how to wax a compound bow string

How to Wax a Compound Bow String: A Comprehensive Tutorial

Having a properly maintained compound bow can make all the difference when it comes to accuracy, speed, and overall performance. A key part of that maintenance involves waxing the bowstring, cables, and slide tracks.

While it may seem like an unnecessary step, consistent waxing provides critical protection and lubrication.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything about how to wax a compound bow string. You’ll learn why waxing is so important, what supplies you’ll need, step-by-step application instructions, and tips for keeping your string in optimal condition.

With the right technique and regular waxing, you can extend the life of your string while boosting speed, reducing friction and wear, and improving accuracy.

Why Waxing Your Compound Bow String Matters

The advanced cables and string materials used on today’s compound bows are designed for low friction and high speeds. However, without proper lubrication, dirt, dust, and organic oils from your hands can build up.

This results in extra friction as the string moves across the cams and down the slide tracks. Over time, this friction can lead to significant string wear and even strand separation.

By applying bowstring wax, you create a protective barrier between the string fibers and outside elements. The wax lubricates the strands, helping them glide smoothly over other surfaces and preventing abrasion.

Regular waxing can extend the lifespan of your string by months or even years. Plus, the reduced friction provides extra speed and less “grabby” performance. Overall, a freshly waxed bowstring means you’ll enjoy more consistent, accurate shots.

Choosing the Right Bowstring Wax

Before waxing, you first need to select a quality bowstring wax. You want a wax that matches the material in your specific compound bow string. Most modern strings are made of polyester, Dacron, or BCY fibers, so you should choose a synthetic or blended wax formula. Be wary of cheap, pure beeswax, which can be too stiff for synthetic materials.

Look for a thinner wax with some solvents added to create an easier, smoother application. The wax should penetrate well into the string fibers versus sitting heavily on the surface.

A friction-reducing additive like mica or graphite powder is also a useful feature. Popular options like Bohning Tex-Tite wax or Scorpion Venom lubricant offer the right blend of synthetic polymers, solvents, and friction reducers.

You also want a wax with the ideal tackiness and lubricating properties. It shouldn’t feel overly greasy or sticky after application. As you rub the wax in, it should make the fibers noticeably smoother and provide moisture protection.

Stay away from household waxes like paraffin that can leave heavy build-up and attract dirt over time. Investing in a quality bowstring wax made specifically for synthetics will give you the best results.

Preparing the Bow String for Waxing

Before applying wax, you need to properly clean your bowstring to remove any dirt, oils, and buildup from handling and shooting. This ensures the wax can fully penetrate the string surface and form a protective layer. Here are the simple steps for cleaning before waxing:

Start by placing your compound bow in a bow press to safely relieve tension on the string and cables. This provides Slack for easier cleaning access. Use a clean rag to wipe away any visible dirt or debris stuck to the fibers.

Next, apply a small amount of isopropyl rubbing alcohol to the rag and rub down the entire length of the string. This will cut through oils, residue, and any existing wax buildup. Take care to not over-saturate the string.

Once cleaned, use a dry section of the rag to remove any excess alcohol. Let the string dry completely before applying wax. Your compound bow string is now prepped and ready for waxing!

How to Wax a Compound Bow String (Step-by-Step)

With quality bowstring wax and clean string, you’re ready to get started:

  1. Secure your compound bow in a press and ensure the string is detention and slack.
  2. Use your fingers or a rag to apply a small amount of wax evenly along the entire length of the string. Warming the wax slightly first helps it spread more easily.
  3. Gently rub the wax into the individual string fibers using your fingers. Apply light to moderate pressure to force the wax into the strands.
  4. Once sufficiently worked in, run the length of the string across a folded section of rag. This will smooth out the wax and remove any excess.
  5. Lightly buff the string’s entire surface with the rag until there is a consistent, even haze or glaze. Be careful not to remove too much wax.
  6. Retention your compound bow string per the manufacturer’s specifications before removing it from the press.
  7. Repeat the wax application process on the bow’s bus cables and slide tracks as needed. Pay extra attention to areas of obvious wear or fraying.

It’s important to take your time and apply the wax thoroughly for the best results and protection. Avoid putting on large globs in one area or simply rubbing on surface-level amounts. The proper application involves fully saturating the string fibers.

Timing and Frequency of Waxing

To maintain ideal string condition, you should aim to wax your compound bow every 2-3 shooting sessions or at least once a month if used less frequently. If shooting daily or in rainy/humid conditions, apply a fresh coat of wax every couple of weeks. Over time, you’ll get a feel for when the string starts to feel “dry” and rougher to the touch, signaling it’s time to reapply.

The goal is to keep the string fibers saturated to prevent dust and friction buildup between waxing. A good rule of thumb is if you can see buildup or feel pronounced friction between your fingers and the string, it’s time to wax. Consistent maintenance will eliminate the need for deeper, more involved cleaning down the road.

Tips for Effective String Waxing

Here are some additional tips to ensure safe, effective bowstring waxing:

  • Only apply wax to detention and relaxed strings to allow for proper penetration. Never wax a string under tension.
  • Use a quality bow press whenever possible to safely relieve tension for maintenance.
  • Warm wax by rubbing it between fingers/rag before applying for easier spreading.
  • Apply thinner coats of wax more frequently versus heavy buildup.
  • Wipe down and re-prep strings before waxing if they appear very dirty or greasy.
  • Clean residue off cams/wheels to avoid spreading to freshly waxed areas.
  • Store Compound bow properly during the off-season to avoid temperature/humidity damage.

By following these best practices and waxing as part of your regular maintenance routine, you can keep peep rotation minimal, string fraying at bay, and maintain consistent arrow speeds and precision for years of reliable shooting. Take the time to properly wax and care for your compound bow strings. The performance benefits and extended lifespan will be well worth the small time investment.

Maintaining Overall String Health

While waxing provides critical protection and lubrication, compound bow strings do require periodic replacement as part of overall maintenance. No amount of wax can overcome the gradual internal wear from repeated shooting cycles. You should closely inspect bowstrings for signs they need replacing:

  • Brittleness from age even when waxed
  • Discoloration and greying on threads
  • Fraying strands and separation at end of servings
  • Peep rotation issues that won’t resolve with tuning

Replacing your bowstring regularly before excessive wear sets in will ensure you get true speeds and the tightest arrow grouping accuracy. Most experts recommend new strings at least every 2-3 years for high-use bows, or the manufacturer’s recommendation.

You can also optimize string life through proper storage. Keep compounds in a climate-controlled space away from temperature extremes and moisture. Excessive summer heat combined with humidity can rapidly degrade strings and cables.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I wax my compound bow string?

Waxing a compound bow string provides lubrication to the fibers which reduces friction and abrasion as the string moves across the cams and down the slide tracks. This protects the string from wear and tear, extends lifespan, and improves overall performance and accuracy.

How often should I wax my compound bow string?

You should wax a compound bow string every 2-3 shooting sessions or at least once a month during peak shooting season. Waxing more frequently, such as every couple of weeks, is recommended for bows used in rainy, humid conditions or daily shooting.

What supplies do I need to wax a compound bow string?

You’ll need a quality bowstring wax made for modern materials, a rag for cleaning/application, isopropyl alcohol for prep, and a bow press for detensioning the string safely before waxing. A soft brush can also help work wax into the fibers.

What’s the proper technique for waxing a compound bow string?

Start by cleaning the string with a rag and alcohol solution. Allow to fully dry. Apply wax liberally along the length of the detention string. Use fingers or rag to rub wax into the fibers. Smooth out with long strokes and lightly buff.

How do I know when it’s time to replace my compound bow string?

Replace strings displaying significant fraying, broken strands, discoloration, or other obvious wear. Brittleness, loss of speed/power, and peep rotation issues can also indicate a string is due for replacement. Most strings need replacing every 2-3 years.

Can I use household waxes on my compound bow string?

Avoid household waxes like paraffin. These are not formulated for modern bowstring materials. Use a wax specifically designed for strings and cables to allow proper penetration into the fibers.


Maintaining the wax on your compound bow string might feel like a chore, but trust me, it’s a game-changer for both how well your gear performs and how long it lasts. By waxing the string, cables, and slide tracks regularly, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

When you apply a quality bowstring wax on a consistent schedule, it keeps those string fibers silky smooth and protected from all the grime that accumulates from handling and shooting. The wax prevents the abrasion that can lead to fraying over time. It also reduces friction so you get faster arrow speeds and better accuracy as the string glides cleanly over the cams and down the track.

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