Tutorial: Spectra Fishing Line Crossbow String

replace cheap polyester strings with more durable spectra strings

I love cheap Taiwanese crossbows and crossbow pistols. The problem is that the cheap polyester strings come unraveled fairly easily. Sure, you can buy Chinese replacements for $5 at flea markets, but I wanted to take the time and make one that will last. Note: if the following process is to in-depth for you, you can simply replace the badly done serving on a factory string after it starts to unravel.

In order to make a crossbow string from scratch you will need the following items

serving jigs

  1. section of wooden 2x2
  2. section of wooden 2x6
  3. six 6 inch pieces of 3/8" wooden dowels
  4. six thumb tacks
  5. drill and 3/8" drill bit

the strings themselves

this is a spool of 65lb spectra fishing line
  1. 65 lb Spectra fishing line (available at walmart)
  2. a bow string serving jig (available at most outdoor stores)
  3. a spool of serving string (available at most outdoor stores)
  4. bowstring wax (available at most outdoor stores)

My method requires two jigs to make bowstrings. A rectangular one required to make a continuous loop bow string and apply end servings, and a straight one to apply center serving. These need to be custom made to your particular bowstring so I will not provide exact dimensions, just guidelines for designing your own.

In order to make the loop/end serving jig, you must use the following formula L * 2 + 1 = P where L is the length of a factory string, multiply that length by two, then add one inch to get your desired perimeter. Take you section of 2x6 board and drill multiple holes in it than position the 3/8" wooden pegs into them until wrapping a string around them and measuring it yields your desired perimeter. Make sure the pegs are at least 4" a part so that you can spin your serving jig around one line without touching the other.

These are special jigs i made for creating bow strings

from left to right: serving jig, center serving jig, loop/end serving jig

Step by step instructions for making a bowstring

make 15 loops of line arround the first jig
1. Start by wrapping 15 loops of line around the rectangular jig.
apply a coat of bow string wax arround the portion you want to wrap.
2. Apply a coat of bowstring wax to four inches of the loop where strings cross over.
start the serving by wrapping the string arround it self multiple times
3. Start the serving by pressing the end of a piece of string against it, then wrapping it around repeatedly until it is tight enough to hold it self in place.
make each of these servings 2.5" long
4. When the serving gets between 2.5" and 2.75" long, its time to tie off that end.
make a large loop and wrap in the opposite direction 15 times.
5. The easiest way to tie and end to a serving is to use two thumb tacks a create a large square loop that you can fit your serving jig through. Wrap the string in the same direction as before 15-20 times.
unarap the previous loop by hand and go the opposite direction.
6. Once the wrapping is complete, remove the thumb tacks, and begin wrapping the end of the serving string to the bowstring it self.
when you have the correct number of loops, start to tighten it.
7. Once you have wrapped a number of loops in step six, equal to the number you did in step 5, you can begin to pull the string tight.
sinch the loose thread tight then snip off the loose piece.
8. Once you have pulled the string as tightly as it will go, cut it off with a razor blade or sharp scissors as close to the bowstring as possible.
repeat these steps on the opposite side of the loop.
9. After the end serving is complete, cut off the two loose strings that are pinned to the jig, and turn the entire loop so that the completed portion lies off to the die. Repeat steps 2-8 on the opposite side.
once the main loop is done, transfer it to the narrow jig.
10. When step 9 is complete, transfer the string to the longer center serving jig.
Do a serving arround the base of each end loop.
11. Using the procedure outlined in steps 2-9, serve 2" of each end loop, starting from the outboard side and moving towards the center
Apply a serving 2-3" wide in the center of the string.
12. When both ends are completed, mark off the center 3" of the bowstring for serving
apply a good coat of bowstring to all the servings once they are finished.
13. When the center serving is complete, apply a good coat of bowstring wax to it before installing it on your crossbow.
This is what a complete string looks like on a crossbow pistol.
14. The Spectra line is actually much smoother than the factor string and may actually increase power and accuracy.