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The bowstring is the most important part of any bow. It does the heavy lifting in terms of the physical forces coursing through the bow as you shoot. Maintaining a healthy bowstring is one of the most regular housekeeping tasks that any archer needs to do to keep their bow in the best possible condition.
So how do you wax a bowstring? Waxing a bowstring is pretty straightforward. You need a decent-quality silicone wax to maintain a supple string, and these usually come in tubes similar to roll-on deodorant. You should aim to give your bowstring a good wax every fortnight or so to prevent fraying and other problems. It should always feel slightly sticky when you touch it.
While the process is simple, there are certainly some things to be aware of to ensure that you wax your bow properly.
So, continue reading; you’ll be pleased you did.
Besides, we’re going to be walking through the step-by-step process in further detail, so it’s worth your time – I promise.
What Can I Use To Wax My Bowstring?
Of course, you’ll need wax. This must be a silicone type of wax, as other forms of wax can be harmful to your bowstring. It’s also a good idea to have some clothes on hand. You can also use some string cleaning fluid before applying the wax. Optionally, you can also use a piece of string cord to evenly coat the string in wax.
The most important component when waxing your bow is always going to be wax.
These products are sold as tubes with a stick of wax inside – a bit like a roll-on deodorant.
The majority of bowstrings must be lubricated with silicone-based wax.
These types of wax are designed for use with a bow and will provide the right balance of protection and moisture defense.
Here is a great reputable wax to buy from Amazon if you need some.
Always replace the cap on your wax stick after use to prevent it from drying out.
Stay away from candle wax at all costs.
These waxes may be common, but they can damage your bowstring by breaking down the fibers that make up your bowstring.
Most archers should also stay away from beeswax unless they are using a traditional longbow or a similar weapon.
Again, beeswax is not designed to see to the specific needs of bowstrings.
Before applying any wax, it’s a good idea to check and clean your bowstring, getting rid of dirt and dust.
If you rub the wax into a dirty string, these particles can penetrate the bowstring and potentially cause fraying and other damage.
Use a clean cloth to wipe up and down the bowstring, removing any debris that may have built upon the string. Some archers may decide to use string cleaning products here.
If so, apply the cleaner and leave it to work according to the packet instructions.
As an optional step, you could also use a strong piece of cord or string to spread the coating of wax more thoroughly up and down the bowstring.
This is not strictly necessary, but if you’re preparing for an important competition, you might want to pull out all the stops.
Waxing A Bowstring: Step-by-Step
Although waxing a bowstring is a simple process, it’s still important to do it right. With that in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide showing you how to wax your bowstring:
1. You’ll need to have your bow fully strung for this task, so if you have a recurve bow, then string the bow before going any further. Compound bows stay strung at all times, so you can dive right in.
2. Run a clean, dry cloth up and down your bowstring to remove any dust or dirt that may have built up. This gives you a clean starting point for waxing your bowstring. You can also use string cleaner here if you want.
3. Get your wax ready by twisting the bottom of the tube and popping the wax stick up. Remember to only use silicone wax for your bowstrings.
4. Apply the wax to the bowstring by smearing the tube up and down the string. To make sure that you don’t apply too much, rub a generous amount of wax onto the middle portions of each side of the string between the tips of the limbs and the nocking point. Avoid getting any wax on the nocking point area itself and the servings around it.
5. Pinch the wax-covered bowstring between your finger and thumb with a decent amount of pressure. Then gradually slide your fingers up and down to guide the wax deep inside the string. Spread the wax across all of the bowstring, right up to the limbs.
6. Avoid smearing any wax onto the servings of the bow – smaller pieces of string that are tied around the bowstring close to the nocking points.
7. Optionally, after spreading the wax with your fingers, you can also employ a length of thick cord to work the wax deeper and more evenly into the string. Take the cord and wrap it around the bowstring a couple of times, then use the same motion that you did when spreading the wax with your fingers.
Do You Need to Wax Your Bowstring?
Waxing your bowstring regularly is one of the best things you can do for your bow. The wax helps to safeguard your bowstring against fraying and damaged strands. It also helps to keep out moisture, which can penetrate the bowstring and cause problems.
Bowstrings are subject to a lot of tension and physical energy during each shot.
These repetitive stresses can take their toll on improperly maintained bowstrings. If not waxed correctly on a regular basis, bowstrings can start to fray.
If left ignored, this leads to more and more strands breaking loose. If you shoot with a fraying bowstring, it could snap under the tension and potentially cause serious injury.
Applying wax to your bowstring helps keep it slick and supple, smoothing any worn strands back down and holding them in place.
This helps your bowstring to last longer, saving you money without needing to get used to new strings.
Your bowstring should always feel a bit sticky to the touch.
Dry bowstrings can’t cope with the immense physical stress of firing an arrow and will get damaged more easily.
Wax also helps a bowstring to stave off moisture. If not kept in good condition with regular waxing, bowstrings can pick up water from various sources.
As this water leeches into the bowstring and then starts to dry, it evaporates.
This has the effect of drying your bowstring out, weakening it, and making it more susceptible to damage when used for regular shooting.
It’s especially important to wax your bow thoroughly before taking part in any outdoor shooting, whether that’s target archery or hunting.
Even a light drizzle of rain can cause problems for your bowstring if allowed to get into the string, and if you’re out hunting with your bow in mountainous regions, rain can set in very quickly.
Even more, care should be taken when preparing for outdoor competitions that might end up taking place during rainfall.
How Often Should You Wax A Bowstring?
The best thing to do when waxing your bowstring is to do it regularly to avoid the risk of fraying or water damage. The more you shoot, the more you need to wax. A good habit to get into is to sit down and wax your bowstring at least every fortnight. Environmental conditions can also affect how often you need to wax your bowstring.
Because the health and effectiveness of your bow depends on having a well-conditioned bowstring, it’s important to perform this maintenance regularly.
A good schedule to abide by is to wax your bowstring every fortnight. This gives you a specific time for waxing, which should help you to do it more consistently.
If you use your bow a lot, though – we’re talking every one or two days – you’ll need to wax the bowstring more often because it’s subject to a lot more force.
Always feel your bowstring to determine if it needs waxing in between sessions. If it feels dry and you can see frizzing within the individual strands, it’s time for a wax.
But if the bowstring still feels smooth and slightly sticky, it’s good for another day or two.
The environmental conditions around you, both when storing and shooting your bow, can also dictate how often you need to wax it.
If you live in extremely dry or humid areas, you’ll need to wax your bowstring more regularly. This is especially true if you can’t store your bow in a place safe from these extremes or if it’s left to the open air.
Dry climates can dry out your bowstring, while moist conditions can allow water to seep into the bowstring and cause issues.
In terms of replacing your bowstrings completely, maintaining a good waxing schedule can extend the usable life of your strings.
However, they will eventually need replacing regardless of how often you wax. You should replace your bowstrings completely after about three years of shooting.
Waxing a bowstring – you should really do it, and you should do it regularly.
Thankfully by now, you know exactly what to use, when to use it and how often.
It’s been a pleasure.
So thanks for stopping by.
I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy indoor and 3D archery with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.