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  1. #1
    Senior Member labradort's Avatar
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    Bow string thickness at serving and nock size

    I am really surprised with the lack of information provided when shopping for arrows with supplied nocks or recurve bow strings. I'm only dabbling with a hand-me-down recurve, not someone with competitive archery background. Yet the way things work for ordering archery supplies is random.

    My wife's recurve has been working fine with the default string supplied and with arrows and nocks coming from several different sources. When I bought a new string for my hand-me-down at a local shop, I expected it could work with her arrows. Not the case. Each time the arrow releases, there is a loud twang as the nock comes off the serving of the bow string. Tried a few types of arrows and it happens with all. Obviously the string is too fat.

    Best solution is to replace the string rather than arrows.

    I think the model of the new string from the local store is the Great Northern Recurve bow string, as sold at Cabelas.

    https://www.cabelas.ca/product/46079...rve-bow-string

    It says it is 16 strand, but what size of nock does it fit? I saw one arrow ordering site which permitted selection of the nocks. There were 6 or 7 different selections, all with brand and vague S or L or something else. No idea which would work with a 16 strand bow string. Most arrow ordering sites did not offer a nock selection.

    I check multiple online sources for this, like Canada archery supply, amazon, and other Canadian suppliers. Only clue about the thickness is number of strands in the string. You can get 12, 14, 16, etc. How do I know if my nock will match it nicely? There is no specification on the width. When I look up the places where some of the arrows were ordered, there was nothing on the forms to select the nock width.

    I took an arrow to a different store in the region with archery supply. They didn't have much in stock for recurve bow string. So I'm ordering a 12 strand string off Amazon, hoping it will work, but who knows - maybe I'd be better off with 14?

    I've seen that a person can make their own string and serving, but I'm not going there. Archery is just something I would do for fun.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Aniest's Avatar
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    I am no master archer, so take this with a shovel full of salt...

    I have a full wood (not take down) one piece recurve as well. I use L "Y-nocks" on a 16 strand string with one thickness layer of serving. Normal 'V-nocks' are used on compound bows and cross bows where there may be some delay between full potential energy (pull) and full kinetic energy (release): the arrow needs to 'hang onto' the string in that case. It's not needed on a recurve because you should not be looking at 'attaching' the nock to a string on a recurve unless it's a fancy Olympic competition type with 'technical' shooting OR has a full hunting whisker biscuit rest type.

    Y nock example: https://www.vermilarchery.com/products/y-nocks-0-246

    You can get the "thwack" from the nock being too small (arrow ripping off the string) or being too big (string slapping the back of the nock). String strand count is based on the pull weight of the bow, and thus gives you thickness (from my cheat sheet - will also depend on how many layers of serving on the string):

    10 strand B50 Dacron( or 8 strands Dacrogen) for bows up to 30lbs, uses a 'S' nock
    12 strands B50 Dacron( or 10 strands Dacrogen)for bows up to 40lbs, uses a 'M' nock
    14 strands B50 Dacron( or 12 strands Dacrogen)for bows up to 60lb, uses a 'M' or 'L' nock (Most common for 55lb recurves)
    16 strands B50 Dacron( or 16 strands Dacrogen)for bows of over 60lb weight, uses a 'L' or 'XL' nock
    18 strands B50 Dacron( or 18 strands Dacrogen)for European war bows or Mongol Horse bows of heaviest weight (90lbs +), uses a 'XL' or 'XLp' nock (the 'p' meaning "special")

    Similar info: https://www.quicksarchery.co.uk/Bow-String-Guide

    I haven't actually bough strings or nocks in years, as I have lots of spares. Otherwise, I would point you to somewhere.
    Last edited by Aniest; 04-02-2023 at 06:45 PM. Reason: added recurve description
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    labradort (04-03-2023)

  4. #3
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    I've ordered a few things from Canada archery online. I can't help you with string size vs knock, but might be worth looking at their site. Both times I ordered they shipped next day, not like gun sites now a days.

  5. #4
    Senior Member labradort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aniest View Post
    You can get the "thwack" from the nock being too small (arrow ripping off the string) or being too big (string slapping the back of the nock). String strand count is based on the pull weight of the bow, and thus gives you thickness (from my cheat sheet - will also depend on how many layers of serving on the string):

    10 strand B50 Dacron( or 8 strands Dacrogen) for bows up to 30lbs, uses a 'S' nock
    12 strands B50 Dacron( or 10 strands Dacrogen)for bows up to 40lbs, uses a 'M' nock
    14 strands B50 Dacron( or 12 strands Dacrogen)for bows up to 60lb, uses a 'M' or 'L' nock (Most common for 55lb recurves)
    16 strands B50 Dacron( or 16 strands Dacrogen)for bows of over 60lb weight, uses a 'L' or 'XL' nock
    18 strands B50 Dacron( or 18 strands Dacrogen)for European war bows or Mongol Horse bows of heaviest weight (90lbs +), uses a 'XL' or 'XLp' nock (the 'p' meaning "special")
    This cheat sheet isn't listed anywhere I've seen, so that's handy. I saw information on the lbs rating on places selling the strings, but anything technical about the width size or nocks it would mate with isn't shown. Maybe people see it like "find out what sort of ammo your gun likes", but to my mind, it's something that should be measurable, like the standards for rifle cartridges.

    The British site you listed did say 12 strand was the most common, so hopefully this turns out to fit what I've ordered. In my neck of the woods we've seen 3 guys with grey beards and decades of this knowledge drop out of the scene. One closed the store he ran from his basement and sold the inventory to some young guys with only 1/2 the clue, another guy at another store just died, and the previous head of the archery section at the shooting club has stepped down.

    I can see now why Canadian Tire doesn't get into this past the "youth bow" stage. It's more complicated than it would seem. It's a sport where experience and knowledge are vast, and the people who sell it really need to compliment it with services like arrow cutting, compound bow adjustment, etc.

  6. #5
    Senior Member 3MTA3's Avatar
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    Late to the thread but what is the brace height?
    "You Cannot Comply Your Way Out of Tyranny"

  7. #6
    Senior Member labradort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3MTA3 View Post
    Late to the thread but what is the brace height?
    Thanks for the response. I'm seeing 8.5 inches on a bow that's 62 inches AMO. That seems to be in spec with a website I found.

    What's your thought on that?

  8. #7
    Senior Member 3MTA3's Avatar
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    For me- i always adjust the brace height to get good flight-good straight flight -no "fishtailing" it is highly variable-If the height is too low- it will interfere with paradox. if too high, you lose speed and the draw becomes harsh.- Tune the brace height by trial and error, but it it is too low, you may get "thumping" or "twanging" - 7.5" seems quite high. For me "fistmele" ( old term for brace height is often judged by placing a "thumbs up" against the belly of the bow handle and setting it close to the tip of the thumb- (more for long bow but close for recurve- YMMV)

    fistmele
    noun

    A traditional unit of distance equal to the width of a clenched fist with the thumb extended (approx. 6 inches or 16 centimetres).about seven inches; the breadth of a fist with the thumb stuck out (used especially in archery to give the correct distance of the string from the bow)
    fistmele.jpgmaybe a starting point- you can adjust by twisting /untwisting ( i realize you probably already know this!- just trying to be clear!)
    "You Cannot Comply Your Way Out of Tyranny"

  9. #8
    Senior Member labradort's Avatar
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    I came to the conclusion the serving was too thick when comparing it with my wife's recurve. The nock is just lightly snug with her bow, but it goes in and out with a "ting" sound just pushing it by hand for my bow. Tested several arrows from different makes and they are the same. I have another string that's only 12 strand that I found online, but yet to test it. It just seems bizarre that the arrows from 3 or 4 sources all came with narrow nocks, but the string makers don't provide a spec on the serving thickness.

    When I talked to the guys at Bass Pro, they suggested putting the nock in hot water and then shaping it looser on the string's serving. I think it's simpler to find a string like my wife's bow uses.

    The parallel issue in guns would be like ammunition being all about the barrel chamber width and never mind the rest of the shape of the cartridge. But we know all the dimensions are important so this doesn't become a problem with ammo aside from some feeding path issues in some firearms.

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