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Crafting the Flemish String


Other Documents (cited in this text)


B50 Strand Requirements

The table below incates how many strands of B50 Dacron the final string should contain based on the draw weight of the bow.

Bow Weight

(In pounds)

Strands of B50 Dacron

20 - 30 8
25 - 35 10
35 - 45 12
45 - 55 14
55 - 80 16


The formula show below is used to compute the length of the string and the string jig dimension for doing the wraps



Bow Length (AMO) 64
MINUS 3" for Long Bow bracing
( 4" for Recurve Bow )
- 3

ADD 16" for Braids + 16

EQUALS Length of Strands 77

EQUALS Jig post-to-post Length 38 ½


General Instructions for Crafting the String

  1. Prepare and Cut Bundles

    Using the table and formula above, prepare and cut the bundles of B50 to the appropriate length. (It is assumed you are making a traditional two-color Flemish string. Keep the strands of the same color in their own "bundle".)

    See the pages Flemish String Jig Construction and Using the Flemish String Jig for information on how to build a simple jig and utilize it to get the bundles of B50 prepared and cut properly.

    Also, I've added information about building a smaller, compact jig which takes the math out of figuring out how long the strands need to be. You can review the pages Construction of the Compact Flemish Jig and Using the Compact Flemish Jig for information on how to build and use that jig.

  2. Wax the Strings

    Heavily wax each bundle - especially the last 8 - 10 inches of each end.

  3. Braid for the First Loop

    Grab the two colored bundles in your left hand between thumb and forefingers. Leave 8" to the right and the remainder to your left.

    Grab one of the colored bundles and, using your right hand, twist the individual strands towards you. (NOTE: if you were to move your head to the right and look down the strands towards your left hand you would see you are TWISTING in a counter-clockwise direction)

    Twist tightly and work the twist towards the 8" end (to the right). Now, take the this twisted color bundle and braid it over the top of the other bundle and away from you. (NOTE: if you were to move your head to the right and look down the bundles towards your left hand you would see you are BRAIDING in a clockwise direction.)

    Grab the other colored bundle and twist the strands TOWARDS (counter-clockwise) you as you did with the first color.

    Once this color is twisted tight, braid it over the top and AWAY from you (clockwise).

    Repeat this twisting-and-braiding, alternating colors until you have braided about 3". Use your thumb and fingers on the left hand to hold the braided bundles tight as you braid. The tighter the braid - the better the final appearance of the Flemish will be.

  4. Make the Loop

    Fold the braided section in half to form the loop.

    What you should have now is the two long bundles (one of each color) and two "tails" (one of each color). Lay each "tail" along its similiar colored bundle and smooth each tail into its bundle. Do one tail then the other. You're NOT braiding in each tail - your merely grabbing the tail and its bundle at the loop junction and rubbing them down the length of the bundle to get the wax warmed up to have the tail adhere to the bundle.

    Hold the junction at the base of the loop in your left hand with the loop to the left and the two standing ends off to the right. (Each standing end has the tail of a color "wax welded" to its same colored bundle.

  5. Braid in the Two Colors of the First End

    The "twist and braid" technique here is identical to what you did in Step 3 (Braid for the Loop) - so if you got that down pat, you're in the home stretch ...

    Grab one of the standing ends and twist the tail and bundle (of the same color) TOWARDS you (counter-clockwise). After its twisted tight, braid it away and over the top of (clockwise) the other standing end (tail and bundle of the other color).

    Grab the other color's standing end, twist its tail and bundle TOWARDS you (counter-clockwise) - and then braid it away from you and over (clockwise) the first color.

    Repeat this twisting and braiding, alternating standing ends until you pass the point where the tails end. "Pass the point" meaning go about 2 - 3 braids past the end of the tails to help keep them tight.

    Take a small (3" or so) single strand of B50 and tie an overhand knot around the Flemish string where you ended your braiding. This will keep this end of your bowstring from unraveling while you work on the other end.

  6. Stretch and Even-up the Standing Ends

    Put your completed loop around the post of the string jig. If you don't have a string jig - place it over a nail in a board. Pull the two colored standing ends away from the post or nail together. Use an equal amount of tension while pulling on each standing end and pull them tight a few times. If you don't apply equal tension you will end up with a finished Flemish string that has one of the colored strings bearing a lot more weight than the other.

  7. Braid for the Second Loop

    Measure 8" down from the end of the standing ends and repeat the "twist and braid" process just as in Step 3. Do this until you've completed a 3" braid.

  8. Make the Second Loop

    Make the second loop in the same manner that you made the first one as described in Step 4.

  9. Braid in the Two Colors of the Second End

    Complete your Flemish Bowstring by braiding in the two colored bundle/tail pairs as desribed in Step 5.

  10. Heavily Wax

    Heavily wax the completed string. Be sure to wax from the loops towards the center to help "weld" in the braiding.

  11. Serve

    Serve in an area of about 7 - 8 inches. For placement, look at your old bowstring. Keep in mind the following points when deciding where the serving goes on the string:

    • The center point of the bow, in relation to the arrow rest. Usually the bow's center point is at the center point of the handle.
    • How you shoot the bow. Three fingers split or three fingers below.
    • The size of your hands.

Place the newly crafted Flemish String on the bow and adjust the brace height to the desired/appropriate measurement. Too increase brace height, twist the string tighter. To decrease, untwist the string. Be sure to excercise the string a few times after you restring the bow with it to stretch it and let the fibers settle in before taking the brace height measurement. After you've established the desired brace height, add your nocking device at the appropriate place.

Periodically recheck the brace height of your new string. New Flemish strings will take a few outings to "settle in" as the fibers and braids are stretched. Eventually they'll settle to an equilibrium and brace height will stop dropping.