Your bow needs maintenance to perform its best. It’s much like a car, which needs its oil and fluids checked and replaced regularly, and tire pressure and treads routinely monitored.
Your archery shop’s knowledgeable bow mechanics will keep your bow operating at peak performance. But how often should your bow go in for service? What must be fixed and maintained? Here’s what you need to know about maintaining your bow.
A bow is a mechanical device that endures wear over time, and no bow part sustains more significant wear than the bowstring. Bowstrings on recurves and compounds need constant maintenance, and eventually require replacement. If you watch slow-motion videos of a bow being shot, the violent action is mesmerizing. The bowstring takes the brunt of the force, and wears out over time.
You can prolong the bowstring’s life by maintaining and properly storing it. Also, regularly apply bowstring wax, which is available at archery stores. That’s an essential part of bow maintenance. Before you shoot each day, inspect your bowstring for anything that looks fuzzy, and run your fingers up and down its length to see if it feels dry. If you detect either condition, apply wax to the bowstring and rub it in with your fingers until it melts fully into the string.
Storing your bow in a climate-controlled setting extends its life by preventing string stretch. If you have a recurve or longbow, remove its string between shooting sessions to extend its life. A compound bow’s draw length, brace height, draw weight and tuning adjustments are all affected by string stretch. High temperatures make bowstrings stretch rapidly. Store your bow indoors where consistent temperatures prevent unwanted string stretch.
The bowstring’s servings also endure wear. Bowstring servings are a braided thread wrapped around your bowstring in high-wear areas. You’ll notice servings in the center of the bowstring where the arrow nocks onto the string, and at both ends where it attaches to the bow. Servings can loosen over time. When that happens, take your bow to a nearby archery shop for inspection. Bow technicians will repair the serving or replace the string.
Much like car tires, bowstrings wear out over time. When should you replace them? It depends on the bow’s draw weight, how often you shoot it, how well it’s maintained, and the conditions it regularly faces.
Properly maintained bowstrings can last about three years, but should then be replaced. The bowstring should also be replaced if it has frays or a broken strand. If you’re unsure whether to replace your bowstring, visit an archery store for assistance. The best part about replacing a bowstring is that you can choose custom colors that make your bow unique.
Young archers who experience growth spurts might notice their bow no longer fits right. That’s because as archers grow, their bow must adjust with them to ensure comfort and accuracy. Most youth bows easily adjust, which is best done at an archery shop by a bow technician.
Much happens in a year, and so it’s a good idea to visit your favorite bow bow technician annually. Bowstrings stretch, parts vibrate loose and things get knocked out of alignment. Bow technicians check your bow and retune everything. The downside is this: You can no longer blame the bow for bad shots.
Drops, Spills and Dry-Fires
Accidents happen, even to seasoned archers. If you drop your bow or dry-fire it, take it to a bow tech immediately. A dry-fire means shooting a bow without an arrow. Bows are not designed to shoot air. When you draw a bow and release the bowstring without an arrow nocked, all the stored energy meant for the arrow goes straight into the bow. The noise is horrendous.
Dry-firing is scary and dangerous, but it happens. If you dry-fire a bow, immediately check yourself for injuries. If you’re unharmed, immediately place the bow in a case. If it starts coming apart, the bow case will contain its parts. Then drive to the archery shop so a technician can evaluate your bow and make repairs.
A well-maintained bow provides years of enjoyment. If your bow has been neglected and needs a tune-up, head to an archery shop. They’ll get it shooting like new again.