Making a bowstring with a fishing line is a great way to save money on expensive bowstrings, and it’s also a great way to recycle old fishing lines that you might otherwise throw away.
What Is The Bowstring Strand?
The bowstring strand is the section of the string that connects the two ends of the bow. It’s important to choose a strong and durable material for this part of the string, as it will be under a lot of tension when the bow is in use. The fishing line is an excellent choice for this project, as it is strong and can be easily replaced if it ever snaps.
Choosing The Right Fishing Line
The first step is to choose the right fishing line. You’ll want to use a monofilament line at least 30 pounds test. The thicker the line, the stronger it will be. Avoid using a braided line, as it can be challenging to work with and doesn’t hold up well to repeated tensioning and firing.
What You’ll Need
- Fishing Line: You’ll need about 50 feet of fishing line to make a bowstring that is about 4 feet long.
- Scissors: A sharp pair of scissors cut the fishing line.
- Lighter: A lighter to melt the ends of the fishing line to prevent fraying.
- Tape Measure: You’ll need a tape measure to ensure you’re cutting the right length of the fishing line.
- Bow Square: You’ll need a bow square to help you make even loop knots in the fishing line.
- String Jig: To make a bowstring with a fishing line, you will need to use a string jig. This tool holds the fishing line in place while you braid it into a string. You can find string jigs at most sporting goods stores or online.
- Line Wax: This is optional, but it will help prolong your bowstring’s life.
- Marker And Paper: This is optional, but it can help to have a marker and paper handy to keep track of the knots you make in the fishing line.
Once you have all of your materials, it’s time to get started!
Making The Bow String
Determine The Bowstring Strand: The number of strands you will use in your bow string is determined by the type of string material you are using and the weight of your bow. Heavier bows require more strands to support the additional weight and stress. For example, a 40-50 lb. bow would use eight strands of fishing line, while a 70-80 lb. bow would use 12 strands.
Set Up The String Jig: To set up the jig, start by wrapping the fishing line around one of the posts. Make sure the line is wrapped snugly but not so tight that it’s difficult to move.
Next, take the other end of the line and wrap it around the other post, making sure to cross over the first wraps. Again, make sure that the wraps are snug but not too tight.
Take the end of the line and bring it back to the first post. Wrap it around the post a few times, then cut the excess cord. It would be best if you now had a secure loop on each post.
To start braiding:
- Take the strand on the left and bring it over the center strand.
- Take the strand on the right and get it over the new center strand.
- Continue this pattern until you have reached the end of the line.
When you reach the end of the line, take a moment to examine your work. The braid should be tight and even, with no loose strands sticking out. If everything looks good, you can move on to the next step.
Finish The Braid: To finish the braid, take the end of the line and thread it through the loop on the jig. Then, pull the end of the line until the braid is snug against the jig.
Next, use a lighter to melt the end of the line. Be careful not to overdo it, or you could damage the braid. Once the end is melted, use a pair of pliers to pinch it closed.
Finally, cut off any excess line and apply line wax if desired.
The final step is to install a nocking point on the bow string. This is simply a knot or other marker around the line to indicate where the arrow should be placed.
A simple method is to tie a slip knot in the center of the bowstring. To do this, make a loop in the center of the bowstring and thread the end of the fishing line through the loop. Then, pull on the end of the line to tighten the knot.
Once you have installed the nocking point, your bow string is complete!
Number Of Strands and Bow Draw Weight Relation
The number of strands in the bowstring will directly affect the bow’s draw weight. A heavier draw weight will require more strands in the string, while a lighter draw weight can be achieved with fewer strands.
|Bow Weight||Number of Strands (recurve bows)|
Checking The Quality Of Your Bow String
- Before you use your new bowstring, it’s important to check its quality. To do this, hold the string in your hand and give it a few good tugs. If the string breaks or frays, it’s not up to par and should be replaced.
- You can also check the quality of your bow string by attaching it to your bow and shooting a few arrows. If the string breaks while you’re shooting, it’s not up to par and should be replaced.
Tips For Storing Your Bow String
- When not using your bowstring, it’s essential to store it properly to prevent it from tangling or fraying. The best way to do this is to wrap the string around a piece of cardboard or a dowel rod and then place it in a plastic bag.
- It’s also a good idea to regularly inspect your bow string for signs of wear and tear. If you notice any fraying or damage, replace the line as soon as possible.
Fishing Line Alternatives
While the monofilament fishing line is the most commonly used material for making bowstrings, it’s not the only option. Here are a few other materials that can be used to create a bowstring:
- Plant fiber: Plant fiber can be used to make a bow string, but it’s not as durable as other materials.
- Dacron: Dacron is a synthetic fiber that is often used to make fishing lines. It’s strong and durable, making it an excellent choice for bowstrings that will see a lot of use.
- Nylon: Nylon is a durable material used to make a bowstring. It’s not as strong as Dacron, but it’s more elastic, meaning it will store more energy when shooting.
- Spider Silk: Spider silk is one of the most potent natural fibers in the world. It’s also very elastic, making it an excellent choice for bowstrings. However, spider silk can be challenging to obtain and is therefore not as commonly used as other materials.
- Animal Hide: The animal hide can be used to make a bowstring, although it’s not as strong as synthetic fibers like Dacron or nylon.
- Sinew: Sinew is the tough, fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone. It’s powerful, making it a good choice for a makeshift bowstring. However, sinew can be challenging to obtain.
How Many Strands Should Be Needed To Make A Bowstring?
The number of strands you need to make a bowstring will depend on the type of fishing line you’re using.
- For example, if you’re using a monofilament fishing line, you’ll need four strands.
- Using a braided fishing line, you’ll need six strands.
How To Measure The Correct Length For Your Bowstring?
- Add the total length of your bow (from tip to tip) to the draw length of your bow.
- Divide this number by 2, then add 6″ to account for the loops at each end of the string.
- This is the approximate length of your string should be.
How Often Should I Replace My Bowstring?
Ideally, it would help if you replaced your bow string every 1-2 years. However, if you use your bow frequently, you may need to replace it more often.
Making a bow string is a relatively simple process that can be done at home with just a few tools and materials. You can make a high-quality bow string that will serve you well for many years.