How To String A Crossbow: Two Primary Methods and Specific Steps

George Hanson
George Hanson
Research Writer
A successful journalist and news reporter in the past, George is now focused on freelance work to be able to dedicate more time to the most important things in his life: fam read more
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John Carson
John Carson
Expert Consultant
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tric read more
Last updated: September 08, 2023
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Restringing is important when the bowstring of your device begins to wear out. A weak string can snap out inflicting serious injury to the user. It’s best practice to remove the string when the crossbow is not in use to extend its usage period.

The best way to extend the usage period of a crossbow is through regular maintenance such as waxing. If the string in your crossbow is beginning to show symptoms of wear out, there are a couple of ways you can learn how to string a crossbow without injuring yourself. You simply have to follow the right procedure, and we’ve outlined them below.

Two primary methods of restringing a crossbow

How To String A Crossbow: Two Primary Methods and Specific StepsThe way you string a compound crossbow is different from how to string a recurve crossbow. There are slight differences in their structure and interchanging their stringing process might cause a lot of harm.

For the record, there are two primary methods of restringing a crossbow. One allows you to use a stringer while the other can be executed without it. It’s not all about speed or efficiency. You should try to understand how each method works before narrowing your choice down to the best one.

Restringing without a stringer

Before we go into details about how to string a crossbow without a stringer, you ought to know that where there’s no stringer, you need to use your bare hands. This is an indication that this method relies heavily on your strength and as such, the weight of the crossbow has to be manageable.

When it comes to human effort, how well you execute this step depends on your strength and weight. Hunters with steady hands are likely to stroll through the process like it’s second nature. This is because you have applied a lot of force. Hence, the bigger the weight your arm can handle, the easier it’s to string.

Finally, as a precautionary measure, you should know this method doesn’t work on a crossbow that comes with a pulley at the end. With that being said, let’s proceed to the steps involved in stringing a crossbow without a stringer. Follow them accordingly to achieve the best results without inflicting any damages at the end.

  • The first thing to do is to pick up your crossbow and find a solid place to fix it. If you’re attempting to string indoor, you can place it on the ground. However, if you’re outdoor in the field, you can look for a piece of rock or brick.
  • Next, append the string into one end of the nock. While ensuring the other side of the bow is loose. Ensure that the string in the first nock is properly sealed. If not, it might snap out as you attempt to install the string into the second nock.
  • Once that is done, the next thing to do is to place the crossbow on a hard surface. Now, ensure the nocked part sits firmly on the floor while the loose part with no string is elevated away from the hard surface. Next, place your feet on the prod of the crossbow to stabilize it.
  • In this position, try to install the loose end of the string to the second nock. You will have to tilt the loose end until it comes in contact with the string. While doing this, ensure you don’t tilt the bow excessively, so you don’t damage it.
  • Once you can install the loose end of the bowstring into the second nock, carefully examine each end to ensure the string is sitting comfortably. If it isn’t, you might damage the bow as you try to fire.
  • As a precaution, you want to remove the string when the bow is not in use. This prevents it from wearing out. Knowing how to pull back the string on a crossbow is therefore important.
  • To pull back the string, You can remove the string using a reverse technique to the way it was installed. You place it on the floor the same way you did when restringing and carefully unhook starting from the end facing you. Do the same to the other nock for the string to completely come off.

You should also know you won’t achieve the same stability when you place the crossbow on the floor as when you place it on a solid surface such as a piece of block. To ensure the block doesn’t slip away as you try to rest it, drill a hole in the middle of the block.

Secondly, the foot you place on the barrel of the crossbow should be your dominant foot and one you can easily maneuver. The key to ensuring the bow tilt in the direction you want is to keep your foot at the center of the prod. This is thought to be the center of gravity. Ensure your crossbow doesn’t come with a stirrup when you do this. If the stirrup is directly below the prod, applying too much force might cause it to damage.

How to string a crossbow with a stringer

How To String A Crossbow: Two Primary Methods and Specific StepsThis is one of the easiest means of learning how to string a crossbow by yourself. Fortunately, this method works for every type of crossbow regardless of if it’s compound or recurve. It’s particularly suitable for crossbows with a pulley since you don’t have to apply excessive force.

The stringer minimizes human effort. You won’t have to use your hands, and a lot doesn’t depend on how muscular you are. Also, using a stringer to do this is safer and at the same time faster. It minimizes injury from rookie error. This method would take a while to master, but once you get a hang of it, it will become a stroll in the park.

  • If you want to learn how to effectively string a crossbow, the first thing to do is to place the crossbow flat on the ground or a solid surface. The surface you will use for this need to have a large surface area. Hence, a piece of block won’t do.
  • With your working surface sorted out, install one end of the string to one nock of the bow.
  • Next, pop the stringer across the bow by fitting it into both ends of the nocks. Proceed to cock the crossbow. Place your foot on the flexible stirrup and bend the crossbow vertically downward with the barrel pointing to the sky.
  • Pull the stringer backward and hook the middle to the latch of the bow. The stringer in a way helps bend the bow backward making it easier to tilt for the other loose bowstring to reach the empty nock end.
  • While you hook the other end of the bowstring to its place, ensure the loop of the string is below that of the stringer loop. It can take extra effort to fit this into the right position. However, you had better do it the right way than miss it and expose yourself to danger.
  • Access both end of the bowstring to ensure they’ve been properly installed. To satisfy that everything has been done perfectly, fire the crossbow. For the compound crossbow, it will be in safety mode. Release it from safety and fire the empty crossbow. If none of the strings falls off, it means you’ve done a good job.
  • Next, you should detangle the stringer from the crossbow. The way to do this is to slowly remove one end of the stringer from the nock and then slowly progress to the other end. Sometimes, the stringer and bowstring might become tangled up. It’s likely to happen on your first attempt. Once, this happens, get a screwdriver to detach the stringer from the bowstring.

This is all the information needed to get a hang on how to restring a crossbow. Just as you did when restringing without a stringer, you ought to also detach the string from the bow when not in use.

Just like we did at the beginning, install the stringer once again and pull off the bowstring from each end till they’re taken off completely. Then remove the stringer using the step we mentioned earlier and store the bow in a cool dry place.

When it comes to the stringer, you should know that it won’t serve you for a long time. You have to bend them to fit into the latch; hence they might begin to weaken after a couple of restringing. Once you see them wearing out, replace immediately. A damaged stringer might snap and injure the user in the middle of a restring.

For best results, ensure you keep your crossbow in good order by carrying out periodic maintenance. You can apply beeswax at the bowstring to minimize friction.

Are there different methods depending on the crossbow type?

How To String A Crossbow: Two Primary Methods and Specific StepsWell, we understand that most people are itching to know if there’s a difference between the stringing method for a recurve and a compound crossbow. The only difference we are aware of is that you can string a recurve crossbow with any of the methods we mentioned earlier. We mean both with a stringer and without one.

In the case of a compound crossbow, especially modern designs, you have to restring with a stringer. It isn’t easy to string a compound bow without a stringer for two reasons. First, compound bows are heavy and bulky at their best. Hence, your arm strength might come short while trying to work your way around it. Secondly, stringing with no stringer is risky. The crossbow could slip away from your hands, thereby causing some damages.

For this reason, we recommend you start by learning how to string a crossbow without a press if what you have at the moment is a compound crossbow.


If you go on hunting trips, you’re bound to learn how to string a crossbow at some point. A crossbow is a vital tool during such adventures. If you use a recurve, you should be able to do this without a stringer. If you follow the steps we outlined above carefully, you won’t face a lot of troubles.

Well, even at that, we encourage you to learn how to use a stringer due to their versatility. Also, they’re less risky and easy to handle at the same time. You don’t need to apply a lot of manual efforts, and the price of stringers isn’t frightening.

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