. Rosin also smoothens the bowstring, reducing energy lost to air drag while shooting. You can easily tell if the amount of rosin on the bowstring is too much or just enough by looking at the bowstring.



What Happens When You Don’t Rosin Your Bow?


If you have too little rosin, the individual strands will be clearly visible. This makes your string more likely to break. A typical bowstring can have up to or more than 12 strands. When there’s little or no rosin on the string keeping the strands together and you shoot the bow, the strands rub against each other, not only losing some kinetic energy due to friction but also losing their integrity. (1, 2)


What Happens When You Apply Too Much Rosin?


Too much rosin isn’t necessarily bad for your bowstring or your shot but it can get really annoying. Excess wax dusts off the bowstring as you shoot and it can stick to your bow limbs making it greasy. You can remove excess wax with a piece of cloth.


How to Apply Just the Right Amount


When the amount of rosin on your bowstring is just right, it makes your string smooth and solid with no irregular specks of rosin on the bow. After applying rosin to the string, you can even it out with your fingers and remove any excess wax.

You should only rosin the visible part of the bowstring and never the serving. The serving does not need wax and applying rosin to the serving can actually worsen your shots if you have a crossbow.

For more details on how to properly apply wax or rosin in your bow string, you may click here.

There are no exact criteria defined for how often you should reapply rosin to your bowstring. But you can use this guide to look for signs and figure out for yourself how often your bow needs reapplication. As a general rule, you should reapply rosin every 50 to 100 shots.

You may want to check and choose the best bow string wax in the market nowadays.

(1) kinetic energy –
(2) friction –