How to Measure String Length for a Long Bow

Line of women with bow and arrows

The ideal string length for a longbow is determined by the overall length of the bow. Choosing the proper string length is critical for performance and the safety of your bow. Choose a longer string and the bow loses power. Choose a shorter string and extra pressure is placed on the limbs. The extra pressure is capable of causing permanent damage and will eventually crack or snap the limbs. Luckily, measuring the string length is an easy process that requires little effort.

Measure the Old String

Hammer a nail into a board and loop one side of the old string on the nail.

Pull the string tight and hammer a second nail through the free loop to hold the string in place.

Measure the distance between the two nails to determine the length for your new string.

Measure the Bow

Lay the long bow flat on the ground. Have a friend hold one end of a tape measure at the tip of the bow. Pull the tape measure to the opposite end and hold it tight. Read and record the measurement.

Subtract 3-inches from the measurement to determine the standard string length for your bow.

Contact the manufacturer of the new string to ensure three inches is the preferred measurement for their material.


Find the labeled length on your bow and contact the manufacturer for string recommendations. Most manufacturers will have a preferred string brand and length for the specific bow.


Do not string and fire the bow until you know the proper string length. Firing with a short string will damage the limbs.