From Danielle Goatley
Posted July 11, 2005 at 05:33 AM
Thank you for all your suggestions!
PS-I need a place that will fix the silver winding on my bow because it is tarnished.
How did I get my bow re-haired? I got it rehaired from a music shop for only $24 dollars.
1 last thing if you have like a $24 dollar bow, mabye try buying 1 instead?
Though you will require a $100 spent in tools, you could probably substitute tools, like if you have scissors and the book says to use wirecutters, just use the scissors. (Of course you won't need wirecutters I'm just showing you an example.)
1 last thing, if you're low on money and need money to buy tools, and the violin book. You can either get a job, or try going to garage sales and look for valuable items, (antiques, popular books, collectors items ect.) Always make it seem like your not that interested in the item and ask if they will take a quarter ;) Then once you have the item go on ebay and do a search, if its worth more then .25 cents go sell it.
My luthier says that the best hair is from Mongolian stallions. Stallions are preferred because their urine doesn't contact their tails as a matter of course. Hair can be had from a variety of sources, including Stewart-Macdonald. I think they ask around $8 per hank. The hair is held into the bow by little trapezoidal wedges (maybe that's not the correct description of the geometric shape). You can access them as follows. Unscrew the tension rod completel and remove it. This will allow you to take the frog off the stick. Remove the flat wedge between the metal ferrule and the bow hair on the frog. Slide the ferrule off the frog. Slide the cover (usually mother of pearl) toward the tip to expose the wedge. Mark the wedge with a fine pencil showing the direction it is installed. That way you can get it right when you re-install it. You can then pull the hair and wedge up and out of the frog. Lay it over the tip and you can slide the tip cover down the hair to expose the other wedge. Mark it. Pull lightly and it will come up and out. Re-assembly is ther reverse. That's it in a nutshell, leaving out a fair amount, but you can get the idea. Now you can head out to Mongolia and get some fresh stallion hair and do a field installation. Have fun. Practice with an old or cheap bow. Never glue the wedge or hair nto the tip or frog. I've seen this done. It's an ugly thing to see.
I'm trying to figure out what to say here...
Do you change the transmission fluid and oil in your own car? Do you fix your own computer after the hard drive crashes? How about cleaning and servicing you furnace? Do you do your own taxes and legal work? My point here is that there are professionals that are trained to do proper work (no matter what kind of work) and that part of the cost involved in professional work is the assurance that the professional knows what he is doing and will not cause additional damage.
I see so much preventable damage to bows inflicted by their untrained owners trying to fix them (and even shops and violin makers untrained in doing bow work). This type of damage is so avoidable and can be quite costly to repair. If your bow has any value (cost, sentimental, historic, etc.), I really encourage you to get the bow to someone that is professionally trained in bow repairs. However, if it is a cheap bow--go for it as it can be quite fun and rewarding to do this kind of work.
Josh Henry, Bow Maker
Mr. Henry..where does one go to be trained in bow-rehairing?
$24 bucks! $30 bucks!
Is this a going rate in the US? with high quality hair?
I just had one of my bows rehaired in Toronto and it cost me $70
Excellent question Dottie. Bow rehairing is often described as a simple task, but not an easy one.
To get training for bow rehairing and other repairs is best done by focused observation and demonstration with a bow repairman or shop. There are so many factors that go into rehairing, that it usually takes about the first 100 bows to get it consistently correct. Learning to rehair next to someone that rehairs bows every day and can help work the student through all of the strange possibilities that are encountered in rehairing is the best way. The 'apprentice' concept is a very appropriate to learn bow (and violin) repairing because every rehair and repair can have different factors that can affect the outcome.
The are a couple of books that are helpful as references, but there is no substitute for learning techniques correctly from a professional. There are also summer institute training courses held in New Hampshire and in California, and these can be very helpful for observation and demonstration of proper techniques, but usually the sessions are a week (or two) long, which is not enough time to perfect rehairing skills. There is a DVD on rehairing by Roger Foster, which I have not seen, but I've heard that it is quite useful.
Josh Henry, Bow Maker
Wow, what a lot of hating on this thread!
Dare I say it, the sort of person who is unwilling or unable to change the engine oil in their own car is probably not going to be mechanically skilled enough to work on a fiddle bow either. But a complete how-to is available in the classic Cassell's Cyclopedia of Mechanics: http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/mechanics/Cyclopaedia/How-To-Re-Hair-A-Violin-Bow.html
My cello bow had a re-hair a couple of years ago (I'm an amateur player, so it hasn't done a lot of miles since then and the hair is still good.) At a recent rehearsal there was a 'pop' during some loud marcato music and the complete set of hair pulled out of its anchorage in the tip end.
After consulting reference (1) above, I was able to re-attach the hair and drive the wedge 'D' back into place with a carpenter's hammer and a bit of perseverance. So far it seems to be holding. The wedge itself is quite soft, but the bow itself is made of extremely strong wood, quite man enough to resist hammer blows, and hard enough to make a big dent in my kitchen table top. :-(
I appreciate this isn't the same as doing a re-hair, but if anyone mechanically-minded is able to source their own hair then I would suggest don't hesitate to attempt it yourself!
Classic cars, classical music, beautiful old things in general.
Since this thread has come up again, I'll strongly advise against attempting a rehair without good professional training like Josh mentioned, unless your bow is "disposable". Much of the damage we see on bows is from people working on them who didn't have proper training, and this can include some people who call themselves "professionals".
For example, one would never use a hammer to seat the wedge in the tip. Lots of times, people damage a bow, and don't even realize it. It's way more complicated than an oil change.
I don't do rehairs any more, so it's not like I'm giving this advice to try to make money off of you folks. ;-)
5 rehearsals so far since repair with hammer. Oil pressure and bow hair tension remain within normal operating range. :-)
Our programme is Schubert Rosamunde Overture, Brahms Serenade #1, & Malcolm Arnold Little Suite for Orchestra. Plenty of loud scrubbing in that lot - a good solid test drive for bow and player...
(In all seriousness I agree I probably would not have been brave enough to carry out this experiment had it been a highly valuable bow.)
So...you took your bow and struck it with a hammer so hard that it dented the table?
I too am trying to rehair a bow. Not a pernambuco but more sentimental and still in good shape. The trouble I am having is getting the tip of the horsehair to stay in the tip of the bow while trying to get the wood wedge in. I thought maybe there was too much horsehair so I cut off apx. 20 strands. Still no luck. Any thoughts of how to do this with only two hands? : ) Or do I need to buy a rehair rig? Any ideas would be appreciated.
All I know about rehairing bows I learned from a friend who became a luthier after retiring from an engineering career (he made about 80 violins, 9 violas, and 3 cellos, and serviced instruments and bows for many local musicians and for the school systems). He said it helped to have 3 hands to rehair a bow - even with proper jigs and tools. He told me it was his least favorite thing to do.
I would ask the teacher "WHY?" Why the bow needs rehairing. Rehairing can cure a lot of problems that can also be cured by various cleaning/maintenance things the owner can do. I've been owning bows for 70 years and I now know I have had them rehaired far more times than necessary. I Most recently I tend to them myself and only have them rehaired if they have lost enough hair to affect the bend of the wood - I would never think of doing my own rehairing. I probably now do 6 hair cleanings for every re-hair I eventually get. I only live 30 minutes drive from my luthier and he will do a "while-you-wait" rehair for an extra charge. Last "rehair problem" on my son's bow was solved very quickly by just having the hair shortened ($12).
My very recent email from Clayton Haslop indicates that he treats his bows pretty much the way I treat mine.
I am sure there are several serious violinist in my area. Ann Arbor, MI.
Can anyone suggest a place other than Shar music, where you can get a bow rehaired properly for less than the cost of a new one.
Carol, I live in Monroe, Mi. I do nice quality rehairs. You can contact me at email@example.com for more information.
For any non experts what are the safe things a player can do to improve a bow without getting it re-haired. Cleaning the hair is not out of bounds.Do some bows have hairs criss crossing that could be combed straight? Noody has mentioned the way a wedge in the tip will hold the hair in place.It is not done by hammering or pressure.The hair when it is tightened will tend to rotate the top end of the wedge outwards.The wedge is shaped to lock against the hair which presses against the inner top part of the wedge box .The wedge shape is just angled to lock against that inner surface .The bit of the wedge away from the tip is the "pivot". Nothing actually moves but it`s always trying to.That`s why it can`t ----See?
Separate to the previous points, have a close look at the hair with a magnifying glass and a strong light.See if you can find any hairs that are misshapen.That means any not completely tubular and regular all along the bow.If you have been using the bow the faulty hairs will be shiny as the rosin has not attached itself due to the distortion.Any bad hairs will mess up the smoothness of the sound.There are 3 or 4 types of hair faults. Educate yourself about this without doing any damage to your bow.Your bow may need a rehair so do this before the hair gets changed.You will learn a lot.
John Cadd raises an interesting question:
Can you tell, visually, when your hair is starting to go? Obviously, once it's really bad, you can hear & feel it, but what if you still have 95% of it and it's JUST starting to go bad?
Also: Can anyone recommend a good shop that can do 5-6 bows for me? None of my bows are super-expensive, and the best local guy is quite a snob. Actually he's an INCREDIBLE snob. My best bow is only a Sartory workshop. A few others are named but probably fakes, yet still excellent old sticks, but this guy won't even look at them. - And then I have a $300 CF bow which kind of stinks, but I use it when I play in rock bars. I want all of these bows to be done perfectly, and wit the best hair.
So, can I find a shop that will do this for me? A shop I can trust? I don't care where it is, as shipping is cheaper than gas.
Actually, I do change my own transmission fluid, oil, and coolant in my car, as well as other basic maintenance jobs that aren't worth paying $80 an hour for. I also do my own taxes. I think we all choose what we're willing to do ourselves with these things. Do you mow your own lawn? choosing to hire somebody is a choice to be more likely made by somebody who has a lot of disposable income. When I bought my first violin it was a big deal because I had to save for a long time, and I knew I didn't want a "beginner" instrument. Anyway, if somebody wants to try rehairing their bow (assuming they can tell that they really need it) then more power to them. I think there should be more resources to help people do things for themselves. You don't need an expert for everything.
On the other hand, I do get my better bows professionally rehaired, because I know a luthier who does a good job and I haven't made the investment in tools or training to be able to do it myself.
I do have a bunch of cheap bows (I sell them for about $30 to my students who need a bow, or have a cheap bow that needs a rehair). I would eventually like to learn rehairing, since it would probably be a good income stream, and I could use those bows for practicing on. If I break a cheap bow, well that's just part of the price of learning. I'm told that once you have done about 15 re-hairs, you should be good enough to do it for a living.
A lot of luthiers would rather not do rehairing, because they consider it boring. I have a high tolerance for repetition (I'm probably borderline autistic), so I don't think I'd have that problem.
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