Stringing a Bow 101

Do you remember the scene during the Homers epic play the Odyssey where Odysseus comes home after a very what could be called a tiresome journey to find his house full of suitors vying for the hand of his wife.  Now these suitors have to pass a test, in which they must string Odysseus bow and then shoot and arrow through a dozen axe heads.  Now the hard part of this test would seem to be the shooting of the arrow through the axe heads, but none of the suitors can even get that far.  They are stuck on just getting Odyssey's bow strung which none of these strong, manly men can do.  Then Odysseus steps up, strings the bow in one smooth motion and proceeds to shoot the arrow though the axe heads.

Odysseus use of superior technique and intelligent use of leverage he does something that all those other men couldn't.  While I do not know exactly what technique he would have used to string his bow I do know what I do to wrestle that string into the place on my hand-made bows.


Step 1 Step 1Credit: personal photo

Place your left foot behind the tip of the bottom limb of the bow like shown in the picture.



Step 2Credit: Personal Photo




Step 2 

Then place your left knee on the belly of the bow and brace the limb between your left foot and your left knee.






Step 3

Step 3Credit: personal photo


With the bottom limb firmly braced by your left leg reach up with your right hand to a point just below where the top loop of the string is resting.  This will usually be around four inches below the top nock of the bow.






Step 4Credit: personal photoStep 4 

With your left leg and right hand slowly being to bend the bow by pushing the bottom limb of the bow towards your other knee and by pushing the top limb with your right hand in the opposite direction.  

 Step 4Credit: personal photo








Step 5Credit: Personal PhotoStep 5

With the bow now being bent take your left hand and slip the string loop up towards the nock at the top of the bow.  Once you have the string set in the nock release pressure on the limbs slowly to make sure the nock is holding the string correctly.  


Well there you have it, providing the bow hasn't broken itself  in half like my first hand-made bow did you have successfully strung a traditional bow.  This technique is very easy to do once you get the hang of it and looks pretty smooth if want to show off.






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