Archery | Should I Unstring My Bow?

Archery | Should I Unstring My Bow?

Here's another very common question – should I unstring my bow when I'm not using it? This can be surprisingly confusing, because you may get conflicting advice, depending on your source, and there's a reason for this. Many people want to leave their bow strong – it's convenient if they use it frequently, some people want to display it on a rack. Now, others obviously have to take it down because of transportation, but that's different. This is looking at whether it's safe or not to keep your bow strung. The answer you probably hear most often is 'no, you shouldn't keep the bow strung'. The reason for this makes sense – when you string the bow, the limbs are placed under tension. Over time, this can cause the limbs to 'set', that means, over time the limbs will keep the shape in which they're strung. This causes the limbs to become stiffer, and they will lose their flex. This effectively makes the limb unusable. This degradation may be accelerated by storage in poor conditions, such as warm and humid storage areas. These storage areas can also cause delamination, when the layers of the wood inside the limb begin to separate, and in that case ,the bow is basically unrepairable. You may also find that bows which have been stored improperly, may have warped limbs. That means the limbs have lost their shape, and the string no longer sits in the limb correctly. Now, this can be rectified if it's a minor warp, you can apply heat to the limb and twist it back into shape, but if the warping's severe, then that too is beyond fixing. For these reasons, you'll often be told to store it in a cool dry place, and that makes absolute sense. However, there is something missing in this advice – it's actually kind of outdated. Now, this applies strongly to older bows which are all wood. I imagine the reason why this advice gets passed around a lot is because 1) it's very old common wisdom, and 2) a lot of people find these old bows stowed away in someone's garage or basement or attic, and they've gone through a lot of damage because of improper storage. If you have an all wood bow, then it actually is quite important that you store it correctly and you unstring it. If you have a slightly newer bow, with wood and fibreglass, then these are less susceptible to long term damage. If you're using a very modern limb, with composite layers of carbon and synthetic foam, then you can basically leave this strung forever, and nothing will happen to it. On that note, I get a lot of questions about durability. People ask: 'Is this bow durable?' 'Is this model good?' 'How long will it last?', 'Will it break?' and so on. Fair enough, people don't want to invest big money into a bow which may break within a few months. Durability is something that is not measured for bows – you don't measure a bow based on how many thousand arrows it shoots. A bow is designed to last. Even a basic wooden recurve will last you your lifetime. You can even dry fire a bow like this hundreds of times, and nothing will happen to it. DON'T DO IT!! Point being, if you're using a modern recurve, you can in fact keep it strung, and no harm will come to it. On the other hand, if you're using an older recurve, then you should unstring it when not in use. On that note, there are some general tips you should keep in mind when storing your bow – If you keep your bow strung, avoid putting pressure on the limb – if you stand your bow upright against something, this puts pressure on the bottom limb, and this may cause the limb to warp over time. If you're displaying the bow on a rack, then you can hold it by the riser either this way, or this way, that's completely fine. You can in fact put it on hooks that hold the string like this – the weight of the bow itself is not enough to put the bow under tension, so you're not adding undue stress. If you're storing it in a rack in a clubhouse for example, you can put it on a hook, and loop it through the top limb like that, and that's completely fine. Again, the weight of the bow isn't enough to bend the limb under tension. And of course, keep the bow in a cool dry place. It's a bad idea to leave your bow in the back of your car, especially in extreme weather. Over long periods of time, that will cause long term damage to your bow. That said, even if you have a modern bow, it doesn't hurt to unstring it. It only takes a few seconds to string, or unstring it, and that way you have peace of mind, especially knowing that no one's going to pick your bow up and dry fire it. Anyway, this is NUSensei, hope you found this helpful. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time.

32 Replies to “Archery | Should I Unstring My Bow?”

  1. my bow is a traditional recurve (not a takedown) and it has fiberglass laminate limbs. i unstring it if i will not be shooting for a week or more. will it be okay if i don't do that?

  2. Thanks for the advise cunt, kept my bearpaw mongolian horsebow (fiberglass) strung for about a week and the poundage has dropped from 35 to 30 pounds๐Ÿ–•

  3. I have never done archery in my life life and got given a cheap recurve bow from china.. with your videos I learned so much as a beginner.. cheers

  4. In relation to bow maintenance what if you have a very expensive laminated bow and you constantly take it outside in the cold like 20 degrees and after usage you bring it back to your 70 degree apartment, will that temperature fluctuation affect they bow. I could understand someone asking this if they have a $500+ bow.

  5. As a total beginner, most of this is common sense to me coming from the perspective of a guitarist… If a guitar will go unused, you take off the strings and loosen tension on the truss rod. And for modern composite bows vs all wood bows, it makes sense, because the neck of my main fretless bass, which has graphite rods in it, hasn't shifted for years.

  6. In your final conclusion of leaving newer bows strung, did that include bows like the sand Samick Sage, Mandarin and things of that nature which use both fiberglass and wood laminate or was that more exclusive to the Target specific style bow limbs?

  7. I have been storing my compound bow by hanging it on a nail from the wheel bracket for years and years, and it's never caused any problems. Is that advice about how to hang it specific to traditional bows, recurves and such?

  8. Thank you so much for this. I have a modern hybrid bow and get told to unstring it. And to not place it on a hook grapping onto the string. I'll be coming back to this video over and over for reassurance.

  9. Does the Polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) material count as a modern limb, and if so should I keep it strung?

  10. 1) Is it ok to leave the slack string on the bow limbs? 2) Is it ok to lean the unstrung bow against the wall?

  11. So how about a biocomposite bow , usually hard to string and made from laminated sinew and horn for example Korean traditional bow

  12. You can dry fire this bow 100's of times and nothing will happen….DONT DO IT! Never laughed so hard while learning!

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