bow maintenance

How to wax a bowstring

Waxing your bowstring is one of the most important maintenance tasks ahead of any compound bow owner wanting to keep his/hers equipment in good shape. It’s really easy to do and with the few simple tips below you’ll be able to do it yourself. Waxing should be done frequently to extend the lifespan of the string. Some people do it every time after an outdoor session. A general rule of thumb is to wax the bowstring once every two weeks or whenever you see hairs on the string indicating separation of the fibers.

Before waxing you should clean the bowstring to remove dirt and prevent it from penetration inside the string with the wax. You can do this by applying a string cleaner onto the string and letting it do its job for about 5 minutes. Afterwards you wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth.

Once the bowstring if free from dust and dirt you can apply a bowstring wax. DO NOT USE CANDLE WAX or BEESWAX! Only a special, silicone based can be used for this. It does not have to be a high dollar wax, you will get one for $5-$15 (very popular are Allen’s Wax and Scorpion Venom).

Apply wax only on the naked string, not on the cables and serving areas of the string. Use your fingers to rub the wax into the string. It has to penetrate inside the bowstring.
See a video demonstration of bowstring waxing below:


  • Waxing the bowstring extend the lifespan of the string and prevents damage of the bow caused by string snapping;
  • Never use candle wax on the bowstring as instead of protecting it, the chemicals from candle wax may digest the fibers of the bowstring;
  • Do not wax the serving area of the string as it is not needed and will cause dirt buildup on the cams.
bow maintenance

Maintenance of a Compound Bow

Modern compound bow if conserved properly can serve you for many years without even a minor failure. In fact if you treat it well it is much more likely it will become outdated before it wears out. Below are few simple tips and tricks you can do keep it in great shape and enjoy it for years to come.

Waxing the bowstring

Application of a special wax to your bowstring is going to greatly extend the lifespan of the strong as well as reduce the chance of its breakage (this may destroy the bow). The substances present in the wax are design to penetrate inside the string and lubricate it. When drawing a bow the individual fibers inside the string rub against each other which causes wear of the string. Lubrication can significantly reduce this process.
It’s very important to use only special waxes designed for bowstrings. Beeswax or candlewax have opposite effect and their application can damage your equipment so do not use them! A quality wax is only $5 – $15 and will last for long. Good examples of high quality waxes are Allen’s Wax and Scorpion Venom.
The wax should be applied every 2-4 weeks. In the period of heavy use this can be done even every week.

Change the bowstring regularly

Even if well maintained and regularly waxed the bowstring will eventually wear out. If it brake it may damage the bow and cause harm to the shooter. Therefore it should be replaced once every three years or, if in heavy use, once every 2500 shots.

When squeaks use designated lubricants

Sometimes, especially after your bow gets in contact with water, some elements start squeaking when moved. This usually happens with axes and is caused by lubricants being washed out by water or buildup of dirt. Applying special lubricants will help eliminate squeaking. Do not however use WD-40 or similar lubricants as this may destroy the axes.

Dampness will do no good

The place where you store your equipment has great impact on its future performance and longevity. Keeping a compound bow in a humid environment for a prolonged period of time will inevitably lead to its corrosion and make it inoperable. Therefore make sure that you store your bow in a dry place.

Inspect your bow regularly

As with all mechanical devices some parts of your bow will wear and some will become loose over time. It is crucial to perform a regular check on your bow and apply suitable adjustments or repairs. In most cases a simple tightening of loose elements can eliminate a problem and prevent costly damage.

Visit a professional service store if needed

If you don’t know how to fix something yourself or don’t have adequate tools visit a professional serviceman. This is especially important with using a bow press. If you are not sure which press to use and how to use it do not risk damaging your riser and limbs.

Keep the cams synchronized

If using a two cam bow make sure that the cams are synchronized. You can easily check if the cams are synchronized by watching them while drawing the bow. Both cams should reach the let-off position simultaneously. If they are not then you need to adjust the buss cables. Asynchronized cams affect bow draw length, poundage, lifespan of the bow and your comfort when using the bow.

Never dry fire a compound bow

Dry firing a compound bow is very likely to destroy your bow. Riser, bowstring, limbs and cams are often damaged after doing so. Therefore do not test the bow without an arrow. It is also not a good idea to let your mates that never held a bow in their hands to draw it without an arrow. They may be able to draw it but while letting down the string the increased force will surprise them and they will let go destroying the bow.

Check for ice buildups before shooting

In the US the deer hunting season is in the winter. Very often after hours in the woods ice will accumulate over your bow. Drawing a bow with frozen string may cause the bowstring to snap. The ice covering cams and around the cams may dislocate the bowstring from the groove of the cam/wheel as they roll causing damage to the bow. Therefore before firing in the winter make a visual inspection of your bow.