Replacing Your Bow String Serving

The bow string serving on your crossbow will occasionally need to be replaced. Since bow shops charge about $10 to do this, it is something you may want to learn to do yourself.

Here are the items you will need:

A carpenters square to verify alignment of string to jig center
Needle nose pliers
Razor blade knife
Butter knife
Lighter or matches
3 in 1 oil or gun oil
***Center serving thread
Cross bow string jig – which you can make yourself

serving bow string serving serving

First you will need to roll out and cut about 18-20" of the serving thread. Tie the 2 loose ends together with a good knot. Hold the knot in one hand and rub some oil into the last 3" of the thread on the other end.

Put this aside until later.

To remove the old serving, slip a knife under the edge and lightly cut it, be cautious not to cut the actual bow string.

As you unwind it, keep cutting the excess, so it is not hard to deal with.

When it is all removed, center the crossbow string in your jig and make sure it is tight.

Choose how long you want your serving to be, by either the 1&1/2 or 2&1/2' mark on the board, and carefully slide a butter knife, or other blunt object, through the middle of the string, dividing your strands equally.

serving bow string serving serving

Thread about 1-1 1/2" of serving thread through this opening and take the butter knife out.

Slide the serving thread to the line you chose for your serving length.

Make sure the threading tool is fairly tight, so it does not roll off easily. Start rolling the tool around your string and towards the equal mark that is on the other side of the bow string jig.

You will be rolling right over the top of the 1-1 1/2" tail you left on your serving thread.

After you have covered about 3/8-1/2" of this tail, you pull this tail towards the starting point and keep on rolling.

This forms the knot on the strand.

When you are about 3/8 to 1/2inch from the other mark, lay the oiled piece you cut earlier, along your crossbow string, and keep on winding.

Once you get to your other mark, cut your string about 1& 1/2" longer than needed and take it through the loop on the oiled strand.

serving bow string serving serving

Now pull on the knotted end of the oiled string, which will pull your loose end underneath of the last 3/8 or ½ inch of the serving.

Use your needle nose pliers to pull on the two loose ends, and tighten each end, as much as possible.

Once you have it as tight as you like, cut each tail off, to about 1/4" length.

Take a lighter or match and carefully burn the end of each tail.

The thread will melt and form a small ball on the end. This will finish your knot and keep your bow string serving tight.


***Jim Price makes many bow strings for us and we find his work to be of the highest quality there is. We asked him what diameter the thread should be, and this was his response:

"For an old bow with steel cables with teardrops to attach string I like the 0.024 thru the 0.026 braided for loops & end servings.

For modern compounds with narrower cam grooves I like the 0.014 mini for loops & end servings.

For recurve limb crossbows I like the 0.024 thru 0.026 for loops & ends.

Nothing wrong with the 0.036 but it really makes a huge diameter serving and the 0.024 thru 0.026 braided is plenty and usually serves much neater.

For ALL crossbows I like the 0.026 Brownell Crown serving for center serving as it is the strongest and slickest made. This is ok on end & loops also where you do not need the small diameter but the Crown serving is more expensive than the Spectra’s & halo stuff.

Sometimes the best diameter is in the eyes of the shooter.

I am basing my recommendations just on my experience of making many of them and not using various materials & diameters after I received complaints. Materials have evolved greatly over the last few years to accommodate new bow technology.

You can quote me if you like."

If you are interested in having Jim make a bow string for you, you can contact him at this e-address:

For supplies for re-doing the servings on your bow, here are a few choices.

Go from Bow String Serving to Making a Bow Jig

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