This article is going to solely focus on how to make and install d-loops. For information on other aspects of deciding what style to use and how to adjust them, please see the following articles:
- Styles of loops and their advantages/disadvantages
- Setting up a nocking point and loop (coming soon!)
- Setting the nock set position (coming soon!)
- How to properly position a peep sight (coming soon!)
When making a d-loop, the proper material must be used or the loop may fail and cause damage to the archer and/or bow. The material must have sufficient strength and be of a material that will allow for melting without weakening too much. There are several good suppliers of d-loop material and most pro shops should carry a stock of it.
Material and tools needed for making and installing d-loops
- d-loop material
- lighter or other flame source
- needle nose or d-loop pliers
The total installed loop length and installation method will determine the starting length of material need for making a d-loop. For an average length without any nock points used (the d-loop serves as the nocking point itself), I start with 4 1/4″ of loop material. If you want to used internal nock sets than 4 1/2-4 3/4″ is a good starting length.
Preparing the d-loop
Cut the necessary length of material
Flare the ends of the material, a total flared length of about 1/8- 3/16” is best
Using the lighter, very carefully melt the flared ends into a nice ball. Do this by placing the flame to the side of the flared material and slowly bring it closer until the material starts to melt. Do NOT place the flame below the material. This is more likely to set the material on fire and weaken the final melted knot, not to mention blacken the material more than necessary due to the smoke. If you are using colored d-loop material, you don’t want to mess it up with nasty smoke scarring!
A properly melted end will not have any charring, ash, bubbles or anything else that will weaken it. If you have any of these defects, throw the loop away and start again. It is not worth the risk of having an improperly melted loop pull free or break.
Repeat for the other end and measure the final product. You should have between 4 and 4 1/2 inches BETWEEN the finished melted ends.
Installing the d-loop
Secure your bow somehow to where you can work on it with both hands. Use a press, bow vise or set it on a flat surface. Lightly wax the non-melted portion of the loop. This will help with tying the knots, pulling the loop tight and keeping it tight once installed.
If you are going to used tied nock sets inside of the d-loop, I recommend tying them into the proper location before installing the d-loop. This makes it easier to tie the nock sets in place without having to thread through the d-loop while doing so.
Tie the first knot as shown, pulling it slightly tight. Do not cinch the knot down!
Repeat the same knot, but starting the opposite way. The final knots should end up opposite of each other with the top melted end facing away from the archer and the bottom towards. This will allow the final loop to twist according to the type of release used while minimizing the torque induce to the bow string at full draw.
Once the knots are in place and satisfactory, move them into position, butting up against the tied nock sets if using them. Using the needle nose or d-loop pliers as shown, tighten the d-loop to where it just begins to cinch to the string. At this point the d-loop needs to be positioned to where it can pull the peep sight into position if necessary. I personally prefer to tighten the d-loop perfectly straight and adjust the peep (see the peep adjusting article, coming soon) rather than try to use the loop to force the peep into position.
If you are still tuning your bow and are not sure of exactly where arrow nock should be located, leave the knot a little loose so that it can be moved up and down the bow string. Moving it can be done by screwing it up or down as it will follow the winds of the bow string serving.
When doing the final cinching of the d-loop, do it TIGHT! Make sure the melted ends are seated well and that there is no slack anywhere in the knots.
The final knotted d-loop! Notice that on the top knot the melted end faces the archer and the bottom knot faces away from the archer. This will allow some twisting of the archer’s release while minimizing the amount of torque induced on the bowstring.
Other notes on tying a d-loop
Some people advocate starting with a raw length of d-loop material rather than cutting it to length before installing. They will melt one end tie one knot with the melted, then the other, tighten it a bit, cut the loop material and melt the second end. I do not use this method for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t like melting the loops near the bowstring because it is an opportunity to damage the bow string or serving; second, it can stiffen the d-loop material near the knot and make it harder to remove or loosen the d-loop. Those are minor issues that can be overcome with care. However, the third and most important reason to me, I like to have my d-loop lengths pre-prepared so that they can be installed and/or replaced in the field with minimal tools and effort. There is nothing wrong with this method, I just prefer the one in this tutorial myself.
If you want to eliminate all torque to the bowstring, especially if you use a hand-held release, you might want to consider using a torqueless loop instead of the standard d-loop.