How To Restring A Compound Bow Without A Bow Press

By Andy Ryan


Posted at
an archer waxing his compound bow string

A bowstring is an essential component in shooting arrows, and restringing your bow ensures the accuracy of your shot. In addition, it’s the best way to avoid string breakage, which could cause injuries. 

While archery shops use a compound bow press to relieve string tension, you can change your bowstring by yourself at home too! If you’re new to archery and want to know how to do it, then this article will shed some light on how to restring a compound bow without a bow press.

Compound Bow String

Manufacturers make compound bow strings by draping several small strands of strings to create a powerful one. The string is strong enough to withstand more than a hundred pounds of force. If all things are equal (which is rarely the case), a bowstring may last as long as the compound bow itself, especially if cared for properly.

The compound bow string connects the two ends of the bow stave and launches the arrow. The vast majority of modern bowstrings are made of non-stretching manufactured materials. As a result, they lose tension over time. Moreover, a bow string’s appealing properties will include strength, lightweight, resistance to water, and abrasion resistance.

Modern compound bows are more complicated than traditional bows. Here’s a great learning guide showing you how to hold a compound bow. It also necessitates regular maintenance to keep it in working order. So, if you do not adequately maintain your bow, particularly your bowstring, it will prematurely wear out and become a safety hazard.

Ergo, compound bow strings should be replaced every season or so, depending on how often you use your bow. And if you notice any abnormal wear on the string, replace it immediately. Otherwise, I recommend that you restring your compound bow once every three years.

Here’s your guide to correctly measure a compound bow string and if you’re up to creating your own compound bow string, you may click here for the guide.

Why is there a Need to Restring Your Compound Bow?

Accuracy is one of the main reasons you’ll need to restring your compound bow regularly. It is because as you use the bow, the strings will expand and become looser over time. It will reduce the poundage of the draw, and as a result, your shots may not be as accurate as you know they can be. Also, if you use a faulty bowstring, you will notice a significant reduction in the speed of your arrow.

Additionally, one important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to restring your bow is safety. There is a real risk that leaving a bow with a subpar string will result in the string snapping unexpectedly. If this occurs, especially when the bow is at full draw, your safety is risked. Not to mention that if the string snaps, flies off, and hits an innocent bystander, their safety will also be at risk.

Hence, when your compound bow string loses strength and wears out, it is critical to restring it immediately. That way, you can maintain its shooting performance and avoid certain risks when using it. 

What You Need to Prepare

Without a doubt, archery shops have excellent tools such as the compound bow press to restring compound bows. You do not, however, have to always rely on professional shops to restring your compound bow. And as I mentioned, you can change the string on your bow without using a bow press. To successfully do it, you need these things:

  • New Bowstring
  • Allen Wrench
  • Your Hands and Feet

Also, you could use a helping hand to assist you in the process. But when you are confident enough that you can do it yourself, then why not. Also, when restringing your compound bow, consider the type and quality of string you will use. Choose a string that fits your bow and personal taste. 

Step 1: Find the Limb Bolts First

[Limb bolts on the Cam/Wheel]

[Limb bolts on the handle riser]

Locate where the limb bolts are. These are the bolts that connect the limbs of the bow to the riser. Insert your Allen wrench into one of them once you find them. To loosen the bolt’s attachment to the compound bow’s riser, turn the bolts Counter-clockwise. Also, twist your Allen wrench three full revolutions to apply the best pressure to the bow limbs. That should relieve just the right amount of tension.

Step 2: Adjust Carefully to a Full Draw Position

[You can pull (with the help of a friend ) or step on the string until it’s a full draw, whichever position you’re comfortable with.]

After relieving pressure on the limb bolts, carefully position both of your feet to step on the dangling bow string. Pull up slowly, keeping your grip on the riser until your compound bow is at its ideal “full draw” position. Your limb bolts must be loose because you won’t achieve the proper full draw position if they’re still tight. 

Step 3: Unstring and Restring Your Bow

[Unstringing the bow while looping the new string at the same time.]

Once the strings are loose enough to unloop them, you must carefully remove the old strings. At the same time, insert the replacement string to the same path where the old string went through. You can keep the bow in an upright position with the limb riser at its feet. This step will require you to hold the bow from side to side while the other hand will loop the string from end to end. But you may put the bow on a table if you need to use both hands stringing the bow.

Unstringing and restringing your bow simultaneously will keep your string in the correct position, as it were, which might be crucial to your shooting performance.

Step 4: Reverse the Steps 

After you’ve looped the new bow string through the loop, carefully lower your compound bow. Continue lowering it until the limbs return to their original position.

Step 5: Take Note of the Grooves

Examine the bowstring loops to ensure they are fully and properly seated in the grooves. The grooves are an integral part of the bowstring fittings. With that, you’ll know if you’ve done a good job. Now, you will have two strings on your compound bow.

Step 6: Do the Final Touches

Tighten the limb bolts with your Allen wrench to ensure the integrity of your limb and riser. Finally, it is time to test out your bow with a full draw.

Note: I would like to emphasize that restringing a compound bow by hand is only possible for older compound bow models with a teardrop attachment. For anything else, you may need a bow press.

Tips to Know if Your Bow Needs Restringing

Broken or damaged strings are not only inconvenient, but they can also increase the risk of injury to the bow’s shooter and damage to the bow itself. Fortunately, numerous indicators can notify you when it is time to restring your bow.

Here are the crucial tips for you to identify if your bow needs restringing or not.

Inspect the Bowstring Regularly

A periodic inspection of your bow should be part of your bow maintenance routine. You should pay close attention to all bow parts during the examination, especially the bowstring, as this is your primary concern.

Fraying and Breaks

Please take a closer look at the bowstring as you inspect it. Keep an eye out for obvious signs of fraying and breaks. When these signs become undeniable, it is time to replace your bowstring.

String’s Cams Point

In addition, when inspecting the bow string for signs of damage, pay special attention to the point where the string passes across the cams of your bow. The majority of the time, fraying and damage occurs at this point. If the string completely wears out, replace it right away.

Nock Point of the String

Your bow string’s nock point frays easily and may have damaged strands. If this is the case, replace the string as soon as possible.

Bow’s Draw Length

If the draw length of your bow has become abnormally long, it could be a sign that you need to replace your bowstring. A bowstring diagram can be helpful when attempting to replace your bowstring at home.

Archery is not a sport to be taken lightly, and it is critical to practice safety at all times. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain your equipment by replacing its bowstring when one of those indicators occurs. 

Bonus: Ways to Make Your Bowstring Last Longer

Inevitably, your bowstring will eventually wear and fray. But there are actions you could be doing to ensure that your bowstring lasts as long as possible:

  • Applying wax – the most common trick is to wax the string on a regular basis to keep it from fraying quickly. Clean your bowstrings before applying the wax.
  • Less pressure – when you apply too much pressure to your bowstring, it is likely to fracture before it should. Therefore, one way to ensure that your bowstring lasts as long as possible is to avoid applying too much pressure. (1)
  • Don’t expose it to extreme heat – many people are unaware that exposing the bow to extreme heat can damage your string or significantly shorten its lifespan. As a result, you should avoid putting the bow near intense heat sources, such as an open fire. (2)

Restringing your compound bow is simple if you plan ahead of time. It’s essential to know what you will be doing as it can break your gear or injure you if done incorrectly. But learning to restring your compound bow will save you money, plus it’s a great addition to your archery skills. 

And when done correctly, you will successfully replace your string, just as if you had a professional archery shop do it for you.

(1) pressure –
(2) extreme heat –