Part of the fun in Traditional Archery is the “Do it yourself” projects that you will begin to take on as you advance in the sport. Over time we will post several of these projects here at Simply Traditional for you to enjoy and perhaps save yourself a little money along the way.
I’ve been making my own stringers for about 10 years or so after too many troubles with store bought designs. I am not knocking any brand of commercial string and there are many good ones on the market including the Selway below. However, I much prefer a stringer trusting the cord to manipulate the bow weight instead of leather cups which eventually fail when you least expect. Additionally, if you learn to make your own you’ll carry them always in the truck & other easy access pigeon holes.
So, let’s begin:
The photo below shows both the Selway (left) which offers the flat rubber piece to rest on the limb while stringing and my homemade stringer (right) which lets the cord carry the complete load of the draw to strung bow. I use castoff leather from belts, ball gloves, or whatever as long as it is stable & in good shape. Important to remember the cord carries the draw weight as you can see by tracing the configuration behind the leather tip cups. Consequently, the leather tip cups are mostly for locating at the bow tips while the string is slid down the limbs eventually into the string grooves.
The photo below shows parts for putting it all together including; cord, leather for pouches, and a leather punch. It is important to use cord with enough tensile strength to withstand your maximum load. In this case, it’s 1/4″ nylon cord rated around 200# or possibly more. Usually the cord will have a max weight limit marked on the package.
The pouches here are from an old leather belt. I’ve used also fingers from an old leather ballglove. The leather strip on left is 1″ wide and the one on right is 1.25″ wide. Not necessary to vary widths but it is the way the belt broke down when I cut it apart. You’ll wind up with a leather pouch at each end of the stringer; one a static end (w/string in the grooves) and the other a dynamic end requiring the string to move down the limb settling into the string grooves when the bend is sufficient.
Notice also that I wrapped the cord ends to keep them from fraying. Simple and effective especially considering that you’ll need to thread this cord into, around, and through the pouch later.
Most of my bows are between 68″ and 72″ nock to nock so I adjust the string length accordingly. This string is 114″ end to end which will allow the pouches to be properly secured with enough length leftover for stringing the bow.
Ordinarily, I cut my strips for the pouches at 6″ for the static end pouch & 5″ for the dynamic end. In this case. these are the only pieces remaining from this old belt. Therefore, you can see the wider strip is 4″ long while the other is around 7″ long. You will quickly learn to make proper adjustments to insure the cups are correctly fitted. No worries.
I’ll start with the static end. You’ll see that the belt buckle required a a running length which left an opening approximately 1/2″ long toward the end of the leather piece. No problems as I usually just fold the leather strip in half & punch holes about 1/2″ from the bottom & top anyway. See the hole in the top as an example. Notice also I clipped away at the initial hole with the punch to make it larger to accommodate my 1/4″ cord. Just easier to thread together once we start.
This photo shows the initial threading of cord. The pouch on top is a completed stringer. Try to see how the cord enters the doubled leather piece through to 2 punched holes, then winds itself through the leather piece at the bend in the middle. This will force form a leather cup as the end of the cord goes back out the same 2 punched holes it came through to start with.
Next photo, this static end is threaded, I added a bow tip into the pouch to show what it looks like to string the bow. Notice the cord surrounds the limb & the leather pouch simply hangs on. There is no load bearing by the leather pouch with the slight exception of the limb tip pushing into it. Never has a limb tip pushed through my leather pouch. I have pushed limb tips through previous store bought stringers. See also the stringer is not yet tied secure as in the completed stringer above. Simple square knot or two in front of the pouch will suffice.
The dynamic end was tied same way. Remember it was only 4″ long which might be an inch too short in my opinion. However, here it is on my 68″ Schulz after completion of an easy stringing.
Hook the pouches in their respective ends, then step in the middle of the stringer cord while pulling up on the handle. This will load & bend the limbs while you push the string down the limb into the string groove. If your pouch covers your groove, you’ll need to readjust it until the grove is clear. Again, this is easy enough but may take some getting used to. This stringer topped out at 75″ overall length after both pouches were tied on. The longer the stringer cord the harder it is to get a good load. If too long, simply tie a knot in the middle of the cord to take up some of the slack.