Bow String

A knotted medieval crossbow Bow String, full length from sinew.

Knotted Medieval Crossbow Bow String

Medieval bow string was made with Oflinen, hemp, other vegetable fibers, sinew, silk, or rawhide and are very thick. the crossbow bow string are also heavily waxed to protect them from humidity and to make them water resistant. A wet sinew string might stretch substantially.

Today, a crossbow bow string is usually made from synthetic fibers such as Dacron which has a 22.5 Kg SPS (strength per strand) and 2.6% stretch which=h is quite low. Dacron bow string is easy to maintain and will last several years.



in order for the crossbow bolt receives sufficient energy when its fired the bow string of a crossbow should be extremely stiff,

Medieval crossbow bow string draw length where usually relatively short, between 5 to 11 inch, to maintain a short stock, which creates a mobile weapon. In addition the steel bows where short as well and could not be bent that much.

A used continuous loop medieval crossbow Bow String in white

Continuous Loop Medieval Crossbow Bow String


There are two reliable methods for doing a good bow string.

  1. A continuous loop string
  2. A knotted string

The continuous loop string has a prominent disadvantage, it has only half the thickness at the ends (the loops) and where considered less strong. On the other hand, the “knotted” string is much stronger as the loops at the end are the same thickness as the string itself

Continuous Bow String

Continuous Bow String

Excessively thick or thin bow string may have misfire problems. The string should NOT be less than about 50 percent the thickness of the quarrel, or noticeably thicker than the quarrel.

The best shooting bows will have very little string drag on the top of the stock, as drag wears the serving and eats power. String drag does produce a quieter bow. Lubricating the top of your stock will reduce the deleterious effects of string drag, as well as increasing power, accuracy, and string life. I prefer modern spray silicone for this. Graphite makes a mess. Tallow or bees wax works pretty well, once it’s worked in, and that’s probably what was used in period.


In mediaeval pictures, the string of the crossbow is often represented with the same thickness at its looped ends as at its center. This suggests that in old days, the string was taken its full thickness round each extremity of the bow, and that the ends of the string were then knotted or wrapped, to secure them and form the necessary loops.

Bow String Loop strengthening

Bow String Loop strengthening

Today, the materials used to create string are synthetic and much more stronger than medieval times so either one will could be used for last longing results.

A continuous loop medieval crossbow Bow String end loop

Continuous Loop Medieval Crossbow Bow String Tip

String Safety

The string should not be wear and all serving should be intact. In addition the bow string should not have any broken strands. A bow string with broken strands will cause erratic shooting and misfires.

How To Make A Crossbow

How To Make A Crossbow

Continue reading on the following:

Medieval Crossbow  |  Bow  |  Roller Nut  |  Trigger  |  Stirrup  |  Stock  |  Bow String  |  Bolts  |  How To Make A Crossbow

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