I have been an archer / bow hunter long enough to see certain trends and equipment come and go. I can assure you, however, that the string loop is no such trend. Of all of the ways to set a nock point on a bow string, the string loop is still king for anyone who shoots a release aid regardless of whether you are a hunter or competitive shooter.
The advantages to using a string loop are obvious and three-fold. First, you need not worry about premature serving wear from any style release aid. Second, arrow "nock pinch" when at full draw is completely eliminated. This will keep an arrow from falling off the bow string at full draw or the need to re-nock an arrow when a bow is drawn and then relaxed without firing. Third, it becomes virtually impossible to "torque" your bow string at full draw due to an improper anchor point or inflexible release aid.
Okay, so you are sold on shooting a loop. But, why not shoot one of those fancy metal loops on the market? Well, the answer is simple and also three-fold. First, a metal loop is heavy. You will lose no arrow speed when shooting a string loop, but you could lose as much as 6 to 10 feet per second in arrow speed when using a metal loop. Second, a metal loop can cause wear to a release aid, center serving and a bow cable/string during the "beyond brace" forward swing of the string when a bow is fired. Third, because a metal loop is not flexible, you lose the advantage of no longer being able to torque your bow string as with a string loop.
How to tie a string loop:
To begin tying a string loop you need some heavy nylon cord, a pair of scissors or knife, and a lighter. Personally, I buy my cord by the foot as it is much more affordable that way than buying pre-cut pieces of string loop cord. You can also buy the cord by the spool if you shoot a lot or tune bows for others. (Check your local archery shop or online archery retailer.)
Before you can tie the loop, you need to use a bow square to find where the loop should go on the bow string. Most people start with a nock point about 1/8" above center. Mark that point on the bow string with some White Out and keep the top knot of your string loop just above that mark as a reference. Now you can begin to tie.
- Step One: Cut the end off of a piece of nylon cord. This will allow you to fray the cord with your finger. Once the cord is frayed, you simply hold a lighter near the frayed material while rotating the cord. If done properly, this will form a large "burn ball" on the end of the nylon cord. This step is vital to ensure that the string loop does not pull off of the bow string.
- Step Two: Tie the nylon cord onto the bow string using a cow hitch knot. Cinch the knot tightly down against the burn ball at the end of the cord.
- Step Three: While keeping the cord on the same side of the bow string as the burn ball, loop the cord down, under, and back through the loop that is now formed.
- Step Four: Bring the nylon cord around the portion of the cord that is forming the loop, then down around the bowstring and back up through the newly formed "hole" in between the nylon cord and bowstring. This completes the second cow hitch knot.
- Step Five: Cut the tag end of the nylon cord to within 1/4" of the second cow hitch knot. Then fray the cord once again and create the second burn ball.
- Step Six: Tighten the second cow hitch knot down and insert a pair of needle-nose pliers into the formed loop. Then simply open the pliers inside of the loop using a moderate amount of force. Care should be taken to insure the pliers do not slip out of the loop.
Below is a short video clip showing the step-by-step instructions of tying a string loop.
Note: This clip is in .wmv format. You will have best results when downloading with Internet Explorer and viewing with Windows Media Player.
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