Applying bowstring wax is part of regular maintenance and the main purpose is to help prolong the life of your string. It also helps keep the string together longer, maintain the number of twists in the string and protect the string from fraying and moisture.
Usually manufactured strings are purchase pre-waxed and only need to be maintained. How often depends on the amount you shoot and the condition of the string. Often you can tell if your bowstring needs waxing as small “hairs” or “fuzz” appear on your string. This happens because bowstrings are made-up of multiple strands and the fibers get dried-out and separate from regular shooting and the elements.
To re-apply bowstring wax to an existing string, apply wax to all sides of the string (avoiding the center serving) and use your fingers and rub it up and down 360 degrees of the string, this will heat the wax up so that it is able to soak into the string.
Quick Tip: You can use a piece of dental floss to spread the wax by wrapping the floss around the string once, holding both ends and dragging it up and down. Note: It has been my understanding that using leather is another option however this must be done very carefully as it can also damage the string.
For those of you who choose to make your own strings, you will need to apply bowstring wax several times before shooting the bow the first time.
Bowstring Wax is usually a silcone-based wax sold in tube form for easy application and is usually available at almost archery retailer or repair shops. Alternatively some archers use bees wax mixed with other materials to produce their own recipes. Here are a couple of recipes I found on the web include
- 2 parts beeswax to 1 part anhydrous lanolin (available from pharmacies)
- 4 parts beeswax to 1 part pine sap
- One pound of bees wax and one wax toilet ring seal, melted together
- 3 parts beeswax and 1 part coco butter
- 50% bear grease (rendered bear fat) and 50% beeswax
- 3 parts bees wax and 1 part toilet bowl wax ring.
- OR Pure bees wax needs no softening, it is perfect like it is
Proper maintenance will help keep your string in tip-top shape and tournament ready and help make a string last several years. However there are times when you should replace your string and in the next blog we will discuss string replacement.