A properly waxed crossbow string is crucial for getting top performance from your crossbow. The wax protects the string from friction and abrasion, while also keeping it weather-resistant. It allows the string to move smoothly and quietly, giving you more speed, power and accuracy on each shot.
While many crossbows come pre-waxed from the factory, the wax coating starts to wear off over time. This causes the string to fray and slip, leading to inaccurate shots. Re-waxing the string regularly is a must for all crossbow owners who want pinpoint precision.
In this guide, you’ll learn a foolproof how to wax crossbow string. With just a bit of wax and a few minutes of your time, you can extend the life of your string and keep your crossbow shooting as straight and fast as the day you got it.
How to Wax Your Crossbow String Like a Pro (5 Simple Steps)
Step 1: Select the Right Type of Wax For the Crossbow
Not all waxes are created equal when it comes to crossbow strings. The most common option is beeswax, which has been used for centuries to wax bow strings. Beeswax provides great friction reduction and water resistance, while also keeping the strands bonded together.
Synthetic waxes like paraffin wax can also work. However, they tend to wear off faster than natural beeswax in outdoor conditions. Beeswax also provides a tackier grip for the string when you’re cocking the bow, making it easier to handle.
Consider the weather conditions and type of use for your crossbow. Polymer-based synthetic waxes can be ideal for very wet conditions, as beeswax can soften and gum up. If you primarily use your crossbow in hot and dry climates, pure beeswax is the best bet.
Step 2: Inspect and Clean the String
Before waxing, you need to thoroughly inspect your crossbow string for any issues. Look along the length of the string for any broken or frayed strands. Also check for excessive fuzziness, which indicates the wax coating is wearing off.
Use a magnifying glass to inspect the central serving area where the arrow gets knocked. This section sees the most abrasion and can reveal damage not visible to the naked eye. Replace the string if any significant fraying or serving separation is found.
You also need to clean off any dirt, residue, or old wax from the string before applying new wax. This allows the wax to properly penetrate the strands. Use a clean lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol to gently wipe down the entire string.
Step 3: Apply the Wax
Once the string is prepped, it’s time to apply the new wax. Light a candle and let a small amount of wax build up in the spoon section of the candle. This “pool” of melted wax makes it easier to apply the wax evenly.
Take your wax and rub it thoroughly along the length of the unwound string. Apply extra wax to the center serving area, where the arrow gets nocked. The serving takes the most damage, so be generous with the wax here.
A key tip is to apply the wax in a thin layer. Too much wax will just make a gummy mess and attract dirt. You only need enough to penetrate into the strands and create a smooth outer coating. Let the wax cool and harden on the string for 5-10 minutes.
Step 4: Buff the String
The last step is taking a clean, dry cloth and buffing the crossbow string. This helps smooth out the wax and removes any excess, leaving your string with a polished finish.
Buff in a back-and-forth motion along the length of the string. Check for any small clumps of wax and gently buff them away. Keep buffing until you’ve removed all wax buildup and residue.
Having a nicely buffed string not only looks professional, but it will also improve the draw speed. A smooth string with an evenly distributed wax layer will move effortlessly across the barrel and cams.
Step 5: Test and Retune Your Crossbow
You’re all done with the waxing process. Now it’s time to re-install your freshly waxed string and test out the performance.
Check how smoothly the string moves across the barrel and cams. It should glide with no friction or hesitation. Listen for any odd vibrations or “humming” coming from the string. A perfectly waxed string will be quiet.
You may need to re-tune your crossbow after waxing the string. The new wax coating can change the string’s speed and vibrations enough to impact accuracy.
Sight in the crossbow again at 20 and 40 yards to adjust the scope/sights. You may also need to adjust the limb bolts for proper arrow flight. Follow your owner’s manual for full tuning procedures.
Why String Waxing is Essential
The string is the heart of your crossbow, responsible for storing and releasing the energy that launches your bolt. As such, keeping it in optimal condition through regular string waxing provides major benefits:
1. Protects Against Abrasion and Fraying
When you draw, release, and cock your crossbow, the string is subjected to tremendous friction and stress at the cams, over the rail, and at the serving connection points. This causes wear, fuzzing, and eventual fraying of the strands.
By waxing the string, you add a protective barrier that keeps the strands safe, smooth, and tightly bundled. This prevents fraying as well as loss of performance caused by frayed strands catching and dragging across other components.
2. Allows Smooth Release for More Speed/Power
Wax decreases the friction between the bowstring and the rail/cams as you draw and release each shot. This allows the string to glide smoothly instead of binding. The decreased friction results in more efficient energy storage and release. You’ll enjoy faster arrow speeds and more kinetic energy on target.
3. Reduces Friction Between Serving and String
The central serving helps protect the string and gives the release aid a consistent gripping point. Friction between the serving and string can cause serving separation or peeling. Wax lubricates these areas for smooth operation and longer serving life.
4. Prolongs Overall Life of String
With reduced wear and friction from regular waxing, your bowstring will last for thousands more shots before needing replacement. You’ll save money while enjoying the consistent performance.
When to Apply String Wax on Crossbow
To reap the protective benefits of wax while avoiding the negative effects of over-waxing, use these best practice guidelines on application timing:
1 – New Strings Before First Use
The factory coating on a new string may seem slick, but it’s not the same as a thorough wax coating. Remove residues with solvent then apply a fresh coat of wax before shooting the first arrows.
2 – Every Dozen Shots or So
Once in use, wax roughly every 10-12 shots to maintain the protective wax barrier. If shooting frequently, inspect the string every other day or daily to ensure adequate coverage remains.
3 – After Cleaning or Getting Wet
Solvent cleaning and water exposure removes wax, so always reapply after cleaning or if the string gets wet. Even moisture from your fingers is enough to break down wax, so rewax after handling or tuning the string.
4 – When String Looks Dry or Fuzzy
With use, wax can wear off unevenly across the string. Inspect it visually and by feel, waxing any areas that look dry, fuzzy, or uneven. Focus extra wax on the central serving area.
Choosing the Right Crossbow String Wax
With the wide variety of wax products available, it’s important to choose one well-suited for crossbow strings. Here are the key considerations:
Beeswax vs. Synthetic Waxes
Traditional beeswax is an excellent lubricant. It’s easy to apply and buff out. The main downsides are that it can soften excessively on hot days, cause buildup over time, and dry out or crack in freezing temperatures.
Synthetic waxes avoid these issues through optimized temperature stability and flexibility. They last longer per application as well. Either variety works; synthetics have advantages for crossbows used in extreme conditions.
Waxes are available in different grades from very soft and tacky to extra hard. For crossbow strings, a medium grade is ideal. Soft wax picks up too much dirt and dust. Hard wax is difficult to spread evenly and must be applied more frequently.
If shooting in cold weather, choose a wax optimized to remain pliable in frigid conditions. If excessive heat is a concern, pick wax less prone to softening and running during summer use. Consider the climate and seasons you’ll use the crossbow in.
Ask local archery shops for recommendations on the best wax for local conditions. Companies like Scorpion Venom, Bohning, and Ten Point make quality crossbow-specific waxes. Common general-purpose waxes like beeswax also work.
Removing Old String Wax Buildup
Over time, dirt, debris, and repeated waxing can cause a gummy buildup to accumulate on the string. This attracts more gunk while slowing the string and interfering with tuning. Here’s how to safely remove old buildup:
1. Use Solvent and Rag to Remove Gunk
A degreasing solvent like isopropyl alcohol breaks down waxy residues. Liberally apply solvent to a cotton rag then gently rub the string to dissolve away stubborn buildup. Repeat until the original string material is exposed.
2. Go Slowly to Avoid Damaging Serving
Don’t vigorously scrub or pick at the string, especially near serving connection points. Harsh scrubbing can damage serving or separate it from the string. Take your time and let the solvent do the work.
Consider replacing the string once you’ve removed heavy buildup or notice serving damage. The abrasion and friction impact from buildup can’t be reversed.
After removing the buildup, apply a fresh wax coating per the application tips above. Schedule more frequent rewaxing to keep the string protected without allowing Gunk to re-accumulate.
Troubleshooting Common Crossbow String Waxing Issues
If you notice any of the following problems, improper or insufficient string wax is likely the culprit:
String Slipping, Slow Arrow Speed, Clicking Sounds
These issues arise when age or lack of lubrication allows excessive friction between the string and cams/rail. Thoroughly wax the full string length to fix. Consider replacing the string if performance doesn’t improve.
Fuzzy or Peeling Serving
Abrasion damages serving over time. Regular waxing provides needed lubrication to prevent excess friction and wear at the serving connection points.
Dry, Cracked Wax Buildup
Brittle, cracked wax that easily flakes off signals using too hard of a wax for ambient temperatures. Switch to a softer grade better suited for the conditions.
Like any fine-tuned machine, crossbows need regular maintenance for optimal function and longevity. Skipping string waxing shortens string life, decreases downrange accuracy and speed, and can cause premature wear of other components.
By using the right wax at the proper intervals, expertly applying it to all areas of the string, and removing buildup when needed, you’ll enjoy consistently fast shots and the confidence that comes with having a finely tuned precision weapon. Your crossbow string is the critical link between smooth power delivery and arrow-catching accuracy; keep it in top shape with proper string waxing.
I am a john petric highly skilled and experienced archer known for his exceptional talent and achievements in the world of archery. With years of dedication and practice, I became a renowned figure in the archer community. This note aims to shed light on my archery journey, highlighting his accomplishments, techniques, and contributions to the sport.