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serving-FAQ - 12/5/96

Repairing and replacing your bowstring serving.

NOTE: See also the files: archery-books-msg, C-A-handbook-art, arrows-msg,
crossbows-msg, arrow-making-FAQ, arch-hist-FAQ, clout-shoot-FAQ.


This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
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time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: HL Stefan li Rous
mark.s.harris@motorola.com stefan@florilegium.org

Subject: FAQ: Servings and Repairs
Newsgroups: alt.archery,rec.sport.archery
Summary: This posting contains the alt.archery and rec.sport.archery FAQ
section containing information on string servings and repairs
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 31 July 1996

This is a section of the FAQ for alt.archery and rec.sport.archery..
It is maintained by me at the following e-mail address:

Comments, flames, etc. on the FAQ are welcome and should be directed to
me. Comments on the specifics of the section can be addressed to either
me or the person responsible for this section. If addressed to me, I will
forward them to the author of the section. If you wish to see this
section cross-posted to another group, please e-mail me a request to do so.
If I can access that group, then I will so cross-post whenever I post this

Bill Blohm


Angus Duggan <angus@harlqn.co.uk>


The serving can very easily be replaced. You'll need a serving tool (the
Bjorn one is good), some serving (use whatever is currently on the bow -
probably soft twist), and a wee bit of practice. The last item is the most
important :-)

You'll probably find four types of serving available; soft twist, braided,
monofilament, and fastflite.

I would advise against using monofilament serving; it is very difficult to
work with, and if it breaks, it can't be repared in the field (it instantly
unravels all of the way). The good side of it is that monofilament serving
gives a really clean loose for finger shooters.

Braided and soft twist are both quite easy to work. Braided is a bit more
hard wearing, but is thinner and may crush strings (it's important not to
do this if you use Kevlar strings). Both give a similar loose. I tend to
use soft twist now, because it's slightly easier to work, and can be field
repared easily.

I've no experience with FastFlite or Kevlar servings, I can't comment
on them.

Describing the process of serving is quite tricky without diagrams, but
I'll try anyway:

Start by attaching the end of the serving thread to the bowstring at one end
of the final position of the serving (this just makes it easier to wind over
the tail in the next step). Stretch the thread out to the other end position
of the final serving, and start winding it round the bowstring string, back
over the tail you've stretched out. The initial part has to be done by hand,
rather than using the serving tool. After about 3/4 of an inch, you can cut
the tail that you're winding over, and remove the tail from the bowstring.

Crude ASCII diagram:

Serving tool end -----v _
\ / \
Tail of serving -------/-------\
Bowstring =========/========/============
\_/ \_/

You can now use the serving tool to do the body of the serving, but don't
set the tension too tight or too loose; you should be able to pull the
serving out from the serving tool with a small amount of force. You can
also adjust the nock fit by adjusting the tension at this time. Serve up to
about 3/4 inch from the end of the serving with the tool.

The final part is the most tricky; pull out the serving tool until you have
about 15 inches of serving free between the served part of the bowstring and
the serving tool, keeping the tension on the serving you've just done at all
times. You now need to hold this free serving out in the middle, forming a
loop, and start winding the serving tool around the bowstring, in the same
direction as you were going, inside the loop. When you've done about 3/4 of
an inch of serving inside the loop, pull the serving tool out away from the
loop, leaving a tail of serving.

Crude ASCII diagram:

/ \
/ \
/ \ Loop of serving
/ \ v serving tool and tail of serving
Tail of serving / _ ___\______
Bowstring ======/=====/====\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\========
\_/ \_/
3/4 inch of turns ^
Part already served ^

You now need to wrap the loop of serving around the bowstring, over the tail
of serving. As you do this, the innermost part of the loop will wind around
the bowstring as the outermost part of the loop unwinds, until you have
unwound all of the turns inside the loop, and you are left with a simple
loop. Put the end of a pencil, or a marlin spike through this loop and keep
it in tension. Take hold of the serving tool and pull the tail of serving;
as you do this, the loop will shrink until it is all gone. Cut off the tail
of the serving and you're done. (Phew!)

Some points:

The bowstring must be under tension (on the bow or a jig).

Leave a large enough loop to get the serving tool through; it
doesn't matter if you waste a little serving. Similarily, leave
a large enough initial tail.

I would recommend that all archers, of whatever discipline, should learn to
make and serve bowstrings, and set up and fletch arrows. Doing it yourself
is the only way of ensuring consistency of quality, tension and length of
bowstrings, and drag angles and weights of arrows.

<the end>

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