How Long Do Bow Strings Last (Compound+Recurve)

Out of all parts in a bow, strings are the most sensitive component. That’s why most of us are a bit conscious about it. But I’m concerned about you. Well! Don’t believe it? Can’t you see this guide is written just for you!

In this answer post, I will answer how long bow strings last and tell you how I used to follow to increase the lifespan of the bowstring.

I’ve got a question for you. What if your bowstrings break just after a few months you had brought? Doesn’t it feel terrible? Yes, I know. I experienced it.

Thanks to the experience, I learned a great lesson.

If you are assuming putting your hands back, your bowstrings will last several years; then, you’re living nothing but in a foolish paradise.

In fact, without proper care, it’s very likely to damage the stings of your bow in a short time.

Generally, bow strings last for about three years. But if you don’t take proper care of it and let it undergo vulnerable factors, it won’t last that long. Excessive mechanical stress by more substantial drawing, frequent shooting, not waxing, and cleaning are few.

Table of Contents

How Mechanical Stress Affects Bowstring’s Lifespan

Probably, this is the number one factor for damaging the bowstring. There is a significant correlation between the effect of mechanical stress and the materials made of a bow.

So, to know how mechanical stress affects the lifespan of a bowstring, you need to be aware of the material used in making the bowstring in the first place.

What Is A Bowstring Made Of?

In this space-aged time, the element used to make a bowstring is far more different than in the past. Bowstrings are now usually made of linen thread, steel wire, Dacron, Nylon, etc.

It also varies from bow to bow.

Linen thread well matches the wooden longbow. Where compound bow needs to use the steel wire to get its full efficiency, on the other hand, in popular recurve bow, Dacron fiber is used.

And, according to, “Nylon thread is wrapped around the bowstring to reinforce it at the ends and in the middle where the arrow and the archer’s fingers contact the string during shooting.”

Now that you know which materials are mostly used in making bowstrings. Now I’ll explain its technical features and how it affects the bowstring’s lifespan.

Let’s get to know about linen thread. The magnitude of tensile strength gauges the measurement of the power of any material.

For fiber/wire, there is another measurement that can be taken into account.

The modulus of elongation can play here a vital role in judging how much force can break the fiber.

Now, I show you a comparison. This comparison is a foundation for proof of my future statement. Let’s see the materials and their properties to get a clear picture of how mechanical strength determines the longevity of bowstrings!

  • The tenacity (tensile strength) of Linen thread is 5.5 to 6.5 gm/tex.
  • The tensile strength of steel wire 3.96556*104 g/den(approx.)
  • The tensile strength of Dacron is 1.5*104 g/den(approx.)
Different BowsMaterial Used(string)Tensile strengthBreaking ElongationDraw weight [Medium-Frame Male (150-180 lbs.)]
Wooden LongbowLinen5.5-6.5 gm/den2.7-3.5% 60 lbs.
Compound bowWire Steel3.96556*104 g/den(approx.)16%(approx.) 55-65 lbs.
Recurve bowDacron1.5*104 g/den(approx.)8%(approx.) 49-55 lbs.
Comparison chart of materials and their properties

The Decision: How Mechanical Stress Impacts On Bow Thread

Since it’s obvious the higher the tensile strength of the material greater the amount of draw weight(stress), the string can undergo. The bowstrings that can survive under higher draw weight should have a greater lifespan.

How Long Does Bow String Last?

In this section, I’m going to illustrate how the heavier drawing of a bowstring affects the string’s lasting.

Let’s see some question and answer about this.

The Effect Of Frequent Shooting: How Many Shots Does A Bowstring Last?

The answer to this question is concerned with many factors.

Breaking extension, breaking elongation, elasticity, and intolerant stress are some of the main factors of them. There is a close relationship between these factors, which will help us in determining how many shots strings can survive.


Let me explain.

Breaking extension is the elongation required to break the string in its initial length. It means the string of a bow needs to be elongated in such a range, which leads to breakage as a result of decreasing in elasticity.

With that said in the preceding paragraph, you can assume it, the higher the breaking elongation higher the chances of a string surviving under many shots.

As much as the breaking elongation, the breaking extension will be as that. When the elasticity of a material is higher enough, breaking elongation also be higher. How?

As much the elasticity will be much will be elastic recovery. When elastic recovery also increases, the modulus of breaking elongation increases. And, if the breaking elongation increases, the breaking extension will be higher too.

Boom. Now we’ve got the answer.

Since we’ve got a higher modulus of breaking extension, It’s apparent it will be way harder to extend the fiber in its initial length regardless of repeated shooting.

The sum and substance of the detailed explanation of how many shots a bowstring can survive are determined mainly by the elasticity, breaking elongation, and breaking extension of a fiber. In general, you can shoot 200 times, keeping your bow unstrung.

It conspicuously illustrates how the number of shots using the same bowstring influence over the lifespan of the bowstring.

How Long Does A Compound Bow String last?

Compound bows are costly. Maintenance of the compound bow is also not cheaper. So, it’s usual to think about how long a compound bow string lasts. That’s why I am here to meet your quest!

Depending on the purpose of using a compound bow, the string’s lasting varies from 3 to 5 years thanks to its technical advantages.

I’m going to tell you all the stuff, keep reading.

What Is A Compound Bow And What Makes It Unique?

There are a lot of bows out there in the market, but which ones are compound bows?

I picked a definition of a compound bow from Wikipedia, “a compound bow is a bow that uses a levering system, usually of cables and pulleys, to bend the limbs.”

Seems harder? keep it. As you read the post it would be easier.

But a question, why do you need a compound bow, and what does it make the difference with others.

The answer to the two questions lies in one answer. If you want to know why people use a compound bow, you should have to know the key benefits of using it in the first place. And obviously, the compound bow’s unique features and advantages can provide is the standalone reason for making it stand in the market.

Here are the benefits of using a compound bow.

  • Compound bow reduces 50% draw weight than others.
  • Optimum accuracy thanks to its minimum draw weight, bow sight, and higher speed of an arrow.
  • Low hand fatigue.
  • Can shoot long-distance maintaining accuracy.

Now you should have got the point of why the compound bow is different than other bows.

How long does a compound bowstring last?

I’m sure you won’t like it if I start telling you what a bowstring is? If I start so, you would like to slap me on the first meet saying hey, are you kidding me?

I don’t dare so😄.

Unlike other bowstrings, the bowstring of the compound bow is different. So, it won’t be fair if I say the bowstring of a compound bow lasts for 3 years. I had written an article about it, where I discussed the lifespan of the bowstring in general. You can check how long does a bowstring last here.

As I said, the compound bow is unlike others. So, it is worth mentioning specifically how long a compound bowstring last.

In short, compound bowstrings perform better than the other bowstring. Why?

A compound bow uses an additional cord over the bowstring. Also, the compound bow uses a camshaft, which dramatically reduces the direct stress on limbs as well as on the bowstring. Besides, the strings of a modern compound bow are constituted of blended synthetic materials which are much more durable than the others.

Since the bowstrings are the least durable components in a bow, it’s implausible to expect a long lifespan.

Regardless of the short lifespan of the bows, the compound bow’s lifespan is comparatively higher thanks to its construction and material used.

So, there you have it! We can expect the compound bow to survive for 3-5 years.

Store properly. Look here, how to store a bow.

Deep Dive: How Long Does A Compound Bow Last? (Exact Answer)

how to tell if your bowstring has stretched or crept?

It’s a good question. Because if you can’t identify the differences between the original length and stretched length, it will surely rip you off in the long run.

Check out how to measure string length for your bow accurately.

I don’t think you would expect to have such a cost when you know how to avoid it.

Well, no more fancy talk. Let’s dive into how to do so.

  1. Take a measure at the beginning. [At brand new string]
  2. As each time you pull string, it gains potential energy, and thorough repeated pulling and releasing an incremental length should be noticeable. It would be best if you got that when it extends higher than usual. Retake the measure.
  3. You could also notice fuzziness on the string. If the separated strand is lower than usual, there are no worries to have. How to care about it, if you don’t know- I’ll tell you very soon.
  4. Usually, after 50-60 shots, a good amount of stretching progression happened. Archers call this term “creep.”
  5. Compare the length. Convert it into percentages using this formula. %= (Final length/Initial length) *100.
  6. I’ve inserted a chart before where you saw the breaking elongation of different fibers.
  7. Using the chart, find which fiber your bow has.
  8. Finally, compare the elongation percentage.

Now, you are all set to determine if your bow’s strings are stretched enough to change or take the necessary care to help survive it more.

In the following paragraph, you are going to learn what to do if you find your string is not stretched enough to change so that you can increase its lifespan.

Next to this section, I’ll tell you the way to properly care for your bowstring and when to replace it.

Proper Caring of Bowstring: How I Got This Amazing Result

Here you’re going to learn about most of the common reason which affects the lifespan of a bow as well as how to fix those.

Let’s know.

How To Store Bowstring: Relation Between Storing And Bowstring Lifespan

Most of the archery guys don’t know about this. Regardless you know it or not, if you can master this method inevitably, you will end up with an increased lifespan of the thread of your bow.

Want to know how?

Well, you know that many parts of the bow are fragile. One of them is undoubtedly its string. It’s never been sure when it will get broken. Necessary care, that’s why come to as an aid to solve this problem. But most of the archers’ guys only follow one single piece of advice and that is waxing on the thread. Surely it helps a lot to increase its life but most of them forget another easy but significantly effective way of caring.

This process is about storing correctly. Why do you need to store bow cable? You know, if the two ends of the wires are tied firmly holding anything. Guess what will happen then? As a result, the tightly hanging wire with the two terms will lose its strength and be looser, which will become a cause of the breaking of fiber strands from threads. In the long run, chances are the bowstring will get damaged earlier than usual.

If you can properly store the string, this risk will be minimalized.

Have a bird’s eye view of how to store bowstring.

  1. Unstring the string from the bow
  2. Tie-down the ends of the string in such a way so that thread can’t be separated while storing it.
  3. Store the string in a cylindrical-ish case. For example, you can use a toothbrush case.

Here’s the second step the heart. If you do not know to knot on the ends of the string, it will most likely become untwisted as the turns of the thread will be looser. So, make sure you didn’t skip the step while storing it.

Waxing Bow String In Proper Way: Very Few Knows This

When the thread of the bow gets fuzzy, the best practice is to wax it right away. Otherwise, the thread will likely start to separate and get damaged one by one. Don’t know how this works?

At some point in using the bowstring, they got a dryer. When it happens, the thread which is tied with one another strongly will start to open. As a result, when you’ll pull the string while shooting, the separated strands will be contracted to higher force alone. । I wouldn’t have to say the rest of what happens next.

You don’t want to let that happen. Now, a million-dollar question comes. When should I apply wax on the thread, and which way?

Well, at first, you should know that every 50-60 shots bow string get fuzzy. Although it varies on personal preferences, so I can’t tell the exact time when you should check and wax. However, when you check the thread, you should feel the dryness. Also, you can feel the separated or lousy thread.

Now that you know when you might wax the string, my turns come to tell you exactly how to apply wax on the bowstring.

  1. Clean the dirt and remove previously applied wax from the string.
  2. Use a string cleaner for 5 minutes.
  3. Wipe your bowstring off with a dry, clean, and soft cloth.
  4. Apply the wax on the naked string and restrain using it on cable serving areas.
  5. Rub the wax in the full length of the bowstring in such a manner that wax can penetrate the string.
  6. Don’t use candle wax.

How to Maintain Your Compound Bow String That Double Its Lifespan

Sounds unbelievable?

But it’s true. Yes, you can increase the lifespan of a compound bowstring if you can follow these simple steps.

  • Polish the bowstring with wax regularly.
  • Check the strings each time after using them.
  • Store the right bow way.

How To Clean Bowstring Properly?

Cleaning is an essential element of caring for the string of the bow. Why it’s important?0 How to clean bowstring? Is there any right way at all?

Let’s know it.

To keep functioning anything, you just need to clean it. Shouldn’t it?

The same goes for the bowstring. If it’s not cleaner, that means when you try to pull it, various problems might be evolved. Inevitably that will affect shooting. It might distract an arrow from the target. And the problem associated with sustainability and lifespan needn’t say.

So, you’ve got to understand why it’s essential for you to clean the strings of your bow regularly and adequately.

Its time to say what’s the best process to do so

  • Look for fuzziness, dirt, debris, and wax on the cable or string.
  • Remove wax on the strings in the first place using a strand of dental floss. It’s easy.
  • Dirt is more likely to adhere tightly. Use serving thread from the top of the strings to down to cleanout.

There you go. You should be done merely following these few steps.

When to replace the bowstring?

What if, regardless of all of the necessary precautions taken, the bowstring got damaged? Even if It got natural breakage in its age. Shouldn’t you encounter a question, “when should I replace the bowstring or when should I repair the bowstring?”

I guess from the so far read you can conceive this answer as you know the standard lifespan of a bowstring. So it explicitly determines when you should replace the string other than the unusual cases.

Yes. The unusual cases are the factor that dominates the standard performance of a bowstring and shortens its lifespan.

But how will you recognize that?

Follow the next section to get a clear answer.

How To Tell If Your bow String Needs to be Replaced?

As you are thinking about the lasting of a compound bow, there’s a very good chance that you have queries like how I know when my bowstring needs to replace.

Hey, I’m here to answer that.

8 Signs That Your Compound Bowstring Needs Maintenance

  1. Fraying
  2. Dry Bowstring
  3. Age Of Bowstring
  4. Stretched Bowstring
  5. Broken String Or Cable
  6. Separation Of Bowstring And Cable Serving
  7. Bends in the string
  8. Discrepancy In String

Let’s know these in more detail

  • Fraying

Usually, archery specialists count fraying as the most significant signal of bowstring damage. What’s fraying? Fraying is a natural breakdown of the bowstring. Fraying happens from regular friction occurred from drawing.

  • Dry Bowstring

A dry bowstring tends to damage faster. So, always make sure that your bowstring does not remain dried. You can prevent drying with a simple solution, and that is waxing string regularly.

  • Age of bowstring

Based on how long you are using the same bow can also be used as a signal to check and replace the bowstring. A general rule of thumb is you should check the string annually if you failed to detect any other sign of damage.

  • Stretched Bowstring

Bowstrings naturally stretch while drawing to store potential energy. But after a certain time, it starts to stretch more than usual. Generally, it happens after 50-60 shots.

  • Broken bowstring or cable

It’s a signal that you can physically visualize. Can’t you?

  • Separation of bowstring and cable serving

What’s the serving of a bowstring? Bowstring serving is nothing but a layer of thread that lies over the string or cable and ties the string’s fibers together.

Imagine what will happen if the serving becomes separated from the string? It would be best if you acted on this signal as soon as you notice this.

  • Bends in the string

If you find any bending on the string, this might be a significant signal of damage.

  • Discrepancy in Strands

The strand of single or multiple strands may break over time. But it signifies a potential signal of damage. If a few strands become separated, this can be a massive threat to the whole strand’s integrity.


How long does it take to string a bow?

From any local store, 10-20 minutes is fairly enough to string a bow regardless it is new or old.

How much does it cost to replace a bowstring?

It usually would take 20 bucks to replace a bowstring.

How often should you wax bowstrings?

When the thread of the bow gets fuzzy and dryer the best practice is to wax it right away.

How often do compound bow strings need to be replaced?

Traditional bowstring needs to be replaced in between 3 years. But for having some technical advantages, a compound bow can last more than 3 years. So, the strings of the compound bow are worth changing between 3 to 5 years of use.

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