Confused about string twists and serving direction.

Robbie Nude

Member
After reading several forum posts and watching some YouTube videos I'm left a little confused particularly about serving direction.

But first I'd like to be clear about direction of string twists. I'm a right-handed archer and have always twisted clockwise . . . and just to make this clear - - - if the 'far end' of the string is held static I twist the 'near end' in a clockwise direction from my viewpoint of looking along the string towards the 'far end'. Should I be doing it in this direction?

Now, a bit more confusion --- I read and hear it said that serving should be done in the same direction at all places on the string, BUT watching just one of the videos the top nock serving was done by going below the string away and back over the top of the string toward the server ( and serving from the loop in towards the centre of the string -- working from his left to his right). He then transferred to the bottom loop, stood in the same orientation to the string and proceeded to serve in exactly the same way as he had done the top loop serving. I've re-played this several times in my head, visualising the string as if it were going away from me with the bottom loop nearest my eye - - - the bottom loop serving is going in a clockwise direction in relation to my eye, while at the other end of the string the top loop serving is going in an anti-clockwise direction in relation to my eye. Of course, if I visualise the string from the top loop it is doing exactly the same thing (in an opposite kind of way?) --- the top loop serving clockwise, the bottom anti-clockwise.

So, I'm asking if that is the correct way to serve (as I've described above) ???

. . . and, given that I twist clockwise should I be serving under the string and away and back over the top toward me while working from my left to my right - - - OR should I be doing it the other way ???

Thanks in advance for all your great answers!
 

DaveJW

New member
Hi Robbie,

You should always ensure that when you release the string the string twists and the centre serving are both tightening. You need the twist and serve to be in the direction that achieves this.
 

ben tarrow

Well-known member
if the 'far end' of the string is held static I twist the 'near end' in a clockwise direction from my viewpoint of looking along the string towards the 'far end'. Should I be doing it in this direction?
From the book of archery myths and mythinformathion
You should always put half the twists in from each end, otherwise you'll end up with more twists at the top of the string that at the bottom :) (I was told this in seriousness by one self proclaimed expert)

Right handed archers should twist the string clockwise (as viewed from above) because as you draw the bow, you might roll the string slightly, resulting in adding one or two twists to the top of the string and losing a similar number from the bottom (is one twist REALLY going to make a jot of difference?)
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
If you put a string on a bow and twist it at the served section you will put extra twists into the string either above or below the served section, and remove the same number of twists at the other end of the served section. So the extra twists will tighten that part of the string and the untwisting will loosen the other part. Same applies to the serving, if the part below your fingers tightens, the part above is loosened.
When you are making a string and are serving it, serving with the direction of the twists in the string, does seem more "natural" as the working end of the serving thread winds round the twists of the string, it seems to lay the strands in better. Going in the opposite direction seems to encourage the string strands to lift out of position.
But I guess some string makers will find that they can manage the string strands whichever way they serve over them.
 

Whitehart

Well-known member
If it is a well made string and tied off securely/properly it makes no difference another marketing myth.
Out of curiosity as a LH archer and for a month I shot so called RH & LH strings and followed all the twist directions and it made no difference to arrow flight or scores.
The key is always a well made string and storing it correctly so as not to bend or damage the servings.
 

albatross

Supporter
Supporter
Describing 'Far end' and 'Near end' does not help in identifying which loop your are referring to. Some archers unbrace the bow and twist the lower loop. I unbrace the bow, and being being right-handed I unhitch the top loop to add or remove string twists. Which means I twist anti-clockwise to add twists.
 

Rik

Supporter
Supporter
You know, I always assumed that "direction of serving" thing was bunk... I've not seen anything to challenge that assumption in 20+ years of making strings.
Apart from anything else, I suspect I end up with the serving going in opposite directions above and below the nocking point (since it's served in in two steps)...
 

Robbie Nude

Member
Describing 'Far end' and 'Near end' does not help in identifying which loop your are referring to.
You're right !!! . . . That was a bit vague. The main reason I add twists is usually for achieving correct bracing height, so I un-brace the bow which means that the top loop stays on the top limb (slid down) and I remove the bottom loop and proceed to twist clockwise from the bottom loop which I realise means anti-clockwise from the point of view from the top loop.

In all the years I've been shooting I've never really given this much consideration and I have to agree with Rik (and others) that the direction of twist has never been an issue with my shooting . . . at least not that I've noticed.

The reason I started this thread is because I'm about to re-commence making my own strings and this issue (if it really is an issue?) has been mentioned in some comments I've read and in some videos I've viewed.

Many years ago I made my own strings on my homemade 4 post jig and without the aid of a serving tool -- I served the strings by hand -- I can't remember exactly how I did that but all my strings were useable without any issues and twist and serving direction never occurred to me back then. This time I WILL be using a serving tool
 

Robbie Nude

Member
Thank you ThomVis!

A picture speaks a thousand words. Your image pretty much answers my questions about serving directions.
 
Regardless of clockwise/counterclockwise twists (has no impact on shooting, especially with fingers based on what I was told by an Olympic gold medalist)

I actually serve mine the opposite directions to what Thomvis has on his graphic... primary concern being that if you increase the twists in the string, that it should tighten the serving.. The way I envision this is that I want my serving to cross the string strands during construction..


This video helped me immensely, even theough the quality isn?t great.

https://youtu.be/50TF2sM-1UQ

Tom
 

ThomVis

Member
The way I envision this is that I want my serving to cross the string strands during construction.
If you twist your string so much that the string strands are almost perpendicular to the string itself (and the serving can get in between the stands) you should consider getting a shorter string. Otherwise the serving will always cross the string stands, albeit at a slight angle.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
MMMmmmm?? I wondered what is meant by " crossing the string strands", too. I can't see any way that the serving wouldn't cross the string strands.
 

4d4m

Active member
Is there a difference relative to the twists in the serving thread itself? One way might have a tendency to untwist the strands of the serving thread and the other might tighten them up.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
When a string is served, there is a huge amount of friction produced between the string strands and each other; between the serving wraps and each other; and between the serving and the string strands. It is almost as if all the strands( string and serving) are locked together as a single item.
Nothing much can move in any direction, unless the whole part of the string moves or is twisted. If the wraps are served loosely against each other, but tight round the string, the serving can sometimes spread apart at the nocking point; or at the point on a cam where there is flexing of the serving.
I unpicked an old compound bow string that I had made a few years earlier. I had made it with twists in the string first , and served it over those twists. When in use, I had to untwist the string as it was too short, otherwise. I shot it like that for a couple of years. When I unpicked it, the string, under the serving was twisted as it was when made. There was no untwisting under the serving, beyond the first wrap or two.
 

ThomVis

Member
There was no untwisting under the serving, beyond the first wrap or two.
And those first wraps are important in whether a serving will come undone or not when the string is twisted. When you serve the "wrong" way and twist the string, the tension on the tag end will diminish, creating slack, which causes more loss of tension, etc. etc.
So you want the serving in the direction you are most likely to twist the string after applying the serving. In most cases that will be adding more twist because the string stretches during use.
It is almost as if all the strands( string and serving) are locked together as a single item.
Which makes other arguments like finger pressure from recurve shooters or which way the serving crosses the string stands less important IMHO. Apply serving tight enough and make sure your string doesn't twist when applying the serving (like in de video mentioned) and you have nothing to worry about.
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Hi ThomVis, Yes indeed, the last few winds are vital to keeping the serving together. The length of the tying in at the end of the serving, and the tension of the winding needs to be kept up. That's the bit that is done by hand, and it is easy enough to get a bit slack. Also the tightness of each wrap against the next one needs to be as close as possible. I tend to serve uphill so the wraps naturally fall close together; but it also reminds me to stay tight to each other.
I know some stringmakers who rub glue into the ends of their servings so they can't separate from each other.
 

ben tarrow

Well-known member
primary concern being that if you increase the twists in the string, that it should tighten the serving.
Thats the whole point of serving in the same direction as the twists on the string, so that the serving tightens as you add more twists to the string.
If you cause the opposite, ie the serving to become slacker as you add more twists, then the serving will eventually undo.
I've seen that happen myself when people have twisted the string in the wrong direction
 

geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
When we first start serving a string, as in the video, the tag end is placed along the string ahead of the windings that will cover it. Then we wind on some serving for a distance we consider, "enough" and then pull the tag end to take up the slack. If you watch closely when you do this for yourself, as the tag end is pulled, the first thing to happen is the slack is reduced, as expected, until all the slack is taken up. If, however, you keep on pulling the tag end, with pliers for example, you will see that pulling further causes more of the serving thread to be pulled inside the windings. Keep pulling and you will see that the first wrap of serving slowly seems to unwind and disappear inside the rest of the serving.
At least, that is what happens if the first few windings that are done by hand (before using the serving tool) are a bit loose. What can happen is, the pulling in of the tag end gets rid of the slack, first. Then the tag end seems to resist further pulling, so we stop. The resistance felt on the tag end is mainly caused by the later windings, that are easier to keep the tension on. The first few windings, which are a bit of a fiddle, can be looser than the rest. If those few windings are loose, the serving can be unwound fairly easily. After that, the others can gradually become loose.
Some string makers pass the tag end between the strands of the actual bow string before serving over it. That makes it easier to keep a good tension on the serving right from the start. The slack can be pulled in after just a few windings, and that creates enough friction to prevent any loosening. More serving over the tag end just improves things even more.
 
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