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11 Steps to Maintaining Your Compound Bow | With Tips & FAQs

compound bow maintenance
Written by Erik Himmel

compound bow. Once you are willing to exhibit what you have learned, you can make out time for fixing, cleaning, and general maintenance.  With the following tips, you will increase the longevity and performance of your bow within a short frame of time. Your best compound bow will be in its best condition for years.

How to Maintain a Compound Bow: Step-by-Step

1. Examine Your Bow Regularly

It is essential to take out time and inspect the bow, check out regular wear or damages. If you observe a strange vibration or sound at the process of inspecting or shooting, it is logical to check and find out why that is happening.

Most time damages result from little irregularity, but with time, if it’s given less attention, it escalates into something serious. And what you once thought was just a noise ends up becoming a fractured limb.

Remember the adage “A stitch in time saves nine.” This implies that a quick fix will solve the “big problem,” which will end up attracting more time, resources, and energy.

2. Check your Cables & Bowstrings

Run a check on the cable and bowstring regularly.  And if you spot out any form of wear or damage, then carry out the necessary replacement.

Usually, the replacement of cables and strings should be done within 12 -18 months of interval or after 2,500 shots.  Doing this will help regulate the performance of the bow.

3. Wax the Strings When Needed

Use bowstring wax on the cables and string. If the bow is used regularly, this can be done in a weekly interval. But if the bow is used less frequently, the wax should be applied once or twice a month.

Avoid rubbing the wax too hard, and make sure the wax used has a soft nature. Remember, excessive friction can generate heat that can damage the entire cable.

4. Avoid Dry Firing

“Dry fire” should be avoided as much as possible, avoid shooting a compound bow that has no arrow placed in it. If you miss fire without an arrow or dry fire accidentally, check out potential damages on the bow, run a check on the limb and ensure it is crack and wear-free.

5. Sync It Before Shooting

The cams of your compound bow have to be synchronized for the bow to fire appropriately.

The location of your bow’s cams can also influence the draw length, timing, and the bow’s ability to store energy.  If the cams you’re using are not in line, then it is possible to struggle while aiming, or have your arrow fall before the expected point. This can also be a significant factor that leads to bowstring failure.

You should have your cams rotated to the let-off point, once the bow is fully drawn. If both cams are not in the same position, this is a clear sign you need to adjust one of the cables.

If you’re a beginner and lacks the required skills to regulate the cable, then it’s essential you seek the attention of an expert. Most importantly, make sure both cams are in good working condition.

6. Maintain the Draw Length

Don’t extend the string beyond its limits. Remember Hooke’s law? Your compound bowstring won’t be an exception either. Excessive stress on the cables will only lead to breaks before a stipulated time.

Examine the cable to spot out cracks or dents. Spotting out small dents can be normal, but if the dent becomes deep or too many, then this can cause the cable to snap out within a couple of weeks or months.

7. Keep Away from Excessive Heat

Keep the bow away from extreme heat. Direct exposure to excessive heat will lead to a failed limb or a break in the cable or string material. Excess exposure to heat can lead to unnecessary stretch on the cable and cause them to weaken beforehand.

8. Keep It Well Lubricated

Lubricate the axles; this is a sure way to help your cable run swiftly.  This time around, you will have to use quality lube without using a cleaning agent. The lubricant used will ensure the cables and cams are moving smoothly. If this is in place, you can quickly draw back the string with less friction.

If you’re using a bow which cams are made with needle bearings, then you don’t need to oil it. Oiling could lead to a breakdown on the packaged grease, and this can damage the bow.

9. Tuning Your Bow

One of the best-rated ways to check a bow that functions appropriately is paper tuning, and running a check on the level by which arrows are flying true.  Here is how to go about this.

  • Place a paper piece to the frame of the bow in a manner that you can fire through
  • Stand eight feet from the position of the paper
  • Use a good form and shoot your arrow across the paper
  • Observe the outcome
  • Regulate the bow when necessary and carry out the process again

Using this procedure will allow you to observe the tear or hole that was created by the arrow on your paper. The degree of the tear will give you the information needed on how to go further with the adjustments on the bow.

Let’s take, for instance, if you observed the tear too long downwards or upwards, you would need to carry out some adjustment on the bow’s nocking point. If the crack is long to the left or right direction, then it’s possible you have a problem with the timing.

Once you’re done tuning, you will have a straight, clean hole on the surface of the paper, signifying a well-tuned bow.

10. Store in a Cool & Dry Place

A place to store the bow is important since the equipment is used once in a while. It should be placed in a dry place with optimum temperature. We recommend locking it up with the container or its designated bag. Avoid exposing the bow to elements and make sure the entire surface is adequately dried off before storing it. Exposing the bow to moisture leads to bending the wrap found on its surface.

Use silica gel on the surface of the bow, if you intend to keep moisture away. Silica gel absorbs moisture; this makes it a perfect choice to use if you intend to keep moisture off the bow’s surface.

11. Get an Annual Inspection Done by a Pro

Compound bows are perfect examples of a mechanical device. It has a different part; as a result, maintenance can most time be complicated, especially if you are starting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bow for a woman or a man, you’ve got to inspect it regularly.

While regular check and predictive and preventive maintenance can help secure your bow shape, however, it is still important that you carry out periodic inspection and proper service, and this should be done by a professional. Seek the attention of an expert for appropriate inspection and maintenance, at least once in a year.

Professionals are known to have years of experience; they can bring in their wealth of experience and spot out potential problems and get them fixed before it leads to something bigger.

Tips to Getting Optimal Performance from Your Bow

Below are two tips to have in mind when carrying out maintenance on your bow.

  • Ensure single use: As humans, we have different levels of energy; this applies to the way we also handle a bow. When you shoot your compound bow often, the string becomes confirmed to a specific level of stress it undergoes by the level of energy exerted on it. On the other hand, if the bow is shared with someone else, it can lead to damage due to a change in the level of force used on the string.
  • Bows are outgrown: it is important to review your child’s archery equipment to make sure it fits them correctly; this is yet another means to maintain and ensure safety while using a bow.
  • The Bottomline: All that is required is a couple of minutes to run a check and carry out proper maintenance and ensure your bow is functioning at its peak at the time it’s needed.

Although maintenance will depend on how often the bow is used. Always remember, time investing in maintenance is never wasted since it will save you the stress of “Stitching Nine.”

FAQ

1.  How much does it cost to restring a compound bow?

A. On average, it cost $20, although the process might be a bit expensive if you had to visit someone with more experience. And don’t forget, better qualities come at a better price. In the end, you might pay above $120 -$150 for a professional restring.

2. How to tell if your bowstring is bad?

A. Check out fiber separations, dry conditions, or fuzzy texture by running your fingers upward and downward. If you observe the bow appearing a bit fuzzy or dry, use enough bowstring wax on the spot until it is properly absorbed over the surface. Afterward, re-inspect for damage or wear signs. If you know how your compound bow works, this will be easy for you to identify any issues.

About the author

Erik Himmel

A Part-Time Firearm Instructor

Hi, this is Erik. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 15+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed. My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

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