Ask the Editor : Serving Choices

Posted on April 16, 2013

Q: Hey Joe. I have some questions on serving material. My favorite bow tech at the local archery shop just moved, and I don’t trust my bow maintenance to anyone else. I’m happy, kind of, as it will finally force me into doing my own bow maintenance.

I thought I read in one of your articles that you recommend BCY 62XS for center serving and BCY 3D or Halo for peep/nocks? I have also heard that BCY Halo lays flat. Is this true? Which is better in your opinion? 3D or Halo for nocks and peeps? Also, what diameter center serving and peep-tying material do you recommend? Any help would be great.

Pete Timpano, via email

A: Hey Pete. I prefer .016-inch diameter 3D (or .017 Halo) or .017 nylon end serving for tying in peeps. Halo and 3D are made of the same material I believe — 3D is just a tad bit smaller. Both work well. I prefer nylon in some cases, because it’s so easy to work with and to slide around the string. It works best when you are experimenting with peep placement. The 3D and Halo are more abrasion resistant (when waxing over and over), however, and are cleaner looking, but nylon works fine, too. It’s a personal thing, really.

bow gear

BCY’s 62XS is excellent center serving material, and is favored by Bow & Arrow Hunting Editor Joe Bell. The fibers are made of a spectra/dyneema/polyester blend, which is durable, easy to work with and provides exceptional grip on bowstring fibers.


For tied-in nocks, I prefer .017 Halo or similar. I prefer the braided Spectra Halo since it’s more abrasion resistant — it won’t fall apart from repeated nockings. I usually tie 4 or 5 under/over string knots, then create a “finisher” on the 6th knot. Sometimes I use a nockset above and below the nock, with the lower one thicker for downward pressure. Sometimes I just use a nockset beneath the nock, and the string loop at the top sets the vertical height of arrow placement. It just depends on the bow and setup.

Center serving type all depends on the overall thickness of the bowstring and what type of arrow nocks you use. However, I usually serve .021 or .025 size for my center servings in nearly every case. I prefer BCY 62XS or Brownell Diamondback serving for center servings and a release-aid setup. These fibers have a spectra/dyneema/polyester blend that is easy to work with and which provides exceptional grip to the bowstring fibers themselves. I prefer Halo (.021 or .024) when shooting a fingers release, which I still use a lot.

When applying center serving, lay a couple inches first (serve over the tag pretty much the whole way) without finishing, and then snap on an arrow nock to see what the fit is like. I prefer a “snug” fit, but I also want the nock to snap on fairly easy. You have to experiment with this. If it snaps on too easy, switch to a .025 thread size. If too tight, use .021size.

You can use 3D, Halo or 62XS serving for the string suppressor area. I prefer small diameter size, since it’s lighter and will maximize speed — .016, .017 or .018 are all good. The 62XS is probably the quietest, I should note, since it has some polyester in it, but not quite as abrasion resistant as the 3D or Halo. All work very well.

I tie in my silencers when necessary using thin, clear dental floss. It’s the lightest to maximize speed. It’s all you need. I use the Johnson & Johnson brand.

Hope this helps. Our website will have video soon, and I will demonstrate specific serving techniques there. Thanks for taking the time to write in and for your loyal readership. –Joe Bell, Editor

Pete’s response: Outstanding Joe! You’ve answered all my questions and much more. You’ve consistently saved me lots of time and money by offering so much detail in your writings — stuff the common man is not blessed with from manufacturers. Danner boots, Badlands packs, lightweight camping gear, broadhead testing, etc. You’ve delivered important facts on all. It’s a huge help to guys like me that value top-end gear that gets the job done without failures and problems. Your ethics, technical knowledge and true-to-your word frankness are refreshing. Keep up the great work and please know us readers value your opinions and insight.


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