Archery | Making Bowstrings – Equipment
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Archery | Making Bowstrings – Equipment

August 13, 2019

In this video for making bowstrings, we will look at some of the equipment needed to craft a bowstring. Not having the right equipment is probably the prime reason that stops people from learning to make their own strings. Aside from the essentials, we will also take a look at other items that you should have on hand. The string jig is the big one, and I meant that quite literally. You can not make a bowstring without one. There are different jigs depending on whether you are making a Flemish Twist or and endless loop. This one is meant for an endless loop string, the more common kind used for recurve bows. This is a very specialized piece of equipment, and you definitely won’t find it in a general sporting good store. You probably won’t find this in a smaller archery store either. The major archery retailers may have them in stock, such as Lancaster Archery or Merlin Archery. Do know, however, that these are very heavy objects. They may be considered over sized and some stores won’t ship them overseas. Cheaper models, like the Cartel CX-1 or the Sherwood string jig are basically aluminum rods assembled into a jig, and they get the job done. More expensive models, such as the BCY Yellowstone and the McVicars, are sturdier and have more adjustment options and other features such as an engraved measuring ruler. Even getting a cheap premade string jig can be quite expensive. Clubs will usually have one because it’s quite essential for the club to maintain their equipment, and, as a club member, you may have access to club string jigs. In which case, you may use the clubs jig to learn and practice making strings. If you’re buying one for yourself and you’re not going to make many strings, it may be a bit excessive, so an alternative, which some people do, is to make your own string jig. The string jig that I have is the Decut String Jig, which I bought from Merlin Archery for just over £100, which is around $230 Australian dollars. It’s simple and sturdy. However, Decut is a Chinese company and the instructions that come with it are garbage. It doesn’t full explain: what parts it contains, and what they’re used for, or how to fully assemble the jig. What I have here is probably not the correct way to assemble it, but I’ve adapted it to the way I make strings. String jigs have the following components… firstly, it’s very long. The jig has to deal with the entire length of the string and there’s no way around this. The actual length may be adjusted, which may or may not be telescopic depending on the jig design. If there are no measuring marks on the jig, you have to measure it for yourself. The defining feature of string jigs meant for endless loop strings are these posts. When aligned straight, they are used to hold the string at its correct length. When rotated, they stretch the string out and allow you to work on the end loops. Depending on the jig’s design, they can be held in place with large knobs, or a nut and bolt. This functionality is required to make the string. Of course, you require material to make the string. There are 2 things you need: string material and serving material. I’ll go into more detail for these in another video. The other specialized tool you will need is a serving jig. Lots of companies make their own serving jig, and they’re all very similar. You can get one for around $20. This tool is used to wrap the serving thread around the string. Other things that a good to keep on-hand. You can get string tools like this one made by Beiter. This one is a multi-purpose tool, which allows you to separate strands as you’re working on the string. This is really handy when you’re working on a multi-colored string. You can buy this tool for around $15, or you can improvise with a pen, or other short object. Have a knife or a pair of scissors around, and a lighter is useful to burn off loose ends of serving. You’ll probably want to wax the string when you’re finished as well, so get a nice big stick of string wax. That’s…pretty much all you need. If you’re thinking about he financial cost, the only really big thing on the list is the string jig. Aside from that, all you need is string material, serving material, and a serving jig, then you’re good to go. Anyway, I hope you found this helpful. Check out my other videos of string making for more information. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.

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  1. I don't use a serving jig when making strings, I just wind by hand. Serving jigs are, in my experience, temperamental when it comes to tension, and cause more frustration than they're worth. As long as I'm careful, I can get the serving just as tight as, if not tighter than, the jig.
    If I need to stop for any reason, I keep a thing of beeswax nearby, and place some over the incomplete serving, near the unfinished end. I use beeswax because it's soft enough to be able to apply it easily, but not as soft as the string wax.

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