How To Unstring A Recurve Bow | Tips & Guides

How To Unstring A Recurve Bow

Unstringing a recurve bow can help to preserve the life of your bow. It also makes transporting and storing your bow easier when you don’t need it. Unstring the bow before long-term storage to reduce stress on the limbs and enhance their performance over time. It’s a helpful practice for maintaining the bow’s condition. With a few simple steps, learning How To Unstring A Recurve Bow is easy. 

Understanding the Recurve Bow

Before you start unstringing your recurve bow, it’s essential to understand its components. The limbs are the two arms of the bow that store energy when drawn. The riser is the centre part of the bow and connects with the stems. It also has a shelf where you can attach an arrow rest. Finally, there’s a string that connects all the parts. 

When to Unstring a Recurve Bow

It would help if you unstrung your recurve bow when it’s not in use or when you need to transport it. It will help reduce the stress on the limbs and keep them in good working order. You should also unstring the bow if you plan on storing it for an extended period. It will help preserve its life and ensure that it performs well when you need it. 

Necessary Equipment

There are a few items you’ll need to unstring your recurve bow. First, you’ll need to get some leather gloves. These will help protect your hands from the string. They reduce the risk of injury while unstringing it. You’ll also want to have a bow stringer, as this will make the process much easier. Finally, you may need a few Allen wrenches to adjust the limb tension. 

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Unstring a Recurve Bow

Step 1: Choosing a Suitable Location

Before unstringing your recurve bow, ensure you are in a suitable environment. Choose a flat surface with no obstructions and plenty of room to work. It’s best to unstring your bow outdoors where you have more space and can reduce the risk of damaging it. 

Step 2: Removing Accessories and Arrows

Before unstringing the recurve bow, remove any attached accessories like sights or stabilisers. It prevents possible damage to accessories during unstringing. If arrows are in your quiver, take them out and store them separately for safety. Handling any bow requires caution and respect.

Step 3: Proper Stance and Bow Orientation

Before starting the unstringing process:

  1. Have the correct stance and orient the bow.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hold the bow vertically, with the string facing you and the riser in your left hand. The bow should be about waist height – this is the safest and most efficient way to unstuff it. 

Step 4: Placing the Bowstring

Place the bowstringer’s larger loop over the top limb of the bow, ensuring it’s secure and snug. The smaller bowstring loop should go over the bottom limb’s tip. Ensure you seat the bow’s string well in the grooves of the bow’s limbs. Proper placement is vital for both the operator’s safety and equipment protection. The improper placement could lead to injury or damage. 

Step 5: Applying Even Pressure to Unstring the Bow

Now, step on the middle of the bow stringer with both feet shoulder-width apart for stability. Pull upwards on the riser of the bow, applying even pressure. As you do this, the bow’s limbs flex downwards, loosening the string. Slide the string of the top limb of the bow, ensuring to maintain control of the bow at all times. 

Step 6: Checking for Proper Unstringing

After removing the string from the top limb:

  1. Lower the bow towards the ground to release pressure on the riser.
  2. Remove your feet from the bow stringer and take it off the bow.
  3. Inspect the bowstring – it should be completely detached from both limbs. If it is not, repeat the previous steps.
  4. Store the unstrung bow and string in a safe, dry place away from direct sunlight. 

Alternative Methods for Unstringing

Also, to the steps outlined above, there are other methods you can use to unstring your recurve bow. One popular way is to tie a simple piece of rope around both limbs. Then, you pull on the rope until you loosen the string enough to slip it off the top limb. An alternative option is using a bow unbending tool. These tools are designed to make unstringing your bow easier and faster. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When unstringing your recurve bow, there are several common mistakes to avoid. One common mistake is not removing accessories from the bow. This oversight can cause damage or lead to injury for you or others. Another common mistake is not using a bow stringer. Skipping this step can result in uneven string tensioning, affecting your shots’ accuracy. Finally, never rush the process – take your time and make sure you are following the steps to ensure safety. 

Maintaining the Bowstring

To unstring your bow, it is also essential to maintain the bowstring. It will help extend its life and ensure that it performs well when you need it. Inspect the string before each use and check for any wear or damage. If there are signs of wear, replace the string immediately. Waxing the string will help keep it in good condition and protect it from the elements. 

Storing the Bow 

Finally, it is essential to store your bow when not in use. Before holding the bow, unstring it and remove all accessories. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to maintain its condition. It prevents limb warping or cracking from extreme temperatures or humidity. Also, cover the bow with a cloth or blanket to protect it from dirt and dust. 


Should you Unstring a recurve bow?

For several reasons, it is essential to unstring your recurve bow when not in use. Removing the string helps protect it from dirt and other elements that can cause damage over time.

Does it hurt to leave a recurve bowstrung?

It is not recommended to leave a recurve bow strung for long periods. Doing so weakens the string and limbs, making them negatively impact performance. It may lead to potential injury while shooting. 

Should I twist my recurve bow string?

Twisting the string of a recurve bow enhances accuracy by keeping it centred during shooting. However, turning the string is an advanced technique. It’s best to practice with an unstrung bow before attempting this method. 

Can you Unstring a compound bow?

Unstringing a compound bow is more complex than unstringing a recurve bow. Unstringing a compound bow is only recommended if you have the proper equipment and experience. The intricate design of a compound bow, with its system of cables and pulleys, makes it a more difficult task. 


Unstringing a recurve bow is easy, but you should always do it carefully and respectfully. Following the correct steps, How To Unstring A Recurve Bow and How to Maintain your Bowstring will ensure safety and equipment longevity. These practices will benefit you for years to come. You can enjoy shooting your recurve bow for years with the proper care and attention. Happy shooting! 

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