Why you shouldn’t wax the serving of your string

One of the main things archers always mention is that you should never wax the serving of your string. The funny thing is however that every blog has different reasons for it. Therefore in this article I want to give you a clear answer on why you shouldn’t wax your string.

I don’t want to force you to read this entire article just for this answer, so I will quickly explain why. You shouldn’t wax the serving of the string because it’s simply not necessary. The material doesn’t require wax and the fibers below it are protected by the serving. If the serving frays or fluff, you probably need to replace the serving. Waxing the serving will only cause more problems than it solves.

In the next section I will discuss the reasons mentioned above in detail. I will also discuss what you should do if you have already waxed your serving, and how you should maintain your serving. So if you are interested, continue reading!

Why you shouldn’t wax the serving

When I was just getting into archery I searched online and only found answers on archery forums. But for some reason every archer had a different reason, why you shouldn’t wax the string. Now I have way more experience with archery, I would like to discuss and explain if these reasons are really true.

The serving might come loose

Some archers believe that you shouldn’t wax the string because the serving might come lose. They say that the wax makes the string extra slippery and will therefore make the serving come lose. I don’t really see how that really happens, because the serving is wound tightly around the string. Therefore there are no real gaps where the wax can slip under the string. If you very forcefully apply wax it might happen, because you rub against the string. When the serving is wound loosely rubbing hard against it might cause it to unravel. But in general I don’t really believe this is the reason.

The serving will become slippery

For recurve archers, grip on the string is very important. Indeed, a well waxed string is more slippery than a bare one; the same is true for the serving. Therefore this is a good reason for recurve archers to not wax the middle serving of the bow. But also compound archers shouldn’t wax there string, so why is that.

It will attract dirt and sand

Another reason some archers mention is that the wax will attract dirt and sand. This is true; wax is sticky so it will attract dirt and sand. But so will the wax on the string and we still apply wax to the bowstring. So there must be other reasons why we don’t want to wax the bowstring.

Wax tends to pile up on the serving

Some archers mention that the wax tends to pile up in the serving and is hard to remove. Which again is true, since the serving is wound against the string it has little groves which will be difficult to remove the wax from. Even on the string it can be quite hard to remove all the wax.

The real reason why you shouldn’t wax your string

If you read the intro of this article, my answer will not be a surprise. We simply don’t wax the string because it’s necessary. It’s like buying a beach umbrella for your palm tree. You protect it to something that isn’t an issue and it will probably perform less because of it.

The material used in bowstrings is made of natural fibers like: linen, hemp, sinew and silk. These natural materials will start to fray if you don’t take proper care. Therefore we have to keep these materials ‘’greasy’’ to keep it from fluffing.

The material used in serving however is made of synthetic materials like nylon. These synthetic materials don’t have to be waxed, because they will not start to fluff when exposed to the elements. Serving made from these materials will only start to fray if it is damaged or worn out.

The string below the serving is protected by the serving and should therefore be in perfect shape. If you have an old string you should see that the string behind the serving is like you just bought it.

What if I already waxed my serving?

If you have already waxed your string, you might think: ‘’what should I do?’’ As I have already sad waxing the string can cause some problems, but in general they tend to be a bit exaggerated by the archery community. If you have waxed your serving, it might attract more dirt and be more difficult to get a good grip on it. Therefore it is a good idea to remove as much as you can. Here are a few tips:

  • Use a string and run it down the serving. You will see that it will capture the large chucks of wax. When you are waxing the string this technique is often used to remove access wax, therefore it will not remove everything
  • Gently rub the serving between your fingers. The serving will not absorb the wax, but will repel it. If you have dry fingers you can use your fingers to remove some wax, but you might have to do this a lot of times. An old piece of dry leather might also work. Don’t rub to hard on the serving, because you might cause it to unwind.
  • Replace the serving of your bow. If you really experience issues with the wax on your serving, you might want to remove the serving and replace it. Serving is inexpensive and a roll last a lifetime, I would recommend this serving thread from Amazon.

If you, however, don’t experience any issues with the wax on you serving, you shouldn’t worry about it. It will not really harm the serving or cause erratic behavior while shooting.

How to maintain for your serving?

So we know have firmly established that we shouldn’t wax the serving. But how do we maintain the serving to its optimal state. The good news is that serving is very strong and is often very resistant against abrasion. I have never needed to replace the serving, before I needed to replace the entire string. There are however some cases which may cause the serving to be damaged. If your serving is not applied correctly it can also easily unravel.

How to fix loose serving

Sometimes, the serving of your bow might come loose. The serving might still be intact, but the end of the serving starts to unravel. In those cases, you can easily fix your serving by tying an end knot. In the video below, I explain how.

How to repair the serving on your bow

If your serving has a cut, or is damaged in any other way, you often don’t have to worry about it. You only have to replace it if the string below it is exposed or if it prevents you from firing correctly. Sadly there is no way to patch up a serving, if it’s damaged you have undo it and start from scratch. If you need to replace the serving I would recommend watching the video below.

How to prevent the serving from unraveling

If you however see that the serving is slowly coming loose you don’t have to completely start over. You can tie it down with a simple knot and with a bit of superglue it will not come loose again. Make sure that the glue only touches the serving and not the string. It will not bind on the string and may cause damage.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section down below.

Tim van Rooijen

For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by archery. First due to its historic significance but later because I like being outdoors. With this blog, I share my knowledge about Archery and how you can improve your shot. More about author…

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