Stringing a horn composite bow

How do you string a hornbow? Heavy weight hornbows can be quite the challenge to string, but bows up to 50/60 pounds can be strung fairly easy, sometimes even by using the step through stringing method.

My favourite method of stringing the horn composite is by bending the bow over the knees and have a helper put the string in the nock. It requires some technique to master, but when done right you string a bow in no time.

Before applying this method it is important that the bow is ‘pre bend’ a couple of times to get it ‘warmed up’. this can be done by putting the knees on the belly  (like in the first picture) and slowly start bending the bow a couple of times. you can put the knee where the the bow is supposed to bend.

Especially after periods where the bow has been unstrung for a long time, and has has regained considerable set back again, it is wise to warm up the bow before stringing.


Once the bow has been ‘warmed up’, the stringing process can begin. Make sure the string is nocked on one side of the bow, and fixate the loop with your hand. The rest of the string you lay on your lap, or hold in your mouth, just make sure there is no tension on the string. Nobody is allowed to stand in front of the bow during the stringing process, so choose carefully where you string the bow!

My preferred hand position  of holding the bow limb is under the bow like you see in the pictures. You can can also hold the hands on top of the bow limb. For me it works better with the hands under the bow, it gives me more control and a better overview.

When pulling the bow back make sure to use your body instead of your arms. In the beginning you have to use your arms, but by using your body by swinging back, holding your arms straight, makes it much easier to keep the forces under control.

Furthermore, the risk of injuring yourself by straining a muscle is much lower.

In case the bow has a deeply reflexed handle section, special care has to be taken at the beginning of the bend: the bow can easily flip over.


When the bow is sufficiently bend the helper can take the loose end of the string and slide it over the tip into the nock. Make sure the string is fully placed into the nock, and on the stringbridge before releasing any tension! (Also check the other nock)

The person that is helping should always stand on the side, and never in front of you! 


Make sure the string is in the nock and in  line with the bow before releasing any tension! When you release the tension and let the bow come back, leave your hands rest firmly on the contact point between bow and string. Look for any twist or unbalance and adjust it properly.


Imbalance can be adjusted like  the two pictures below:


Twist can be dealt with by forcing the limb in the opposite direction until the bow is stable. When forcing the bow limbs sideways, hand position should always be there where the string contacts the bow! Make sure the string does not slide off this position!


Hornbows can behave differently according to different weather conditions. It is important to always have an eye on the stability of the the bow.

Stringing the bow with Tepeliks and a Peg Board

Stringing aids like tepeliks are usually meant for stringing bows that have a large amount of reflex in the handle section, or for very heavy bows. They are also used when the bow is strung for the first time.

Once the bow has ‘learned’ where it should bend, tepeliks are not necessary. However in combination with a pegboard it can be much less nerve wracking, especially for bows with a lot of reflex in the handle section.


No knots necessary!


Again, no knots necessary!