The recurve bow is characterized by its “D” shaped side-view profile. It’s different from others because when the bow is strung, the strings touch sections of its limbs. This bow’s tips curve away from the archer when unstrung, differentiating it from the simple longbow; and compared to a straight-limbed bow, a recurve bow gives a greater amount of cast to the arrow because it stores more energy. Recurve bows are also shorter than the simple bow, which makes them more preferable by archers in the forest terrain and while on horseback, since longer bows tend to be too bulky. Archers in the Olympics and various competitions now use modern recurve bows; and this is the only type of bow that is allowed in the Olympics.
In order to string a recurve bow, you must first purchase a bow stringer. These are used in order to avoid potential self-injury and damage to the bow’s limbs when stringing by hand. Make sure that you buy one specifically for recurve bows and not for longbows; it is also important to buy a stringer that fits your bow’s length and draw weight. “Pocket and Saddle” and “Double Pocket” stringers are the most common and recommended designs. Next, you will notice that the recurve stringer has two loops: one large loop on the left, and a smaller loop on the right. Slide the large loop through the upper limb of the bow; making sure that the string is positioned on the correct side. Then, fit on the notch of the lower limb the smaller loop, ensuring a snug fit.
The bow is in a relaxed position, which should allow the string to have plenty of slack. After that, over the tip of the lower limb, fit the stringer pocket. Some stringers have two pockets; the larger one fits the lower limb. The pocket must cover the small string loop because this keeps it secured in the groove. Wrapping a rubber band lightly around the pocket may help if the small string loop doesn’t feel secure in the groove. Next, for stringers with two pockets, place the smaller pocket over the tip of the upper limb. For stringers with leather or rubber pads called saddles, slide the saddle over the top limb and below the string loop on one end. The saddle should be positioned just behind the string loop, approximately 3 inches from the top. To reduce friction, the limb and dimpled surface should be pressed against each other. Take note that there are some saddles that could be secured against the bow, and there are others that will require you to hold them in place. Then, with your non-dominant hand, hold the bow grip horizontally. In this way, your dominant hand would be near the upper limb, keeping the loose string loop in place. Put the bow in a position where its limb tips would be pointed upward and the bowstring and stringer underneath. Next, lower the bow by bending at the waist. Only the stringer should be touching the ground. Step on the stringer using the balls of both feet, shoulder-width apart. Using the arches of your feet may cause the cord to slip. You may also use only one foot, but using both provides more stability especially for children and smaller adults. If you are using a saddle bow stringer, keep the saddle in place with your hand. After this, take the slack up in the bow stringer and ensure that your grip is secure in order to draw up on the bow. Prepare to pull upward, which will cause the bow limbs to bend back towards the ground. At the same time, slide the loose string loop upward. Continue sliding until the loose string fits the notch near the tip of the bow. Next, make sure that the string is secure in the groove by running your finger over the string loop. Then, gradually lower the bow until the stringer is relaxed. Make sure this step is done slowly. If not, a loose string might slip and hurl the limb into your face. Turn the bow quickly so the limbs face away from you and recheck the string loops. Step on the stringer again if they aren’t secure. For safety purposes, turn away from the string, keep your head back and don’t point the limbs to people nearby. Lastly, remove the bow stringer and rubber band if you used one on a previous step.