So, you’ve just purchased one of the best crossbows on the market and are ready to do some shooting. If you want to keep that crossbow working properly, though, you’ll need to learn how to maintain it. As with any machine that has moving parts, it’s going to need lubrication to operate smoothly. The bowstring of a crossbow holds tremendous amounts of tension, and the fibers it contains are sliding past each very quickly with every shot. Learning how to wax a crossbow string is probably the simplest thing you can do to extend the life of your crossbow and keep it shooting accurately.
But how often you need to wax it depends on how often you shoot and the environment the crossbow is stored in. To keep it in tip-top shape, it’s probably best to wax after every ten shots or so. Another good rule of thumb is that you should be able to feel the wax on the bowstring. It should be a little sticky, and if you’re not waxing often enough, you’ll notice some fraying (known as “wooling”).
Choosing Your Wax
For waxing your bowstring, you’ll want to use wax that is designed for it; don’t substitute something like candle wax, which has a much higher melting point and won’t provide the lubrication you’re looking for. Another aspect to consider is how the wax smells, as some brands put off a pungent, chemical scent. This is fine for target shooting, but if you’re hunting with a crossbow, any prey downwind of you will almost certainly smell it and turn tail long before they’re ever within your sight.
How to Wax a Crossbow String
The first step of actually waxing the crossbow is to remove as much of the old wax as possible. To do this, use a putty knife to remove any large chunks. Then, take a piece of dental floss, and tie a tight loop around your bowstring. Drag it down the string and watch the rest of the old, crusty wax peel off.
Applying the new wax is fairly simple, as most bowstring wax comes in stick form, similar to the glue sticks you may have used as a child. Just run the stick up and down the string and then rub your thumb and forefinger along it a few times. As you work the wax in, you’ll notice it getting softer as the heat from your hand causes it to melt – that’s how you know it’s working. You don’t want to overwax the string, though, as dirt and dust will adhere to it and destroy its lubricating properties. Give the string a quick wipe with a clean cloth to get rid of any excess wax before putting your crossbow away. One important thing to note is that you should only apply wax to areas of exposed string, not to the serving. These are the sections of bowstring that are wrapped with an additional thread to prevent abrasion, and waxing them will actually just cause them to fall apart.
Learning how to wax a crossbow string will help keep your equipment in good condition and shooting accurately for years to come. It will also save you money over time, since maintaining the equipment you have is much less expensive than buying new stuff.
If you prefer a visual tutorial of how to wax your bow string, check out this video for helpful tips.