Taking care of your bow is a top priority. If your bow isn’t maintained, you run the risk of injury, not only to yourself but to your bow as well. This can prevent you from competing or going out to hunt. In this article, we will go over a few things to look for as well as how to keep your bow in good repair.
Wear to look for
- Fraying in your string
- Serving that’s loose or splitting
- Brace-height change
- Cam lean change
- Any nicks or other damage to limbs
Each of these items are pretty small, but if unattended, they can be problematic. If you observe mild fraying on your string, using bow string wax can be a quick fix. If the fraying is more severe, it may be time to purchase a new string. Check over your serving for separation, loose strands, or white color that can indicate wear from rubbing on the cams or from laying your bow on the ground. If you are a crossbow shooter, check that you have a working crank or draw cord and that they are in good repair.
Brace height is the distance from your bowstring to your grip with the bow at rest. Brace height can change over time and can change due to weather such as extreme heat or cold. Cam lean is referring to the top cam on a compound bow. Cam lean is normal and necessary to your tune. Too much lean either way can cause a risk of bow failure. When the strings or cables stretch because of hot or cold weather, this can cause a change in timing of your cams or cam lean.
Damage to your limbs can be cosmetic because limbs are typically painted. Damage that you want to watch for are missing chunks of material other than paint and nicks in pivotal portions of the limb, like where the string attaches, near the axles, and by the limb bolts.
Wax your bow string
When waxing your bow string, you will be applying wax to the string fibers, only avoiding the serving. You will put a moderate layer of wax on the string, then use your fingers to work the wax into the fibers. Waxing your string will help with protecting your string from the elements and prolong the life of your string.
Replace your D-loop
If you notice fraying or severe discoloration in your D-loop, it may be time to replace it. An old or deteriorating D-loop can cause injury or a miss-fire of your bow. Exchanging the old material for new material can change your tune, so make sure to re-tune and re-sight in your bow.
Utilizing your local bow shop
Go to your local bow shop and check in with a skilled technician if you are unsure about the state of your bow or are not comfortable working on your equipment. You can also look at potential equipment upgrades or have your new strings put on. The technician can point you in the right direction for potential upgrades as well as work on your equipment tune.
For crossbows, a common mistake that is made is to leave the bow drawn back or “cocked” for a long period of time. If you leave your bow cocked, you run the risk of your bow failing when you need it as well as undue stress on the limbs, axles, and string.
Practice with your bow
After checking that your bow is in good repair, shoot your bow and check your sight marks. Check that all of your attachments are tight, such as your sight, stabilizers, and dampers. Most changes that you make to your equipment will affect your sight marks. You may need to add another sight tape or make a new one on archer’s advantage or other websites.
Tinker with weights
Working with the balance of your bow can be quite effective in improving accuracy. Adding or taking off weight to your stabilizers or riser will affect the balance as well as the bow reaction. Change your weight distribution while you are practicing so you can shoot your bow after each change and find what works for you.
If you get overwhelmed when checking these potential problems, I would default to your local bow shop or to someone you trust to work on your equipment. It’s important to be safe whenever you are doing any bow maintenance. Injury can occur while you are working on your bow or shooting your bow after you have worked on it if you aren’t paying attention or are inexperienced. All of these things are important to keep in mind if you haven’t shot in a while or are things to watch for if you practice often.