Archery | Should I Unstring My Bow?
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Archery | Should I Unstring My Bow?

August 19, 2019

Here’s another very common question – should I unstring my bow when I’m not using it? This can be surprisingly confusing, because you may get conflicting advice, depending on your source, and there’s a reason for this. Many people want to leave their bow strong – it’s convenient if they use it frequently, some people want to display it on a rack. Now, others obviously have to take it down because of transportation, but that’s different. This is looking at whether it’s safe or not to keep your bow strung. The answer you probably hear most often is ‘no, you shouldn’t keep the bow strung’. The reason for this makes sense – when you string the bow, the limbs are placed under tension. Over time, this can cause the limbs to ‘set’, that means, over time the limbs will keep the shape in which they’re strung. This causes the limbs to become stiffer, and they will lose their flex. This effectively makes the limb unusable. This degradation may be accelerated by storage in poor conditions, such as warm and humid storage areas. These storage areas can also cause delamination, when the layers of the wood inside the limb begin to separate, and in that case ,the bow is basically unrepairable. You may also find that bows which have been stored improperly, may have warped limbs. That means the limbs have lost their shape, and the string no longer sits in the limb correctly. Now, this can be rectified if it’s a minor warp, you can apply heat to the limb and twist it back into shape, but if the warping’s severe, then that too is beyond fixing. For these reasons, you’ll often be told to store it in a cool dry place, and that makes absolute sense. However, there is something missing in this advice – it’s actually kind of outdated. Now, this applies strongly to older bows which are all wood. I imagine the reason why this advice gets passed around a lot is because 1) it’s very old common wisdom, and 2) a lot of people find these old bows stowed away in someone’s garage or basement or attic, and they’ve gone through a lot of damage because of improper storage. If you have an all wood bow, then it actually is quite important that you store it correctly and you unstring it. If you have a slightly newer bow, with wood and fibreglass, then these are less susceptible to long term damage. If you’re using a very modern limb, with composite layers of carbon and synthetic foam, then you can basically leave this strung forever, and nothing will happen to it. On that note, I get a lot of questions about durability. People ask: ‘Is this bow durable?’ ‘Is this model good?’ ‘How long will it last?’, ‘Will it break?’ and so on. Fair enough, people don’t want to invest big money into a bow which may break within a few months. Durability is something that is not measured for bows – you don’t measure a bow based on how many thousand arrows it shoots. A bow is designed to last. Even a basic wooden recurve will last you your lifetime. You can even dry fire a bow like this hundreds of times, and nothing will happen to it. DON’T DO IT!! Point being, if you’re using a modern recurve, you can in fact keep it strung, and no harm will come to it. On the other hand, if you’re using an older recurve, then you should unstring it when not in use. On that note, there are some general tips you should keep in mind when storing your bow – If you keep your bow strung, avoid putting pressure on the limb – if you stand your bow upright against something, this puts pressure on the bottom limb, and this may cause the limb to warp over time. If you’re displaying the bow on a rack, then you can hold it by the riser either this way, or this way, that’s completely fine. You can in fact put it on hooks that hold the string like this – the weight of the bow itself is not enough to put the bow under tension, so you’re not adding undue stress. If you’re storing it in a rack in a clubhouse for example, you can put it on a hook, and loop it through the top limb like that, and that’s completely fine. Again, the weight of the bow isn’t enough to bend the limb under tension. And of course, keep the bow in a cool dry place. It’s a bad idea to leave your bow in the back of your car, especially in extreme weather. Over long periods of time, that will cause long term damage to your bow. That said, even if you have a modern bow, it doesn’t hurt to unstring it. It only takes a few seconds to string, or unstring it, and that way you have peace of mind, especially knowing that no one’s going to pick your bow up and dry fire it. Anyway, this is NUSensei, hope you found this helpful. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

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  1. Great video. Is there an approximate time you can leave your bow strung? For example I have a samick sage that I left strung on my wall for a month, and when I used it this summer it worked fine. But I'm wondering…would it have affected the bow greatly if I'd left it up there for 6 or 7 months?

  2. Im looking at buying a cheap Mongolian recurve to use purely as a display bow. I want to hang it on the wall and never shoot it, but Im worried about its shape when strung. Will it change? I don't plan on un stringing or shooting I just don't want its shape to change.

  3. does any know know if the martin panther 2015 is good, please tell me, I want a new bow and I kinda want this one but please tell me

  4. I never really thought about that but now you say I'm wondering so thanks as you answered a question which I probably would have asked in the future.

  5. I'm relatively new to archery and I feel dumb for asking this but what is the metal ring thing on your bow called its on the riser, I'm buying a new bow and I would like to have one

  6. Just gonna ask straight up, Samick Sage. If I keep one strung will it mess it up or is it imperative that I unstring it. I don't use it most days. Maybe once a month if depending on the weather.

  7. Thanks for this video @NUSensei!  It's a question I've had since I started archery again recently.  I figured it wouldn't be good for storing long term, but didn't see why a few hours, even over night, it would be a problem. I do have a question about something you said at the end. Is leaving the bow in a warm/hot place for a day or two going to hurt it?

  8. How long do you think a bow with wood and fiberglass limbs (that is strung) last until the limbs are unusable?

  9. Once again, Thanks Nu Sensi.  For this and all the videos on archery that you produce.  You should see about getting a contract with some of the equipment manufactures to produce instructional and advertising videos for them.

  10. So i have one question? Recently i bought Hoyt excel and KAP Winstorm II carbon foam limbs, so if i leave it strung it wont do any damage? Just want to make sure. Tnx

  11. hello I am looking to get my first bow is this a good deal

  12. LOL it took me and my husband to string my 45lb draw weight recurve PVC.. I don't think i'll be unstringing it for storage, i'd never get is strung again.. LOL

  13. an off topic question, are you, or do you have japanese ancestry? do you know japanese? the initial kanji for sensei arouse that question in my japanese student mind

  14. A lot of beginners tell me they leave their bows strung so that they can shoot in their garden ever few days, but i really dont see why. It takes about 10 seconds to string a bow if you leave the string on the limbs and only a few minutes even if you take the bow down completely. If you cant be bothered to do that then you need to think if you actually want to do the sport.

  15. I live in Hawaii and it's usually humid. I just got into archery and I keep my Samick Sage in a hard case in my trunk. Is this okay? Or should I bring it into my house?

  16. Hey NuSensei! I got to say thank you! I have been watching you're videos for over a month now, Preparing for when I had saved up enough money to buy a bow. Well, a couple days ago a family member came by with a 58" AMO 35# Green Fox by Fred bear. It's a vintage fibreglass recurve. I wanted to ask a couple things the string has a few frays but no strands are broken. I watched the video where you said wax it, and I will be doing so. But I feel due to old-age of the string it should be changed. Am I correct in thinking so? also, If the wood/fibreglass bows are fine to stay strung then would my bow be okay as well? Thanks again for the great videos. And also today was my first day out there shooting, with you're help i feel i saved myself a lot of frustration. Though for the first 20 minutes I had a lot of foul arrows and misses. I used what I watched here to correct the problems. You are the man!

  17. Nu sensei,

    I really want to thank you for your advice and your videos. I am a novice and have watched many of your videos. They are very informative and entertaining to watch. I just ordered a Samick red stag takedown recurve bow and am really ready to start shooting. Thank you for your great advice!

  18. Was this YOUR FIRST [ARCHERY THEMED] YOUTUBEVIDEO to come with its own blink-&-You`ll-miss-it INTRO in the ANIME style of caricature logo?
    Please, please please, continue for all time to place this Jiffy-long intro on all your archery videos. (And as for sound mixing – the audio level you made over this intro is most fitting. Any louder or any softer would cause me to complain.

  19. Hello, I am a new archer and only just completed a beginner course. Just wondering – in this video it looked as if you unstrung your bow just by compressing with your hands with the bow against the floor. I was advised that this could be in some cases dangerous as limbs could be twisted or shatter? Isn't it safer to use a bow stringer? Apologies if this is a silly question, as I mentioned I'm just starting out in archery 🙂

  20. good advice. About dry-fire – did it yesterday twice – because a) was dark b) nock was not properly onto the string. From now on I listen to the little click ..
    + because I kinda do not hold the bow (more like a flat horizontally) the bow crashed to the floor twice too with some small dents. Everything still works so. Good news: 'only' a Samick sage 🙂

  21. lol peace of mind knowing nobody is gonna pick up my bow and dry fire it.. yup id trade that for the cosmetic of people seeing a strung bow hanging up lol.

  22. Because you did it in the end of your video: Is it really bad for a bow to bend it through your legs when attaching the string?

  23. How long of a string should I buy for a 70 inch Howatt Matador? I bought it at a garage sale for 50 bucks, it shoots alright but the string is old and damaged.

  24. O totally believe him that you can dry fire it 100 times, but does that even matter if a professional archer already dies from shock after the 5th time he experiences it XD

  25. hello. do i need to unstring hoyt satori? "Combining aerospace carbon, rock maple cores and a glass wedge delivers target-quality performance and feel in a hunting configuration that will make you the ultimate predator."

  26. if I had a bow with a draw weight exceeding 20 pounds and some bastard dry fired it and didn't even ask me to hold it, I would pick up a hunting arrow and impale them. and yes. even my own kids if I had any.

  27. I delaminated my Cartel Epic Hawk from unstringing it without a stringer as it broke after I strung the bow. I think it would have been safer to leave it strung because it was a fiberglass/wood laminated limb.

  28. Yes, indeed, one of the reasons to unstrung a bow when not in use is to stop untrained dumbasses from dry firing it.

    To clarify, I was once one fo those untrained dumbasses. Saw an old hunting bow on display at a friends house, decided to try it out……And that's how I learned that Arm protecters exist for a very good reason.

  29. I have a win & win wooden takedown will fiberglass and wood limbs. Should i unstring it? If so, how? I use the pocket type of bow stringer with the small and big pocket.

  30. I shot a modern Hoyt and nock broke causing the bow to dry fire. It broke immediately so I can tell you a modern bow will break if you dry fire it, even once.

  31. You can dry fire this bow 100's of times and nothing will happen….DONT DO IT! Never laughed so hard while learning!

  32. So how about a biocomposite bow , usually hard to string and made from laminated sinew and horn for example Korean traditional bow

  33. 1) Is it ok to leave the slack string on the bow limbs? 2) Is it ok to lean the unstrung bow against the wall?

  34. Does the Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) material count as a modern limb, and if so should I keep it strung?

  35. Thank you so much for this. I have a modern hybrid bow and get told to unstring it. And to not place it on a hook grapping onto the string. I'll be coming back to this video over and over for reassurance.

  36. I have been storing my compound bow by hanging it on a nail from the wheel bracket for years and years, and it's never caused any problems. Is that advice about how to hang it specific to traditional bows, recurves and such?

  37. In your final conclusion of leaving newer bows strung, did that include bows like the sand Samick Sage, Mandarin and things of that nature which use both fiberglass and wood laminate or was that more exclusive to the Target specific style bow limbs?

  38. As a total beginner, most of this is common sense to me coming from the perspective of a guitarist… If a guitar will go unused, you take off the strings and loosen tension on the truss rod. And for modern composite bows vs all wood bows, it makes sense, because the neck of my main fretless bass, which has graphite rods in it, hasn't shifted for years.

  39. In relation to bow maintenance what if you have a very expensive laminated bow and you constantly take it outside in the cold like 20 degrees and after usage you bring it back to your 70 degree apartment, will that temperature fluctuation affect they bow. I could understand someone asking this if they have a $500+ bow.

  40. I have never done archery in my life life and got given a cheap recurve bow from china.. with your videos I learned so much as a beginner.. cheers

  41. Thanks for the advise cunt, kept my bearpaw mongolian horsebow (fiberglass) strung for about a week and the poundage has dropped from 35 to 30 pounds🖕

  42. my bow is a traditional recurve (not a takedown) and it has fiberglass laminate limbs. i unstring it if i will not be shooting for a week or more. will it be okay if i don't do that?

  43. I bought my first ever bow a few months back, ”Mandarin Duck Phantom”. And since I’ve watched plenty of tips from this channel. It is priceless advice and I’m so thankfull for these tips and lectures! Thank you for helping us sensei!

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