broken violin bow. can it be repaired and is it worth repairing.

February 20, 2008 at 05:48 AM · broken violin bow, can it be repaired. my daughters violin bow just broke. the part of the bow to which the bow tip attaches separated cleanly from the bow's shaft. the bow was purchased from a reputable dealer, is a relatively new bow and cost about $900.00. my daughter tested over a dozen bows before selecting one. i have photos but could not determine how to attach to this submission. i can provide photos by private email.

i am trying to determine if the bow can be repaired, if so at what what cost,and is it worth repairing. i really want to avoid purchasing another bow at this time if at possible. the back up violin bows we have are not very good.

your comments are appreciated.

Replies (18)

February 20, 2008 at 06:39 AM · Greetings,

I think you mean the head has snapped off yes? I don`t think its worth repairing. Collect the insurance and buy a new one. I don`t know about the US but sometimes an insurance company may wish tio actuallys ee the broken parts before paying.

Sorry you have had such a bad experience.



February 20, 2008 at 02:20 PM · You can try talking to the folks at the shop, in case they have some sort of warranty on recent purchases. They used to try to re-attach heads with splines or pins. Sometimes it works, but it changes the balance. I had a bow reglued at the shop w/something similar to Gorilla Glue. So far it's holding, but it has pretty much no $$ value. I use it around young kids,but that's about it. Sue

February 24, 2008 at 04:06 AM ·

February 24, 2008 at 04:43 AM · A repair at the head will significantly alter the balance of the bow. I'd go with Buri's suggestion--collect the insurance and buy a new one.

February 27, 2008 at 06:37 AM · yeeks...years ago when I was studying at Manhattan School of Music, one day I was practicing at home, and somehow my bow fell out of my hand and landed on the floor, tip first, with the tip cleanly snapped in two. It happened so fast that I'm still not sure how it ended up that way...but I was devastated. I took it to a NY bowmaker, who told me that he could repair it but it would no longer have much resale value, and the balance might be off. I decided to take my chances, and had it repaired. It is still my favorite bow, though partly for sentimental reasons, and the balance did not change all that much (he was very good).

March 11, 2008 at 02:26 AM · Broken bow tip (Snapped off).

I have successfully repaired bows with the tip snapped off. I use a method that does not add weight significantly, thereby not altering the bow´s original balance point. (Balance points can be modified in many ways, though)

Unfortunately, in making a bow, the tip´s grain lies in the same direction of that of the main part of the bow. Also,if at the top of the tip the tip is too narrow, the `pulling forces´ due to hair tightening have a tendency to pull along the grain, weakening that section in time. Sometimes the wood itself is just not right.

At any rate, don´t discard that bow, especially if it is a fine one, valuable, or has deep sentimental value. Also, I can repair it for you.

Drop me a line at Dom911jc@yahoo.Com

March 11, 2008 at 03:12 AM · i repaired mine, though it was my spare 200 dollar bow haha, so i wasn't worried.

March 11, 2008 at 04:10 AM · Sorry to hear this, Gordon. As Buri and Mara suggested, it may not be worth repairing as it’ll never be the same after repair.

I had a discussion with my luthier recently on how easily a bow can break. He told me that the breakage often takes place at the narrow part of the bow near the tip. It often happens when the bow is being taken in and out of the violin case in a hurry and gets caught and twisted. It can break right away but not necessarily, as it can get structure damage but doesn’t immediately show signs of damage, like most of breakable objects such as glass or ceramic. Once sufficient damage is done to the structure, it’ll break at a later.

March 17, 2008 at 09:19 AM · a good Luthier can repair this for a nominal fee; if they are clever, there should be no balance problems.

March 17, 2008 at 02:11 PM · If you have no insurance on this bow, and no desire to ever resell it, you may be able to fix it yourself with with about $5 worth of clear epoxy and fiberglass tape (both available from a tyical hobby/model shop.

I did this repair when the tip of one of my pernambuco bows broke off and the grain of the wood shows through just fine.The bow was good before it broke and it still is.

I used two single layers of the tape - perpendicular to each other. After regluing the break, I applied the tape and epoxy as one would for epoxy-coating a boat.

March 17, 2008 at 11:11 PM · Our archetier has done literally dozens of bow head repairs over the years, with no returns or complaints. If the break it too close to the shaft, a repair is not recommended, but if the break is through the head, you can get a successful repair. She splines the repair with Pernambuco, so there is no perceptible change in balance.

She doesn't try to repair bows with broken shafts. (I've been messing about with little carbon fiber rods trying to develop a repair method for these breaks, but I doubt it will have much commercial merit. I'm just curious to see what can be done.)

If your daughter really liked the bow, it might be worth repairing. The bow's value will be *severely* reduced, but it will play the same as before. The archetier charges $120, so it's not a big risk.

February 21, 2012 at 07:21 PM · I dropped a nice cheng bow on the tip and it broke the tip off. I was depressed because it cost £400. I tried to repair it but it was useless.At this point I realised the huge tension on the tip and have never not loosened a bow again

February 21, 2012 at 09:00 PM · I don't know much about bow repairs but providing an attempted repair comes in at reasonable cost, it might be worth doing if only to be used as a spare.

What's the alternative? Straight into land fill.

February 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM · oops, did not realize that this was a 2008 post. deleting.

February 21, 2012 at 10:38 PM · Gordon, If the head had broken off, you should buy another bow. It's not worth repairing if your daughter has tried several bows. The repair would alter the balance.

February 22, 2012 at 01:04 AM ·

I do realize that this thread started four years ago, but because it has popped up again, I wanted to address a few things that have been mentioned here. Most of the time, bows that are broken at the head can be repaired very well—as long as previous attempts at “fixing” it have not compromised the gluing surfaces of the break. There are several different methods of repairing a broken head, but the most successful is gluing a cross-grained pernambuco “spline” through the crest of the head. Properly done, this repair does not alter at all the weight or balance of the bow. The value of the repaired bow is definitely less that it was before the break, but he bow will feel and play exactly like it did before it was broken.

Due to the cost of the repair, I usually do not recommend this repair on student and brazilwood bows, but on most good playing pernambuco bows, the cost is less than a replacement bow.

These two pictures are of the same bow--after the head has broken (above) and after the head spline (below)

For those interested, you can find a pictorial example of this kind of repair on my website:

Josh Henry, Bow Maker & Restorer

February 22, 2012 at 01:20 AM ·

Just for fun, here are some pictures that I’ve collected over the years of the wrong way to repair a broken head. These miserable attempts will affect the weight, balance, playability, and value, and of course will end up in utter failure.

Josh Henry, Bow Maker & Restorer

February 22, 2012 at 01:53 AM · HAHAHAHAHAHAHA... I laughed for a good couple of minutes at those. I hope they didn't cost to much.

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