Understanding how to string an archery bow is an essential skill for any archer. Each type of bow is designed differently and requires a specific technique to be strung properly. Some are straight and simple, others are more complex with a recurve and still others are even more complicated with cams and pulleys. Knowing how to use the correct stringing method for each type will ensure that the bow is strung safely and securely.
Foot Bracing Technique
Foot bracing is an effective technique for stringing lighter, straight bows such as long bows. The method begins with the archer placing the upper string loop over the upper limb and nocking the lower string loop on the lower limb. The archer then braces the tip of the lower limb against the inside of one foot. The hand on the side of the bracing foot holds the bow at the center and pulls while the other hand presses the upper limb away, bending the bow. At the same time, the hand pressing the upper limb slides the bow string into place on the limb nock. Once in place, tension can be released, and the bow is strung.
Another tried and true method for stringing a bow is called the step-through technique. First, one string loop is properly nocked on the lower limb. The other is loop is held in one hand, and the upper limb in the other. The archer steps through the space between the bow string and the bow itself, with the leg on the side of the upper end of the bow. The archer then places the face of the lower limb against the shin of the other leg and braces the center of the bow against the back of the inside leg. The archer then bends the upper limb forward until the string loop can be placed on the nock. Once the loop is firmly in place, the archer can then step out of the bow.
A relatively safe and easy method for stringing a bow is to use a bow stringer. This device is made of a length of cord, longer than the bow string, tied to two small socks made of leather or heavy fabric. To string the bow, the archer places one bow string loop loosely over one limb and nock, and the other loop on the end of the other limb. The socks of the stringer are then placed over the ends of the bow limbs. With the bow facing upward, the archer stands on the stringer cord with both feet and pulls the bow upward, putting tension on the stringer to bend the limbs. While they are bent, the archer then slides the loose bow string loop up to the nock at the end of the limb. Once the string loop is firmly in place, the stringer can be removed and the bow is strung.
With cams or pulleys, compound bow strings require special techniques to position them properly. A device known as a bow press is used to pull the limbs of the compound bow together and hold tension on them. The bow string can then be fit onto the limbs and the cams or pulleys of the bow.