Tip for when using your bow stringer

This is a quick tip which came about from a coaching session last weekend.
Saturday I was working with some new archers, who were very keen to try out their brand new bows. There is always something special about having you own bow, doubly so when it is your first one. They had bought bows, arrows, quivers everything they needed and were assembling the bows ready to hit the range. The only problem was their stringers kept slipping on the upper limbs.
This is something I have seen loads of times before and is a common problem especially if the bows are at all wet or the archer is less experienced in stringing bows. The archers put the stringer pocket on the lower limb and loop on the top one, go to stand on the loop and lift the bow. The problem is the loop on the upper limb slips down towards the centre of the bow.
Most stringers have a leather or rubber section in the upper loop to grip the bow limb, but I’ve noticed that they aren’t always that good. This is true of whether they are string or nylon webbing sort. Some just don’t offer that much of a grip to the bow, being either too small or smooth.
example of a webbing stringer

Example of a webbing stringer with a small stitched in pad

string or rope stringer pad

Example of a string or rope stringer pad which is pretty smooth

So this is where the tip comes in.
You can use a piece of something like slip-A-grip to go over the sewn in grip. You might recall I wrote an article on this stuff ages back title Don’t lose your grip for cheap arrow pullers etc. It is a open weave material with a rubber or plastic coating which offers the user greater traction. I use it a lot in my motorhome for the cupboard shelves to plates and stuff moving round. You can buy it from pound shops or any decent super market, I got mine from Lakeland.
Using this material offers a greater grip on the limb, so the stringer is less likely to slip when under tension as you string the bow. You still have to be careful and take your time but does help a bit.
example of a webbing stringer with grip fabric

example of a webbing stringer with grip fabric

I’ve used the same material to patch up an old stringer where the grips worn off as shown in the pictures below.

Old worn stringer

I then added some grip material, securing with some waxed string so doesn’t move. I’ve used this stringer for over 8 years and for 3 years with this material on it, so I know it works. It wears out after a while but is easy to replace and I find it gives me more confidence in using the stringer as I know it is unlikely to move or slip even in wet conditions.
stringer with grip

Same stringer with grip material

I hope you find this of use and thanks for reading.

Drawing arrows – sounds simple, but is it?

How to draw an arrow, surely that is pretty easy? Just grab it, pull and out it pops. Simple right, after all it is one of the first things you learn when you start archery. Isn’t it?
Back in 2012 (yes I have been writing this blog that long !!) I wrote an entry on the method of drawing arrows and following a few discussions I thought I might revisit it along with providing an update for it.
As with everything there are numerous ways to accomplish a task. Some will be the right or preferred way and no doubt there are several wrong ways to do things. Just look on YouTube and you’ll see a dozen different views. This is the same with pulling arrows from the target, whether this be a 3D or foam boss. In this post I am going to go through the process I recommend to my students when they start.
So before I start I’d like to remind you these are my views and personal advice.
There are a few things to remember before you draw arrows.
  1. First off, its important that all archers whether newbies or experienced get to  see where their shots have landed in the target. If nothing else it provides them with feedback on how they are doing.
  2. Check it is okay for you to draw the arrows as some archers prefer to draw their own arrows.
  3. If in a competition, ensure those scoring have finished noting down the results. In fact you shouldn’t touch any arrows until the scorers have marked the score cards. Most organisations have this in their rules as it prevents arguments over whether the arrow was scoring before being touched.
  4. Make sure no one is standing in a location that they may be hit by the arrow as you draw back.
I must admit to cringing sometimes when I see archers pull arrows. Some people grab them and just pull without considering what might happen or could go wrong. I’ve seen carbon arrows snap in an archers hand, slicing their finger open or wooden arrows bending into a banana or snap as someone is a little over zealous when drawing them. So my first tip is slow down.
Drawing arrows badly

Drawing arrows badly

When it comes to actually removing the arrow from the target, then can I suggest the following.
Never grab the arrow from the end by the nock and fletching as shown in the picture, as it may well result in a bent or worse still broken arrow. You often see archers pull arrows like this because they are unaware of the potential problems that might occur, especially with wooden arrows. Maybe they are used to drawing carbon arrows that are more resilient than wooden ones. The thing is any arrow can break and I’ve seen more serious injuries when carbon arrows break than any other. I’ve also seen several annoyed archers when they see their prized wooden arrows snap because of a lack of care.
Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with carbon arrows, but you need to remember whether carbon, wood or metal,the material can brake. When carbon breaks it can result in razor sharp edges.
The other thing to consider is you don’t know if the arrow has impacted on metal ground pin in the target or possibly a lost arrow point.
For this reason I always advise you  hold the arrow at the front end nearest the point. This gives less chance for the arrow shaft to break or bend.
Then pull back in a steady even draw. Also there is nothing wrong in asking for help if you find you can’t draw the arrow on your own. Some foam, 3D targets are very hard to draw arrows from.
I always suggest when drawing an arrow you avoid using your thumb on top of the arrow shaft as this can lead to you expending downward pressure and increase the risk of bending the arrow., as shown in image below.
gripping arrow

Gripping arrow without using your thumb

The method shown in the picture is the best way I’ve found. Grasping the arrow with the fingers of one hand and with your other hand bracing target. This grip is sometimes referred to as a gorilla grip as it does not use your thumb.

Drawing arrows

Drawing arrows with one hand on the boss to steady it

This method allows you to brace the target with one hand preventing it moving. By holding the target with the other hand you can judge how stable it is. I’ve seen archers go to pull the arrow and the boss or 3D target fall on them as it wasn’t secured or stable.
Ideally once the arrow is drawn it should go directly into a quiver or on the ground. Try to avoid putting arrows on top  of the boss or leaning against target as they are easily lost when they roll off the back of the boss or forgotten.
Some people may use an arrow puller to give them a better grip on the arrow. These can work pretty well in most circumstances but can slip in wet weather. I would say it is worth investing in an arrow puller or grip as this gives you greater grip on to the arrow. In the case of carbon arrows it also reduces the risk of getting carbon splinters. as they offer a level of protection to the archers hand.
Last piece of advice I would like to offer is to put your bow down somewhere safe before you start drawing arrows. This may seem obvious but you will be surprised how often people lean them against the 3D and suddenly discover their bow is falling over as they draw the arrows.
I hope you find this useful, let me know your thoughts .
Thanks for reading.