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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I would mention that I made my first bowstring last night, using the continuous loop design. My motivation for making my own is satisfaction of doing it myself, saving a little money, and mostly making a string exactly the way I want it.

I mention it as encouragement to anyone who has thought about doing it, but thought it might be too hard. I was worried that it might be too tedious for me because even though I'm a fairly handy person, small detail work (like even simple sewing repairs) can frustrate me. However, it seems making a bowstring is not in that category (at least for the simple endless loop style), if you follow basic instructions that are available online.

The only issue I ran in to was that my very simple and cheap jig used nails that started to bend a little under the tension. And the height of the nails was a little too short which made serving a little slower than it should be. But, it will be easy to make some simple changes for next time and these problems did not affect the quality of the bowstring.

The bowstring now has the end servings and loop servings and it has been stretching on the bow. I'll then put the center serving on after the string is stable. This should be easy because the center serving can be put on while the string is on the bow.

Ironically, this is the first bowstring I made, but I'm using the very latest BCY8190 string material.

By the way, I highly recommend the BCY Bearpaw Serving Tool/Jig. This is worth the $20. It made doing the servings so easy and controllable, since the tension can be set very accurately and stays fixed through the whole process. I expect that other products also work well, but my online search revealed that this product would be a very good choice.

I can't see the logic in buying one of those expensive string making jigs for hundreds of dollars. Unless you are mass producing them, you can make something that works well enough for about $10 in parts from a local hardware store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How heavy is your bow, and how many strands of 8190 did you use?
I used 14 strands, and the bow is 57# at 28".

I'm still not sure this will be the best choice, but I thought I would try this and see if it stays stable. If there are problems I can go to 16 or 18 strands. Normally I use 16 strands, but this bow came with 18 strands of Brownell fast flight. I actually like that string very much, so I hope I can make something that feels and performs the same or better.
 

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Thanks I was curious. I am using 20 strands because it is thin material. I have seen ranges from 18 - 22 strands. Yours might be a bit low, based upon what I have seen, but if it work, even better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks I was curious. I am using 20 strands because it is thin material. I have seen ranges from 18 - 22 strands. Yours might be a bit low, based upon what I have seen, but if it work, even better.
Thanks for this feedback. I've seen such a wide range talked about in the forums, that it is hard to know. I think 12-24 was mentioned mostly, and even a few outside of that range. That's quite a range! So, the best way is to try and see what works best for me. I shot two arrows with it this morning. It was hard to judge because I don't have the center serving or nocks and no string silencers, and the brace height is not adjusted. There was a noticeable "twang" sound, but the arrow flew true and there was no hand shock. My reference point is the 18 strand Brownell string which seemed perfect. I'll use the thinnest string that matches or exceeds that performance.

I'll eventually post what I find here.
 

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The FITA folks are using 22 to 24 strand. I was given a partial spool to experiment with. I have not built a string with it yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The FITA folks are using 22 to 24 strand. I was given a partial spool to experiment with. I have not built a string with it yet.
That is very interesting. I searched this forum for info on the 8190 and saw that you mentioned they experimented with thinner bowstrings for long distance performance, but ultimately the increased speed was not worth the loss in stability, - or something to that effect. Not that I can even see a 90 m target, never mind hit it, but those guys would be sensitive to effects that might translate to something relevant in my range. So, that information is worthy of consideration in the final choice. If nothing else, it will make me round up to the thicker string when undecided between two choices.
 

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The Mad Scientist
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Yes, its fun, cheaper and more rewarding (even if you make mistakes). The # of strands is dependant on what size you are using for center serving. I use 18s of 452x with 0.024" halo. It's not like I can go up or down 2s and still have the proper nock fit. So make a few really small strings and serve them to find what size you need with the serving you have.

I started making my own when the super skinny string fad started (which required double serving). It turned out to be a bust, but 8s of 452x is plenty strong for a 52# bow. So any number of strands of modern bow string material that works with the common serving sizes is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Mat, that makes sense.

I finished off the center serving, put 2 string nocks and 2 string silencers on. Overall, it seems just fine. The arrows I had previously tuned were still in tune, once I set the nock height correctly. The only thing I noticed was that the bare shafts seemed a little random, but were tuned on average. This could be due to what Hank D. Thoreau was alluding to, or maybe i'm just tired. Hard to say without many more days with it.

Here is the strange thing though. Everyone is saying that the 8190 is thinner and you need more strands to match up the overall thickness. But, these 14 strands of 8190 don't seem much smaller than the 18 strands of Brownell fast flight I was given with the bow. It seems about the same, which would mean the 8190 is thicker strands, or at best about the same. I even put a caliper on them and both strings were roughly 0.1 inch in diameter. Of course using calipers on a string is very unreliable, but I just wanted something to double check my perception. So, I'm a little confused right now, but no matter, it seems to work.

I think the only way for me to truly judge is to spend a lot of time with the 14 strands, and then jump up to maybe 18s, and then even later jump up to 22s. Anything I learn, I'll post here in case it helps anyone in the future.
 

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It is the fact that you can build the exact length to get your number of twists in and have no extra weight in your string. You can serve the string exactly to the lengths you need. Again carrying no extra weight.

You can serve the string to exactly fit your nocks. If shooting pin nocks that is really good cause you have to replace them if nocks lose tension.

You are right it is satisfying. I use the Sprig jig
 

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I talked to BCY directly a while back. 12 strands of Brownell FF = 14 strands of 8190, If I remember correctly. That being said I was shooting 10 strands of 8190 for a while on a 42# bow. I shoot mainly 45 to 50# and I am liking 16 strands of 8190 these days. But play around with it and see what works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I talked to BCY directly a while back. 12 strands of Brownell FF = 14 strands of 8190, If I remember correctly.
Yes, that's about what I expected. So I should need about 21 strands of 8190 to equal 18 of Brownell fast flight. Yet, the 14 strands of 8190 seems similar to the 18. I was just thinking that maybe it is because I just waxed the 8190 bowstring as I was building it. That must be the cause of my confusion.
 

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The best part about making my own strings is the independence it gives me. Especially since I shoot Border HEX limbs which require longer strings. I know that the HEX5 are suppose to use standard lengths, but I found 1/2 inch longer worked best. The HEX6 require a string that is 2 inches longer. Having my own jig allows me to whack out a non standard string whenever I need it, rather than waiting for the local shop to make it. I can also build the strings to my exact specifications and experiment with materials. Some of the last shop bought strings I got had the end servings blow out in a week. I think they used unsuitable material. The prototype for the two bad strings lasted over a year. They were suppose to duplicate the prototype, which they also made for me. They could not control the consistency. Now my strings are rock solid and have never failed me. I use a Spigarelli jig which is much lighter weight, and less expensive than most jigs. It has a crank and telescopes so it can be reduced to a pretty small size for storage and transportation. You cannot put a lot of tension on it, however, since it is not as beefy as the big boys. But it works for me, and my strings stabilize well.
 

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We have had the strand discussion many times in the past. Trad guys like "skinny" strings, Olympic style shooters like "fat" strings (fat is consistent with BCY recommendations on their website). The best explanation I have heard is that skinny strings are quieter. Quiet is not at the top of the list in the FITA community. FITA shooters use what puts the most points on the scoreboard. Targets don't run away if your bow makes too much noise.
 

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Well done Steven,
There's an inward satisfaction in making your own archery equipment. Like Hank said in his previous post "The best part about making my own strings is the independence it gives me"
Have you given any thought to maybe trying a laid in Flemish twist string in the future ? ... I think you might enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Have you given any thought to maybe trying a laid in Flemish twist string in the future ? ... I think you might enjoy it.
I definitely intend to try it. That, and I plan to try making my own wood arrows. Although I don't intend to use either as my main equipment, I feel that there is something valuable to learn in the process. And, who knows, I might end up preferring one or both of these options.
 

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The best explanation I have heard is that skinny strings are quieter.
Well IMO that explanation is pure bunk. The skinnier the string the higher the resonation frequency, just like a guitar string. Deer and other game are more spooked by higher frequencies, which sound louder (but actually might not be).

The another issue is speed, they are not any faster, IMO, because the skinnier strings behave elastically and stretch at full draw, wasting energy. You can gain a few fps by using a shorter center serving on any size string.

Here another tip, I always make my string about 1/16" longer than needed and then add a few twists so the BH is ¼" longer than desired and leave it strung up overnight. If I made it correctly the length comes out perfect. After a few shots it might need 3-4 more twists but the 452x stabilizes quickly and stays that way. To make the string round, wax it and then take a piece of serving and loop it around the string and run it up and down the full length a few times while strung. Keeping the serving direction and twist direction the same takes some thought too. And getting the end loops the right size takes practice, but that's all part of what makes it fun. I've made about 15 junk strings (few on purpose) and perhaps 2 dozen good ones for less than a $100 investment.
 

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Well IMO that explanation is pure bunk. The skinnier the string the higher the resonation frequency, just like a guitar string. Deer and other game are more spooked by higher frequencies, which sound louder (but actually might not be).

The another issue is speed, they are not any faster, IMO, because the skinnier strings behave elastically and stretch at full draw, wasting energy. You can gain a few fps by using a shorter center serving on any size string.
I can't argue with that. I have never shot skinny strings. Nobody I shoot with uses skinny strings. But I do play guitar. I used an electronic tuner to figure out the notes that come from some of my bows. I was able to get a minor pentatonic scale. Now I need 5 guys to pluck the bows so we can play some blues. Kind of like one of those bell orchestras.
 
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