I've been asked by a number of folks who are making their first bow what size string they should buy. Even a cheap bow stirng is several dollars, when the material to make one is about $1, and twenty minutes of twisting. That's it. I think you can guess where I'm going with this, eh?
There are normally two types of string materials that are easily found: Dacron (B-50) and high performance string materials like Fast Flight Plus. I prefer high performance strings, as they last longer and boost performance. I hate the handshock that can come from B-50 because of the extra mass it carries.
B-50 should have 16 strands for bows over 60#, but I was successful in using 12-14 strand strings on bows up to 60#. On Fast Flight Plus and other high performance strings, I've used 12-14 strand bows for just about any weight bow, and 16-18 strands for hybrids over 60# so for comfort on the fingers. With high performance string material it's more a matter of getting a thick enough string not to cut your fingers into little pieces. Ouchy.
Start with two nails or pegs about 12" farther apart than the length of the bow. So a 66" bow would need strands that are about 76" long. With all the strands cut to length and laid out, take one end and split it into even halves. If you're using a high performance string, I plait a few strands of Dacron in just to make sure it doesn't cut through my selfnocked wooden bows, hybrids or any bow with phenolic tips don't need this. Four strands is enough for the most part, four strands 12" long. Now, with the two halves, plaited as necessary, start about 7" or so from the end and twist both bundles clockwise tightly. Next, twist both of these twisted bundles together counterclockwise.
Ta-da! You just learned how to make string. Now continue forÝ 1/2" and then bend this in half. This is your loop.
Okay, you have the twisted loop, so take half of the end of the string, and half of the rest of the string, and twist them together clockwise. Do that with the other half of the end and the other half of the rest of the string together. Twist it all together counterclockwise. Following the pictures should really help. Continue until you get to the end (about 4"). Trim off the really ugly sticking out pieces. Give the whole string some twists and go to the other end. Your loop is done. For a double loop Flemmish string, just turn it over and do the same. Simple as that. I make the bottom loop smaller, just big enough to fit over the nock. Remember, after you make the second loop twist the whole string five to ten times to help hold it together and then stretch it some by hand. For selfbows, I do the following:
Starting about 10" form the end, again plait some Dacron in as necessary and twist up the end just like you did the loop, only straight. Simple as that. Finish the end with a knot.
Once you have it all twisted up, tie a Timber Hitch knot in that bottom section about 3" shorter than the nocks of your bow. String up your bow. If it's a Dacron string, stretch that sucker!!! Then retie your knot. If it's FF, well, you don't have to worry about that nasty stretch. Mark where you want to serve, and put two "thread pulls" in the string. These are just paper clips bent so it has a tiny little hole to thread the serving through to pull through the string.
Start by pulling the thread through the string. Start wrapping below, and then up past, until you reach the top.
Angle your puller, wrap around three times, cut the end loose and put that in the loop.
Pull this through, making sure it pulls the other three wraps tight. There you have it. All done. Put a nock point on and away you go!