To choose a bow string, select a string material and choose the right number of strands. Some things to consider include creep and durability.
Run through the following steps to select a new bowstring for a bow.
- Choose a string material
- Choose a strand number
- Inspect the string quality
Not all bowstrings are created alike. They come in a variety of different materials. Traditionally, strings were made of waxed linen, and catgut, cotton and silk were common in historic bows. Therefore, these materials are good choices for historic replicas. However, modern bows tend to use high performance synthetic materials such as Kevlar, Dacron, Dyneema and Spectra. These materials can stretch during use, but do not creep over time. Stretch describes stretching that springs back after use, whereas creep describes permanent stretching of the string. Stretch is desirable, but creep is not.
Bowstrings are not made of single strands of material. Instead, they are made from twisted or braided strands. The number of strands in the twist usually makes the bowstring thicker and can have an effect on performance and durability. Fewer strands tend to make the bow shoot faster, whereas more strands are much quieter. The ideal number of strands can also vary from bow to bow. Some bows are designed to hold higher numbers of strands, and installing strings with a low number of strands can cause unpleasant vibrations.
Before purchasing the strings, be sure to inspect the quality. Quality strings are more durable and are less likely to creep. Sufficient tension is a good indicator of string quality.