How to Repair Bow Strings & Cables

How to Repair Bow Strings & Cables

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Bow strings and cables must be maintained, repaired and replaced on a regular basis. The string is the heart of the bow, and without a well-conditioned string, the bow will not function properly. Many bow hunters and recreational archers are learning how to repair strings and service their own bows, because specialty shops are decreasing in number. The skills are essential for repairs in the field and in the home. Learning to fix broken strings can make or break a hunt.

Items you will need

  • Serving jig

  • Serving string

  • Cable spreader

  • String spreader

  • Scissors

  • Lighter

Replace the entire string if it is completely broken. Attempting to repair and fire a broken string can damage the bow.

Run your fingers along the strings and cables to locate damaged areas. Typically, you will see the serving string unraveling from the main string or cable. Unwind the serving string and use scissors to cut it away from the main cable.

Place a cable spreader between the two cables on compound bows. This will create enough space to wrap a new serving string and repair the damaged area. Push a string spreader through the damaged string to spread the two string segments.

Feed the new serving string through the string gap and remove the string spreader. Make several wraps over the tag end with the serving jig. Adjust the jig tension as you go to create tight wraps. Make 20 wraps for shooting with a release and up to 40 wraps for finger shooting.

Once the wraps are made, cut the string away from the jig with scissors. Leave over 1 foot of extra string and hold the string to maintain tension on the wraps. Create a loop with the excess string and use the tag end to make several wraps below the main set of wraps. Hold the loop tight below the main wraps and cover it with 10 turns of string. Pull the tag end to tighten the loop. This will create a knot and hold the string tight.

Cut the excess serving string tag end from the main bow string. Use a lighter to burn the tag flush with the wraps. Test the repaired string by firing several arrows at a target. Do not dry fire the bow, as it may cause further damage to the string.


  • Constantly inspect the bow string when preparing and practicing for a hunt. Extensive damage to the string cannot be repaired in the field and may ruin a hunt.


  • Bow strings are affordable and can be replaced quickly. If the string is worn and damaged, consider a new string to prevent damage to the bow and failure in the field.
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