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String materials :: New for 2023!

Updated: Apr 23

I originally posted an article comparing string materials 2 years ago. Here's an updated look at how these materials stack up against each other based on what is available to archers today.

Archery bow string material diagram
What has changed since 2021?
  • Brownell (while purchased by another company) seems to have disappeared from the scene and their materials are no longer available (at least in the US).

  • Bloodline (a US company) has expanded their line of materials to offer those designed for recurve as well as compound bows.

  • Correction: The original FastFlight material is equivalent to BCY's 652 Spectra material and FastFlight Plus is equivalent to BCY's 8125. That information has been corrected in the updated diagram.

In addition to the bow string material characteristics mentioned in the original article (which still hold true), here are a few other factors that should be considered in selecting your material and specifying your string build.

String material is not round

While not new information, this is pertinent to this discussion. String material is more of a flattened fiber, much like tape style dental floss. Bow string material size is measured in denier, a unit of measurement used in the fiber industry and refers to the thickness of the individual threads or filaments.

Material denier

Many archers hear about strand count and assume that 16 strands of one material is equivalent to 16 strands of another material. That is not the case as materials come in all different thicknesses. Here's how these materials stack up against each other in terms of denier:

String material denier range

The next time you are talking about a strand count, make sure you specify the material you are discussing because it makes a difference!

Example of string diameter difference with different materials

A 12 strand string made with Mercury compared with a 12 strand B55 string will have a massively different finished outer diameter. I'm pretty sure I could floss with the finished 12 strand Mercury string.

Some materials come in multiple sizes

There are quite a few materials (or material blends) that come in different sizes and are advertised under different names. Here's how these stack up:

  • SK75 Dyneema

    • BCY 8125 - 1300 denier

    • BCY D97 - 1600 denier

    • Bloodline Glory Pro - 880 denier

    • Bloodline Loyal - 1600 denier

  • SK99 Dyneema

    • BCY Mercury - 800 denier

    • BCY Mercury 2 - 1600 denier

    • Bloodline Brave 99 - 800 denier

    • Bloodline Tenacity 99 - 1600 denier

  • SK75 Dyneema + Vectran

    • BCY 452X - 1200 denier (800 SK75 + 400 Vectran)

    • BCY 450 Plus - 2350 denier

  • SK99 Dyneema + Vectran

    • BCY X99 - 1000 denier

    • BCY 454 - 1200 denier (800 SK99 + 400 Vectran)

    • Bloodline Valor 99 - 1200 denier

Strand Counts

If you're wanting to switch from one material to another and have an equivalent outer diameter for the finished string (and potentially a similar mass weight string), these denier values can come in handy.

The strand counts detailed below are based on:

  • Manufacturer strand count recommendation

  • Manufacturer denier information

  • String building experience with these materials

  • Approximate draw weight

Bow string material strand count chart based off poundage

This is meant to be a guide to use as a starting point only.

(Blended materials are not included here as I don't use them and would not be comfortable making such recommendations.)

Material treatment

Another big difference between some of the materials discussed here is how the materials are treated.

  • Waxed materials - All BCY materials are waxed. They recommend that additional wax be added to the finished string periodically to protect the fibers and increase the longevity of the string.

  • Coated materials - Bloodline and Angel Majesty materials have proprietary coatings that are meant to protect the fibers and cause a bundle of strands to hold together when burnished. They should not be waxed.

2 worn strings - 1 waxed and 1 with a waxless coating

Thus far I've not noticed a difference in how they wear.

I hope this helps with understanding of materials across manufacturers so archers can make the best choices for how they are shooting. Again I've made every effort to make sure this information is complete and accurate so you can make the best bowstring material choice. If all this is too much for you and you just want someone to tell you where to start, please contact us at OCD Strings or refer to our recommendations.

String Materials
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2 Kommentare

Sam Guiffrida
Sam Guiffrida
21. Dez. 2023

Julie, Hi am Sam Guiffrida. The owner/operator/engineer and lead bowyer of Backwoods Composites. I enjoy seeing your thoughtful information. I would like to use your chart as an example of what bow strings I will be recommending in the very near future. Could I use your image/chart as a part of my information on various Social Media outlets? I will reference where I got the information/chart from as well. Thanks for your time Sam.

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Julie Bergen
Julie Bergen
21. Dez. 2023
Antwort an

Yes! Go right ahead!

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