It can be intimidating ordering your first custom bow string. There are a lot of details you may be asked about that you had never considered. When ordering a custom string it's essential that you provide accurate information about your bow and how you shoot. Hopefully this can help you order with confidence. This will cover:
Your nocks (that will attach to the string)
Your brace height (and how to adjust it)
For your riser you'll need to provide length, make and model. Example: 25" Hoyt Arcos
If you want to verify the length of your riser you can measure the overall length.
It's usually an odd number and the lengths are in 2" increments.
Standard riser lengths are 23", 25", 27". While there are other sizes out there these are the most common.
For your limbs you'll need to provide the length, poundage, make, and model. Example: Medium 28 lbs Hoyt Carbon Integra
Limb length can be a bit confusing as there are 2 different ways they are labelled. The common lengths are:
short (or 66")
medium (or 68")
long (or 70")
While some manufacturers use short, medium, and long on their lables, others mark limbs with an overall bow length measurement in inches that assumes they will be used with a 25" riser. That's not to say those limbs can only be used with that length riser, but that's just how they label them. Those limbs will be labelled as 66", 68", 70".
The sample limb labels shown here all represent 28 lb medium limbs. Some include the overall bow length and draw weight if they were used on a 23" riser also.
These labels will also say top/upper or bottom/lower to show how they should be attached to the riser. The bow should be put together in this way every time it's assembled.
For those who are not familiar, the nock is the plastic piece on the end of the arrow that attaches to the string. The information your string builder will need is the make, model, and throat size of the nock. Example: Easton small groove G nock
A nock will typically have 2 different measurements.
The size arrow shaft they will fit into. This is typically in mm. An Easton G nock, for example, is 4mm. While this is great information for figuring out which nocks can be used with which arrows, it's not the info needed to build you a custom string.
The other is the groove size that will fit onto the string. These are usually labelled as small or large groove. The Easton G nock, for example, comes in both a small groove and a large groove. Some models only have one groove size. Unfortunately "small groove" and "large groove" are not standardized across the different manufacturers so it's important to provide all the nock information and not just the groove size.
If you have trouble identifying your nocks, ask your coach or check out our nock identification guide.
The brace height is the distance from the pivot point of the bow to the string at rest.
Your string will come with twists in it. You can customize your brace height by:
adding twists shortens the string and increases the brace height
removeing twists lengthens the string and decreases the brace height
Most manufacturers have a recommended brace height range but you can work with your coach to fine tune this setting. Once you set your brace height it's important to keep the twists and not let the string unwind (losing twists) when you unstring the bow. Make sure to secure the end loops together to prevent losing twists when the bow is disassembled.
If you have spent time tuning your bow and there is particular brace height you know works for your bow, you can measure the length of the string set up with that brace height and order that exact same length for your next string.
Your shooting style
The most common shooting styles are:
Olympic recurve - This is a recurve bow that has a clicker, sight, and stabilizers. It's the style archery done in the Olympic games.
Barebow - This is done with the same recurve bow as Olympic Recurve, but without the clicker, sight, and stabilizers. Plungers are used with both styles.
Longbow - A single piece or takedown bow that forms a D shape when strung. It has no recurve shape to the limbs.
Compound - A shorter bow that has wheels or cams that assist with reducing the draw weight at full draw. Becuase of this let-off these bows are preferred for hunting so they can be held at full draw for longer periods of time.
Why does the shooting style matter for ordering a string? The different styles may use different shooting techniques that benefit from different materials and may have different rules for competition. Include this information in your custom order and the best materials can be used for how you shoot.