What does Twisting my Cables do to my Bow


When you get deep into tuning your bow it can be easy to get lost in what twist does what to the bow, even I need to remind myself of it every now and then. But lucky for you this post is going to clear all that confusion up so you will never be stuck again.

In this post we will be discussing what exactly happens when you add or take out a twist in your strings and cables in relation to what kind of cam you have on your bow. The points we will be discussing are as follows

  • Draw Length
  • % holding weight at full draw
  • Draw Weight
  • ATA

Now that we know what we’re going to talk about, let’s talk about it!

Draw Length

This is the first thing you would probably suspect to change of you mess with your string, what I didn’t realise is messing with your cables can also change your draw length. So if you ever time your bow and then feel like your draw length is off that’d be why!

So we know twisting your strings and cables effects your draw length but in what way? Simply putting twists into your string makes your draw length shorter and taking twists out of your string makes it longer. But for your cables it’s a different story. Putting twists into your cables will increase your draw length and taking twists out of your cables will decrease your draw length.

It’s a weird one I know, how I remember is that for cables it’s just the opposite of the string. Took me and a couple of mates a while to figure that one out.

From now on in this post I will be displaying the info clearly after I talk about it, so if you just want the info here it is.

How is my draw length effected?

Cam TypeStringCables
TwistUntwistTwistUntwist
Twin CamsDecreaseIncreaseIncreaseDecrease
Solo CamDecreaseIncreaseIncreaseDecrease
Cam & HalfDecreaseIncreaseIncreaseDecrease

% Holding weight at full draw

This one took a while… if you’re very particular with your set up ( which you should be ) you should know what your holding weight is. Now you can change your holding weight drastically by changing your percentage let off mod, usually it can be in the range to 75% to 65%. But when messing with your cables it’ll only change it ever so slightly maybe by 1%-3% nothing crazy.

But what actually happens, well putting twists into your main string will increase the percentage of holding weight and taking twists out will decrease the percentage of holding weight at full draw. With your cables it’s again the opposite putting twists into your cables will decrease the percentage of holding weight at full draw and you guessed it, taking twists out of the cables will increase the percentage.

How is my % Holding weight affected?

Cam TypeStringCables
TwistUntwistTwistUntwist
Twin CamsIncreaseDecreaseDecreaseIncrease
Solo CamIncreaseDecreaseDecreaseIncrease
Cam & HalfIncreaseDecreaseDecreaseIncrease

Draw Weight

As well as effecting holding weight it also affects your poundage over all. Have you ever maxed out your limb pocket turns and your bow still isn’t at 60 pounds, well this is why.

When twists are added to the main string then your overall poundage goes down and the opposite of that is true when twists are taken out of the main string then your poundage will go up. And you guessed it again the polar opposite is true for the cables. Putting twists into your cables will increase your draw weight and taking them out will decrease it.

That’s usually the main reason why when your limb pockets are maxed out and your bow isn’t hitting 60 pounds or even is over 60 pounds.

How is my draw weight affected?

Cam TypeStringCables
TwistUntwistTwistUntwist
Twin CamsDecreaseIncreaseIncreaseDecrease
Solo CamDecreaseIncreaseIncreaseDecrease
Cam & HalfDecreaseIncreaseIncreaseDecrease

Axel to Axel

And last but not least the axel to axel length. This can be off putting and the more you mess around with the cables the more your ATA may be off by. Before I talk about what string makes it longer or shorter I’m going to talk about how your bow feels when the ATA is longer or shorter than it should be. When your Axel is shorter your bow is going to feel more aggressive, the angle of the string up against your face at full draw is going to be smaller. The change is noticeable when you switch from a 38″ ATA to a 40″ ATA. Now I’d be impressed if you changed your ATA by 2″ using your cables but it can be done. The opposite is true with a bigger ATA, the string angle is going to be wider and the bow is going to be less aggressive.

This isn’t really something you’d intentionally do to the bow to adjust your ATA it’s more so that your aware that it can change while tuning up your bow.

But now to what you came here for. When twisting the main string your ATA will decrease making it shorter and taking twists out will obviously make the ATA longer. And for once the cables do the same thing, putting twists in will shorten it and taking them out will lengthen it.

How is my ATA affected?

Cam TypeStringCables
TwistUntwistTwistUntwist
Twin CamsDecreaseIncreaseDecreaseIncrease
Solo CamDecreaseIncreaseDecreaseIncrease
Cam & HalfDecreaseIncreaseDecreaseIncrease

And that’s it, that’s my guide to everything I know about strings. What happens when you lengthen one thing it may shorten another or maybe even lengthen another thing. Strings can be confusing sometimes but hopefully this has made it just a little but simpler.

Rogan Cunningham

Rogan Cunningham is an archer and writer for shootingcabin.com. He's a proud member of the National Archery Squad. He writes about his archery training, shooting, and traveling with the national archery team, and he also reviews all kinds of archery kit. He only writes about archery, what can I tell you?..... He's an Archer!

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