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Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow

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Dharmabum 22 Dec 05 - 04:28 PM
HiHo_Silver 23 Dec 05 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,The Rustler 23 Dec 05 - 04:28 PM
treewind 23 Dec 05 - 05:41 PM
Cluin 23 Dec 05 - 06:48 PM
wysiwyg 23 Dec 05 - 06:56 PM
Dharmabum 23 Dec 05 - 07:08 PM
snarky 23 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM
Pauline L 23 Dec 05 - 09:23 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Dec 05 - 12:08 AM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Dec 05 - 03:47 AM
bigchuck 24 Dec 05 - 05:49 PM
Dharmabum 24 Dec 05 - 07:13 PM
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Subject: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: Dharmabum
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 04:28 PM

A friend was asking about this, as he's got a bow he wants to restring.
In doing a search on the subject,the general consensus seems to be that this is a procedure that should not be attempted by a non professional.
That,probably being the reason why I was unable to find any actual instructive information on the internet about bow restinging.

So,I'll inquire here. Does anyone know of a website that provides the step by step procedure for restring a fiddle bow?


Thanks,D.B.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: HiHo_Silver
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 03:02 PM

This is a job for an experienced luthier. I have rehaired a goodly number. Believe me; even with considerable knowledge, the first few did not go all that well. With the price Bow Hair is today, you no doubt, will spend more to get a satisfactory job doing it yourself than you will spend at an experienced luthier.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: GUEST,The Rustler
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 04:28 PM

Step 1. Find a white horse in an isolated field.
   " 2. Gain his trust by feeding him carrots or apples.
   " 3. Tickle his flank. He will think it's a fly and will try to swat it with his tail.
   " 4. Quickly catch the tail in mid air and snip off 100 strands.
   " 5. Give him another treat and run lile hell!
   " 6. Congratulations! You have completed the hard part. If you have survived the rest is much easier.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: treewind
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 05:41 PM

It's a very specialised job. I know a luthier (if that's the right name for someone who makes violins, violas and cellos) locally and asked him about rehairing my bow - he doesn't touch them. He referred me to a specialist in Cambridge (also local for me) who only does bows.

It doesn't cost a lot, and if you aren't in the business I haven't a clue how you'd go about finding hair.

If you want to learn how to do it, I guess the answer is still to find a bowmaker and persuade them to teach you. That might not be easy either...

BTW, my bow was previously rehaired buy someone else who does make instruments. The hair all fell out soon after it was done; she redid it and it still wasn't right. I can imagine it's a nightmare doing it yourself without experience.

Did anyone know that starting with a bunch of hair as from the horse's tail you have to reverse the direction of half of them because the friction isn't the same in both directions?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: Cluin
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 06:48 PM

I refer you to my cousin, Raymond Schryer. In addition to being a world-famous (violin, viola, cello) luthier, he restrings bows.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 06:56 PM

DB, I commend your desire to minister to instruments, and I believe that you have a calling there, so I can understand the courage andyearning to accept any work offered. But-- not with bows. I think that to work on anything fiddlish, you'd need to be able to play one... not necessarily WELL, but be able to get a clear tone out of a mid-quality fiddle. Otherwise you will not have the ear/touch feel to get it to sing.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: Dharmabum
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 07:08 PM

This is not for me.
I promised a friend I would seek information on the subject.
I personaly have no desire to take up the task of restringing fiddle bows.

         D.B.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: snarky
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 08:13 PM

How do you get rid of bow bugs?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: Pauline L
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 09:23 PM

Rehairing a bow is definitely a job for professionals. However, if your friend decides to do it himself/herself, follow the directions given by GUEST, The Rustler, above, but with the following revision. First go to Mongolia and then... (that's where the horses with bow-quality hair live.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 12:08 AM

The procedure is actually pretty simple, but if you don't have precisely the right tools to hold everything in the right place at the right time it borders on the impossible - assuming that what you want is a "professional quality" rehair job.

There is also the consideration that often when you pull a bow apart (remove the old hair) you'll find that the little wedges that hold the hair in place aren't quite pristine, so you need to be prepared to supply properly fitting replacements. This usually means making parts on the spot, unless you do enough bows to justify having a selection of sizes and shapes on hand.

As several others have mentioned, a professional bow restoration probably won't be significantly more expensive than the hair to do a homemade one, by the time you allow for spoilage, lossage, ruinage, and a couple of frustration-induced tossages. This is assuming you're buying hair for one bow and the pro can buy in bulk - maybe direct from the horse, or course. This is also assuming you deal with a competent and reasonable (honest) bowmaker.

If it's a matter of just wanting to see if you can do it, a spare cheap bow and a hank of one of the sythetic "hair substitutes" might be more economical for practice. I've been told the sythetics are easier to work with, although that was from someone who did it professionally, and who had a large stock of "synhair" and an apparent shortage of horsehair.

Pros that I've watched do parts of a couple of jobs generally have:

1. a bow cradle, for holding the bow in position to get to the whole thing.
2. a tip vise, for holding the tip end of the bow while working on removeing the old wedges, seating the hair set, and installing the tip wedge.
3. a frog vise, for holding the "adjustable" end, as for #2.
4. wedge pullers different for each end.
5. one or two combs for aligning the hairs.
6. low tack tape for holding the hairs together and straight for handling.
8. Some use clamps, and some use "scotch" tape for holding the hairs during actual installation.
9. Unknown and mysterious solvents for cleaning off finger scum etc.
10. A variety of scissors, clippers, nippers, and cutters.
11. ...

The list goes on. Many of the tools appeared to be "homemade" but may have been purchased from suppliers I haven't been able to find (yet). None of the tools looked especially complicated, and all could be fairly easily made or substituted with other devices; but ...

Without the proper tools, the couple of hundred hairs will be about like trying to line up a hundred cats (or chickens) and getting them to sit still for a photograph.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 03:47 AM

You need to learn how to re-hair a bow just as you need to learn how to drive a car. Doing either without training (or from a "do-it-yourself" website) invites disaster. With any luck, John's list of tools will put your friend off the DIY idea.

Bow-quality horsehair is easily available from any number of suppliers. It doesn't have to come from Mongolia, nor does it have to come from a stallion; though snobbery and mythology will insist that it does. The only important thing is that the job is done by someone who knows what they are doing.

A bow is not a plectrum. It is a fundamental part of the sound you get from your instrument, and should be taken very seriously. Mine cost almost as much as the fiddle; and it was worth it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: bigchuck
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 05:49 PM

Amen to all the above. When I first started rehairing bows I was told that I should consider the first 50 or so as "practice", and indeed, I probably lost money on at least the first 20 or so, considering the number I had to redo. The ability to make new wedges is VERY important, and disassembling the bow in the first place is often a challenge. To this day, I try to avoid taking on expensive bows, because I just don't get enough rehairs in my area to get really good at it.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Tech: Restringing/Rehairing a Fiddle Bow
From: Dharmabum
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 07:13 PM

Thanks to everyone for your input.
I've forwarded the info to my friend.
I don't know if he'll heed the warnings about trying this himself,
But it certainly isn't something I think I'll be attempting anytime soon!

    D.B.


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