How To Properly Serve a Bowstring

Few bowhunters spend much time worrying about the serving thread on their bowstring and/or cables. However, poor servings can cause major inconsistencies in how your bow performs. Whenever you are working with servings, there are several keys to make sure they will hold up and perform well.

The servings on your bowstring and cables are often overlooked, but poor servings can cause inconsistent bow performance. Pro shooter Levi Morgan pays careful attention to his servings to ensure they are durable and reliable.

The most important difference between how I serve and how I see most others serve is that I weave the lead line in and out of the main serving. This holds the entire run together and keeps the serving from separating or "crawling" up and down the string. I'm sure you've seen it. You take the D-loop off your string and there's a big gap in the serving where the loop material was tied onto the bowstring. Unfortunately, when this happens, the serving has to move.

More importantly, the serving where your nock goes has to move. You also can probably look at your cams right now and see where the serving is separating because of pressure and stress from the cams. Now, to fix or prevent these things from happening, you have to tie the entire run together. I take the serving tag end and make it at least as long as the run I'm about to serve. I go about 10-20 wraps over that tag or lead line and then I pull it out, wrap once and lay it back down for 10-20 more wraps. I do this for the entire process.


When I get about half an inch from where I need to end, I just pull that tag out and finish the serve without it. The tighter you serve the run, the better and more effective this will be. It should prevent any type of crawling you would see otherwise.


You also want to keep even pressure while serving a run. The more loosely you serve, the bigger the serving diameter and the weaker it will be. As you increase the tightness (tension) of your serving, its diameter will shrink and its strength will increase. The only real way to tie a tight serving is to use a serving tool you can adjust. Keep that tool firm against the string, and once you have your desired pressure (tension), try not to influence the serving pressure otherwise. The beginning and end may be a little off because you have to manually serve them without a tool, so give yourself enough room on each end so that's a non-issue.

Finally, when you finish your serve, there should be two ends sticking out — the tag end and the main line you used to wrap. Cut those down and leave at least a quarter inch sticking up. Fray the ends before burning them with a lighter, and as the burn gets close to the string, mash it down flat around the serving that's wrapped. This keeps those tag ends from working back through and unraveling the entire run. Most of the time, I also apply a tiny dot of glue to those burns, just as an extra measure to hold them in place.

Serving isn't an exciting part of being a great archer, but it is a critical component and something you must know how to do properly when working on your own bow. As I explained, there are a few things you can do to have the strongest, most effective serve. Most importantly, weave the tag line in and out of the main wrap throughout the length of the serve. Second, keep tight and even pressure on the thread throughout the serving process. And lastly, flare and burn both tag ends against the serving when finished to prevent them from slipping through. These three things will make your serving more durable and consistent.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

"Petersen's Bowhunting" editor Christian Berg and Mathews design engineer Mark Hayes talk the smooth, quiet and fast shooting qualities of the new flagship Vertix bow from the Wisconsin bowmaker.

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Center Shots: How to Improve Your Bow Tuning

Field editor Bill Winke goes over steps you can take to improve the tuning on your bow.

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

The new Ravin R29X Crossbow includes everything you need for blistering speed (450 FPS!) and deadly downrange accuracy (3-inch group at 100 yards).

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Don't give up on that seemingly untunable bow just yet. Bows

Untunable Bow? Nock Travel Could Be Your Problem

Bill Winke

Don't give up on that seemingly untunable bow just yet.

Following Bill Winke's step-by-step process for setting up and tuning a bow. How-To

Step-by-Step Bow Setup

Bill Winke

Following Bill Winke's step-by-step process for setting up and tuning a bow.

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm! How-To

Summer Scouting Spectacular

Bill Winke

Mid-Summer Is Prime Time to Watch Large-Racked Bucks — and Stoke Fall Enthusiasm!

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species Whitetail

2020 State of the Whitetail Report

Jason Snavely - June 29, 2020

Crunching the numbers on North America's most important game species

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

You're going to perform better if you can complete the entire shot sequence in fewer than 8 seconds. How-To

How Long Should a Shot Take?

Christian Berg

You're going to perform better if you can complete the entire shot sequence in fewer than 8...

Follow this step-by-step process to quickly field dress your deer for the best possible venison. How-To

How to Field Dress & Quarter a Deer

Mike Stroff

Follow this step-by-step process to quickly field dress your deer for the best possible...

Train your brain to handle high-pressure shots. How-To

Mental Preparation for Bowhunting

Clint Casper

Train your brain to handle high-pressure shots.

To find consistent success, you must be better than average in every respect. How-To

How to Successfully Bowhunt Public Land

Clint Casper

To find consistent success, you must be better than average in every respect.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now