Should I Wax My Bow String?

Archery is a great sport to take up,  but can feel overwhelming whilst you are getting to grips with the equipment and how to maintain it.

If you’re new to the hobby of archery you might be curious to know: Should I wax my bow string?

In this article, I will cover some key information about waxing bows, including whether you should wax your bow and a step-by-step guide on how you wax a bow.

Keep reading to find out more.

Should I Wax My Bow String

Should I wax my bow?

Yes! An essential part of keeping a bow maintained is waxing the string. No matter what style of bow you shoot, whether it’s recurve, compound, or traditional, you need to make sure that you are not neglecting waxing your bow.

Waxing your bow string is a crucial part of maintaining your bow for many reasons. Namely, it prevents the bow strings from fraying, adds a waterproof element as it stops water from getting between the strands during bad weather conditions, and also helps it to retain twists.

If water gets into the string, the string can become heavier. This can cause the arrow to travel at a slower speed, affecting your overall performance. After all, you could be an incredibly talented archer, and your skill would still be hindered by an average bow. 

A properly-waxed bowstring has a smooth, slightly tacky feel. If the string feels dry, or starts to exhibit discoloration or fuzz out, then it’s a sure sign that you need to wax it again. The majority of serious archers will wax their strings every two to three weeks to keep on top of it.

In addition to this, it is recommended that you make sure that you wax your bow before competitions if you know it is forecast to rain.

How do I wax my bow string?

Waxing your bow string is easy once you know how! To get started, you will need to purchase bow string wax.

A guide on how to wax a bow string:

Step one: Apply the wax along the length of the string by rubbing it along the strings until the wax is visible along the length of the strands.

Step two: Next, you will need to massage the wax into the string with your fingers. As the string is made of multiple different strands, the wax should be massaged all over them until it melts into all of the gaps.

Step three: Take the fabric cord and wrap it in a loop around the string.

Step four: Push the loop in the cord up and down the length of the string to evenly distribute the spread of wax. This process will push as much wax as possible into the strands, and the excess will be pushed away.

Step five: Remove any left-over lumps of wax with your fingers, and your bow is ready!

Can you use candle wax for bow string?

Yes, in theory you can use candle wax for bow string wax if you find yourself in a bind without it on an occasion. That being said, there are a few things that you should know before using this alternative to wax your bow. 

A bowstring may fray or get fuzzy because of three reasons: a lack of wax, abrasion, or aging. This is why you need to regularly maintain your bow to ensure that it is performing as well as it can when you’re out shooting. 

While candle wax is fairly similar to bowstring wax, it’s a bit less sticky and has a higher melting point. Bearing this in mind, candle wax is likely to be more difficult to apply to the string. Imagine how stiff candle wax becomes when it has melted from a candle onto the table, the same concept applies to your bow.

However, if you apply candle wax correctly by rubbing it into the fibers like you would with bow wax it will protect your string and perform similarly to bow string wax. 

If you have no string wax and you really need another option, other waxes can work. That being said, on a regular basis you should use bow wax, and you should make sure that you wax your string regularly and remove the old wax before you do so.

Can you use vaseline as bow wax?

Vaseline is a great product to use for a variety of purposes, including moisturizing areas of dry skin and helping to heal minor scrapes and burns. However, while you might think that this versatile product is a great option to use instead of bow wax, it definitely isn’t recommended that you do so. 

In general, I wouldn’t recommend waxing your string with anything else but string wax, but especially not Vaseline. This primarily comes down to the fact that Vaseline and pure petroleum jelly will melt very easily when you touch your bow, and will not provide the precise protection you need to keep your bow string free of frays. 

In addition to this, Vaseline is nearly impossible to remove from the strings due to its stickiness. Think about it, have you ever tried to rub your hands after you’ve got a significant amount of Vaseline on them? That being said, you’ll consistently be covered in a sticky mess and a slippery bow that won’t perform well.

So, if you want to avoid a sticky bow, you should definitely steer clear of using Vaseline as bow wax. If you’re desperate, only use other wax substitutes, such as surfboard wax.

Can you use Chapstick to wax bow string?

For the same reason that you shouldn’t use Vaseline to wax your bow string, you also shouldn’t use Chapstick. 

Chapstick also contains petroleum jelly, and is not a good substitute for bow string wax. Not only is it slippery and melts easily, but Chapstick is also often colored and flavored. This isn’t a good option to use, especially as you will be coating your bow string with a sticky, colored substance that can ruin the overall look and performance of your bow.

In addition, it will also drastically reduce the lifespan of the fibers of your bow string, and will attract and hold dirt and dust. Using Chapstick instead of wax may also cause them to stretch a lot because the petroleum jelly will weaken the strings over time.

Bearing this all in mind, if you find yourself in a bind without wax, I highly recommend that you wait until you can get your hands on some over using Chapstick as a substitute. 

As bow wax is relatively inexpensive and lasts for a very long time, there really isn’t any reason to risk ruining your bow with Chapstick. You don’t need to spend a fortune to keep your bow in the best condition possible. 

Buy bow wax from Amazon here

In summary 

Yes, you should wax your bow string to keep it in the best condition and to ensure that your shooting remains consistent.

Although there are a few substitutes that can work similarly to bowstring wax, nothing beats the real stuff. Bowstring wax is purpose-made for bowstrings and will therefore protect your string as no other wax will.