How to Fix Recurve Twisting Limbs

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The limbs on a recurve bow sometimes can become twisted because of misuse or improper storage. Twisting can be corrected on a modern take-down bow simply by replacing the affected limb. Single-piece wood and wood-laminated bows, however, require more work to correct. A skilled professional bowyer often can repair a twisted limb for a price. Before you invest in professional repair, there are a few do-it-yourself repair methods you can try to get your recurve bow back in proper shape.

Attempt to straighten the limb using the “cold bump” method. If a limb has developed a slight twist from improper stringing, this method often will correct the problem. Grab the bow by the riser with your dominant hand. Use your other hand to grip the bow limb slightly above the twist. Slowly twist the limb in the direction opposite of the distortion, then quickly release the limb. Repeat this process several times until the limb properly is aligned.

Submerge the twisted limb in a tub of hot water for 3 to 4 minutes. The water should be no warmer than a hot bath, around 105 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just hot enough to mildly loosen the glues in a laminate. Remove the limb from the water, then slowly twist the limb in the direction opposite of the distortion. Release the twist slowly and examine the limb for straightness. Repeat the twisting procedure several times until the limb is straight.

Twist the limb in the direction opposite the distortion and hold it in place. Have an assistant heat the limb using a hair dryer. Hold the hair dryer 6 to 10 inches from the limb, and slowly move it up and down the length of the limb. Heat the limb slowly for 2 to 3 minutes, then release your hold and examine the limb for straightness. Repeat the heating procedure as necessary until the limb is straight.


Always use a bow stringer to string your recurve bow. This will eliminate the chance of limb twisting because of improper stringing.


Do not submerge a limb in water if its finish is damaged, or if it shows any signs of damage to the lamination.

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