Archery | Making Bowstrings – Why Make Strings?
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Archery | Making Bowstrings – Why Make Strings?

August 13, 2019

Many of you by now have figured out that
I’ve started making bowstrings. In fact, the past month I have made around 20 bowstrings, so I’ve had a lot of hands on learning. Now there’s been a huge demand for tutorials on this part of archery, and I thought that this would be a good chance to share what I have learned. I want to make it very clear in this video that I am not an expert on making bowstrings. I’ve been taught to make bowstrings, I’ve done research, I’ve seen other sources, and I’m using my own experiences. I do want to say that I do use my bowstrings. They work, and to me that’s a pass grade. A lot of people want to learn how to make bowstrings, partly out of curiosity, and partly out of practicality. It is a useful skill for an archer
to have, and anyone who wants to take archery seriously may want to consider
learning to make their own bowstrings. This is, however, by no means a requirement. Unfortunately, the knowledge of how to make a bowstring, although it is not very complex, tends to be passed from person to person, so it is actually a little hard to
find a centralized source of information for everything you need to know about
making bowstrings. There are so many different aspects to this particular part of archery that I don’t want to cram everything into one video. Instead, I am going to make several videos in this series to cover different aspects in detail. Again, I’m not an expert, but what I do works and everyone does it slightly differently. This is where I welcome you to share your
experiences and your knowledge. I am using what I’ve gathered from various sources, from what I’ve been taught by my coach, what I’ve researched online, as well as my own hands on experience. To start off, however, this video will cover
the question: Why should you make bowstrings? As you know by now most bows you buy come with a bowstring. These things are pretty tough but they can last for well over a year depending on how often you use them. A competitive archer may chew through a string in about 6 months. If it wears out, no problem. One can easily buy a new string. Buying a string is really easy. In fact they are so readily available it’s the easiest option for most archers. You can get factory-made strings from brands like Cartel and Win & Win, or you can buy a string and get it made for you at an archery pro shop. Getting it made for you is a good alternative, because you can choose the colors you want in your string. It’s made by official people with experience, you can choose specific length which can suit your bow and brace height. In fact many people can get away
with never learning to make a string for their entire archery career. There’s nothing wrong with that. Even the price of the bowstring is very reasonable. A Dacron bowstring will cost around ten dollars, while a high performance fast-flight string for modern bows costs around 25 dollars. Compare that to the process of making your own string. The first thing you need is a string jig, and buying one of those can cost a couple hundred. You could make your own, but you still need to get materials
to make the jig. Next you need the string material. They come in spools like this one, and depending on the material, they can cost anywhere between 20 dollars for Dacron to 40 or 50 for a dyneema style string, and it depends on the size of the spool
as well. You also need serving material, and you need a fair amount of time. It does take around 45 minutes to make the string, depending on how experienced you are and how focused you are. If you’re only ever going to make one string, this isn’t worth it. However, if you’re in a position where you need to make many strings being able to make your own strings is a huge asset. The most obvious example is working in a pro shop, but outside of that the most common
situation is if you’re part of the club. Clubs have lots of equipment, they get a lot of wear and tear, and if you have someone at the club who can make strings, that means you can bring your bows back into operation. There are a lot of bows which are unstrung, or the strings are far too damaged to use, and so they are left unstrung and not used. So rather than leave them there, unused and being a waste of space and waste of resources, having someone at the club that can mass produce strings is a huge benefit. In fact, one of my recent projects was to look through my school’s inventory to get the bows, look at the strings, and get them back into operation so more people can experience archery. Speaking of clubs, you will have club members that will need new strings. Now they can buy their strings, but the problem with buying a string is that you have to wait for it to be made and then sent to you. You have to pay shipping costs. Otherwise, you are buying a generic factory made string. If someone at the club can make a string, you can personalize the string for the archer, on the spot. From individual perspective, you have so much more control over what you are doing with your strings. If your string is slightly damaged and
you’re not really sure about getting a new string, if you can make your own, just make one! If you’re tired of one color, you can use another color. You can choose exactly what your string will look like. The right colors the materials, and even the serving, and the serving size, you control that. Being able to make your own string means that you’re not held back by this. As far as cost effectiveness
is concerned, apart from the price of buying the string jig, it’s far cheaper to make your own strings than to buy them. The benchmark price for a fast-flight string is U.S. $25. This spool of thread cost 30 U.S.
dollars and I can make around ten strings from it. That depends on how long the strings are and how many threads are used, but for a ballpark figure, about 10-15 strings. If you factor in the cost of serving material, I’d say that a personally handmade string costs a quarter of the price of buying a string from the shop. Most of the the price in buying a string
comes from the time and effort and the labor. If you can make your own strings you are cutting all that out. if you’re making a string for a club member for example, all you are paying is the price of the material. You might not even do that if the club is buying a set of string making tools and a string jig, and a selection of colors, then that might be covered in your membership fee. So you might not even charge that. The bottom line is that whether you’re making it for a club or you’re making it for yourself, it is more cost effective to make your own strings. Again, one thing that you can do by making your own strings is to choose exactly what you want. For the sake of business, shops probably won’t give you that many options. Sure you can buy the materials for the shop but if you ask the shop to, for example, make you a green and black bow string. They’ll just make you a green and black bowstring, but if you want to have specific materials like Dyneema, or 8125 then, you can do that if you make your own strings. If you prefer using specific size serving threads, or a specific brand you can do that by making your own string. Shops probably don’t offer that service because it just takes too much time and effort to customize a string. That’s something that as a professional archer, you may wish to do yourself. One of the secondary benefits to learning to make a your own bowstring is knowing how to do string maintenance. The string is one of the few parts of the bow that actually require maintenance. So if you see a problem like a loose serving, that’s not a problem. We can fix that, and of course you take pride in what you make. I made this string. I use this string in competitions. If there is a fault in the string, it’s a fault in me. Now I’m the kind of person who likes taking the time to do something carefully and precisely, and if you like this sort of thing then string making is just for you. Otherwise, even though it can be tedious, and it can be time-consuming, it’s not a very hard skill to acquire. If you don’t mind the process of learning to make a string and taking time to make one then being able to make your own string makes you a more complete archer. Anyway, I hope you found that interesting. In the next few videos we will be looking at the equipment you need to make bowstrings, as well as the actual process of making a bowstring from start to finish. This NUSensei. I’ll see you next time.

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  1. Sheldon Gannon has a video here on YT where he makes a string from start to finish. Its worth checking out in my opinion.

  2. I ordered a 16 strand string for my recurved bow for when the string currently on my take down recurve or if I replace the limbs for stronger limbs because I found out through research that for me to be able to shoot 50 lb bow samick sage only includes a string limited to 45 lbs and my bow tuning kit came today so now it will be easier to tune it.

  3. I've been practicing making strings this week. I made six, and am happy with the result. My materials are a little odd. For the string I used twelve strands of 50lb spider wire, and served it with the nylon guts from paracord.  The jig is a 2×4 with nails. It has a pivot for serving the loop. I wrap the string by hand. If I had a serving jig, I wouldn't need this third hand for pulling the tread.

  4. I've wanted to make my own string, but I've found its just not cost effective. Call me cheap, but if I wanna make a flemish fast flight string getting about three spools of it will cost roughly 137 bucks which is only for 1/4 spools.

    More power to people if they want to make their strings, just be aware it can get expensive. I still think its cool though.

  5. I am sooo glad this Video appears in a NUSensei `playlist` of Bowstring making videos. They all belong linked together!
    It's helpful to follow `em all.
    Great instructional video – keep up the good work.

  6. Why stop on bowstrings? Why not to make a bow as well. 🙂 This bow would be particularly special to shot once done right.

  7. i have been making compound strings for years, and just started making recurve strings ..since the 'curve bug has bitten me pretty bad. i watch every video i can on the subject, Nu's are all very good. recurve does not require all the twists a compound string does. so it did take a few to figure out layout length vs finished length. i made my jig out of bits laying around. a resource i would like to see is a "recipe" database for strand count for each material/ serving sizes to get small grove vs large groove size centers and the like. i am using 18-20 strands of 8190 or 452x at the moment, good results. i know i "should" be using small groove, but as a compounder i like having only one size in my quiver spares. keep rockin Nu.

  8. NUSensei I've watched loads of your vids & just wanted to say thanks for all the effort, it is much appreciated by me & I'm sure by hundreds of thousands of others (although I do keep forgetting to hit that like button! Sorry will remember to do it more often). Good luck to you & good shooting!

  9. Great video – for reasons I don't fully understand, I really like the prospect of making my own bowstrings. Looks like an interesting thing to do.

  10. Dear Sensei. It's been 3 years since you made this video. Are you an expert on making bowstring now? If you are, please share your insight after years doing so.

  11. I started doing string a few years ago, simply economics and design for me !!
    you can get a spool for the price of a string.
    PS also ben learning how to make them bows

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