How To String A Compound Bow – Step By Step Guide

With a piece of equipment as sophisticated and as intricate as a compound bow, taking care of each component is a vital habit. This is especially true of the bowstring, which is an integral part of any bow. Knowing how to change the string on your compound bow will help you to grow as an archer, allowing you to go up in draw weight and form more of a connection with your bow.

So, how do you string a compound bow? You can use either a bow press to restring a compound bow, or you can perform the process by hand. Keep in mind that only older types of compound bows can be restrung by hand, so check the attachments on your bow first. The basic process involves loosening the bolts on the bow’s riser before swapping out the string and tightening the bow back up again.

In reality, there are multiple ways to string a compound bow; and I’d like to walk you through each method and step involved.

Besides, different methods are suitable in different contexts.

So keep reading; you’ll be pleased you did!

What Do Uou Need To String A Compound Bow?

The easiest way to string a compound bow is to use a bow press, but some bows can be restrung by hand. You’ll likely need a set of hex keys as well as a new bowstring. You must ensure that you are trying to attach a bowstring and not a compound bow cable. Otherwise, the bow won’t work properly.

The best tool that you can use when restringing a compound bow is a bow press. 

This apparatus is essentially a clamp that holds your bow steady and allows you to perform changes and routine maintenance more easily. 

You can pick a bow press up quite affordably over at Amazon too.

Most compound bows can be placed in a bow press, and newer versions can only be worked on using a press. 

It’s always vital to check with the specific manufacturer for your bow to get advice on whether you need a bow press or not. 

You also need to know how to use a bow press safely and correctly so that you don’t accidentally damage the bow. 

If in doubt, ask your local archery specialist shop for assistance. They can walk you through the process of working with your bow press safely and properly.

The method that you use to string your compound bow will be dictated by how your string is anchored to the bow. 

Older variants of compound bows use what is known as a “teardrop” system to attach the bowstring. 

This consists of two teardrop-shaped points at each end of the bowstring area that both have two notches in. 

For teardrop compound bows, the new string must be installed while the outgoing string is still held on the bow. 

This is done to keep the tension correct during the process so as not to damage the bow. 

Newer compound bows won’t have teardrop attachments. 

The bowstring must instead be guided through the cams or wheels at each end of the bow’s frame to be installed properly.

You’ll also need a set of Allen or hex keys/wrenches to loosen the bow correctly. 

I personally like these ones from Amazon.

These are used to turn the limb bolts on the bow’s riser to release some of the tension within the bowstring. 

When loosening these bolts, each side should be unfastened using single full rotations that alternate between the sides of the bow. 

So you’ll loosen the right-hand bolt by one turn, then loosen the left-hand bolt by the same amount. 

It should usually take between three and seven rotations to slacken each bolt correctly.

Stringing A Compound Bow: Step By Step

We’ll now cover a step-by-step guide detailing how to string a compound bow. We’ll do two guides; one for compound bows that still use a teardrop attachment for the bowstring and one for newer bows that don’t use this setup. We’ll also cover how to string a teardrop compound bow using your hands instead of a bow press.

Stringing Non-Teardrop Compound Bows Using A Bow Press

1. Place your compound bow onto the bow press in the correct position. This keeps the bow safe and stable while you’re working on it. Check with the bow manufacturer to find out whether to use a bow press or not.

2. When using some bow presses, you must loosen the restraining bolts on the bow before placing it on the press. Other bow presses will have tool attachments as part of their construction that let you loosen the bow once it’s in place.

3. Turn each restraining bolt alternately by the same amount each turn. It should take between three and seven turns to slacken the bowstring correctly, depending on each individual bow. 

4. Because we’re not using the teardrop attachments on these types of bows, we must use the cams and wheels to change the strings. Once it is safely loosened, gently unhook the old string from the tubes in the center of your cams and slide it out.

5. Take the new bowstring and reverse the last step. Hook the end loop of one end of the bowstring onto the stem in the middle of the cam, then thread it through towards the second cam on the opposite side, ending with the second end loop being secured to the cam’s middle stem. Some compound bows will only have one cam, and the second end of the bowstring will be fastened to a wheel at the other end of the bow.

6. Reverse step three to fasten the restraining bolts on the compound bow, then uncouple the bow from the press. Make sure that the new bowstring has stayed in the right slots within the cams or wheels. You’re done!

Stringing A Teardrop Compound Bow Using A Bow Press

1. Anchor the bow onto the bow press correctly, as with the first step above.

2. Again, loosen the restraining bolts on the bow’s riser before or after placing the compound bow onto the press, depending on how you were taught to use the press.

3. Turn each restraining bolt alternately by the same amount each turn. It should take between three and seven turns to slacken the bowstring correctly, depending on each individual bow. 

4. With the teardrop attachment, the old bowstring must be left in place while the new one is being installed. This helps to protect the bow against a sudden release of tension. Take the new bowstring and fasten the end loop to the second notch on the teardrop. The old bowstring should be still on the first notch.

5. Repeat the step above but on the other side of the bow with the second teardrop attachment. Both end loops of the new bowstring should now be in place. Make sure that they are stable and not slipping off the notches.

6. Unhook the old bowstring from its notches on the teardrop attachments at either end of the bow.

7. Fasten the bow’s restraining bolts again and remove it from the press.

Stringing A Teardrop Compound Bow By Hand

Unlike compound bows that don’t use teardrop attachments, older compound bows with these types of fixings allow the bowstring to be changed by hand. Again, seek out the advice of your local archery store to learn how to do this safely and properly.

1. Use an Allen key or hex wrench to loosen the limb bolts on the bow’s riser as described above. Alternate between turning each bolt at an equal pace. 

2. Place your feet on top of the old bowstring and hold the bow by the handle. Gently lift the bow towards full draw. You don’t necessarily need to pull the bow to its limit, as this can cause significant harm.

3. With your free hand, take the new bowstring and attach its first end loop to the empty notch of the teardrop attachment, as discussed earlier.

4. Stretch the new bowstring and secure the second end loop onto the notch of the teardrop at the opposite end of the bow. Check that there is tension in the new string and that it isn’t slipping off its notches.

5. Lower your compound bow back away from full draw and switch your foot onto the new bowstring. Then pull the bow back up close to the full draw position.

6. Find the end loops of the old bowstring and unfasten them from their notches on each teardrop. Remove the old string and lower the bow back down before stepping off. That’s how it’s done!

Can You Leave A Compound Bow Strung?

Because of the nature of how they’re designed, you must always leave the string attached to your compound bow. Thanks to the various components such as cams or pulleys, a compound bow doesn’t build up the tension that a recurve bow does and so can be left strung all the time.

Compound bows are designed to dissipate the force of a shot more efficiently than normal bows.

This means that they don’t carry the same tension that goes through a simpler recurve bow.

If you have a recurve bow and leave the string attached at all times, the tension builds up and can damage the bow.

Compound bows don’t suffer from this problem.

This can make storing a compound bow tricky, as you have to account for the space of the string.

But you can buy specialized compound bow cases that make room for the strings as well.

These could be soft cases or hard ones, and the latter is usually the best way to store your compound bow safely. 

You can also hang a compound bow on a wall rack if you’d like, but you must keep in mind certain environmental factors to keep the bow and string in good condition.

You’ll need to protect the bow from dust, which can build up and clog the intricate components.

Either keep the bow in a case or wipe it down regularly with a cloth.

You also want to avoid areas of extreme heat or cold and places that might suffer from damp, as these extremes can all damage a compound bow.


And that my friends, is how to string a compound bow.

Hopefully, by now you know exactly what you need to do, and can follow along in your own time and at your own pace.

But if in doubt, or if you’re struggling, simply contact your local archery shop.

While many offer this service and have the tools on hand available, they may even be able to give you some advice and pointers too.

Up next: How Much Does It Cost To Restring A Compound Bow?

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