Got a Great Bow Rehair for $1.67

November 14, 2007 at 07:55 PM · The bow hair was getting slippery despite rosining, time to get a rehair. Or maybe not.

I followed the advice of my Father's old concertmaster who used to be CM of the Met. Opera in the 1920's who said they all did this to save money. It worked once before for me and it just worked superbly again. Isopropyl Alcohol, 91%, about $1.67 or so.

I soaked part of a rag with alcohol and rubbed the rag up and down the hair. My wife was holding the bow by the tip for me and the hair dangled straight down after unscrewing the frog. This way there was no chance of getting alcohol on the wood.

After resoaking different parts of the rag a few times and rubbing the hair I wiped a few times again with a clean dry rag until there was no stickyness on the hair. After that I put the bow with the hair dangling down off a dresser with a heavy cloth on the bow to keep it from turning over on it's side and geting any residual alcohol on the tip.

The next day I simply started rosining again as all the alcohol had evaporated. The bow is terrific again. Grabs very nicely. Not quite as good as a high quality and expensive rehair by an expert, but about 90% as good which is 100% better than before.

Replies (33)

November 14, 2007 at 09:00 PM · I wonder what it did? Probably removed a layer that was keeping rosin from adhering. Lower concentrations of isopropyl sometimes say some percent glycerin on the label, which might be bad. 90%, or denatured (poisoned) ethyl, methyl, or pure grain ethyl, or unusually high grade moonshine might work. Once a Pharm.D. told me the reason for the usual lower concentration of isopropyl is a higher one evaporates too quickly to sterilize effectively. Once I read something which explained the adherence of rosin to hair as an electrical phenomenon.

November 14, 2007 at 09:51 PM · The alcohol does two things to hair; it removes all the old accumulated rosin and actually raises the nap a bit on the hair. The nap, or those little stand up flanges seen under a microscope that bite on the string gradually flatten out from use.

November 15, 2007 at 12:00 AM · Bow hair vibrates the string because of the adhesive properties of the rosin. The string is essentially stuck to the hair by the rosin, and is pulled sideways until the "adhesive" can no longer hold it.....then the string snaps back and the cycle starts over again. To illustrate this, you can play your string with a narrow piece of tape, if you experiment to find the right speed and pressure. (Rosin is an ingredient in many adhesives)

Before rosin is applied to new hair, it won't play at all.

The performance of hair will degrade over time mostly due to contamination. Oil and other things on the bow hair will prevent rosin from sticking to it very well, just as tape won't stick to an oily surface, or won't stick as well after contaminating it by rubbing it against the palm of your hand.

November 15, 2007 at 03:03 AM · Cleaning hair like this isn't a horrible strategy, and I've done this when the hair is just dirty, like on kids' violins, but one other thing to consider is that hair usually breaks on one side of the ribbon--the side that's more in contact with the string. When a lot of hair has broken, it changes the balance of force on the bow and causes the bow to warp when it's tight. It won't hurt your bow in the long run, but it will hurt the way it works for you in the short run until you get a rehair.

But it is correct that the hair itself doesn't wear out.

November 15, 2007 at 03:07 AM · unlike mine.

November 15, 2007 at 03:29 AM · Hair,Hair!

November 15, 2007 at 03:43 AM · to pay or not to pay?

November 15, 2007 at 03:54 AM · I wish I had hair.

November 15, 2007 at 04:47 AM · It's not gone. It's just on vacation.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself. . .

November 15, 2007 at 05:05 AM · There ain't no words for the beauty, the splendor, the wonder of my Hair

November 15, 2007 at 07:17 AM · My Beard

My beard grows down to my toes,

I never wears no clothes,

I wraps my hair

Around my bare,

And down the road I goes.

--Shel Silverstein

November 15, 2007 at 10:08 AM · My beard is starting to match the color of the horse hair on my bow. Perhaps I'm using too much rosin on my beard.

November 15, 2007 at 10:29 AM · I'd pay to see someone play the violin with their beard.

November 15, 2007 at 12:46 PM · I'd pay to see your coconut bra!

(I think that was you, wasn't it?)

November 15, 2007 at 06:27 PM · Why pay to see mine when you could have your very own for $1.67? See Roelof for details.

November 15, 2007 at 08:28 PM · That would be fine if I wanted a mystical bra with special powers, but I was thinkin' just a plain ol' B-flat coconut one.

November 15, 2007 at 09:01 PM · b flat maybe, but at least she b natural.

November 15, 2007 at 09:33 PM · why not save the alcohol for the parties and use shampoo instead?:)

November 15, 2007 at 09:36 PM · Save the shampoo for parties.

November 16, 2007 at 03:07 AM · Those parties in Oklahoma where women get together to do each other's hur?

November 16, 2007 at 03:51 AM · From Jim W. Miller;

"b flat maybe, but at least she b natural."


B flat or b natural can still b sharp.

November 16, 2007 at 05:07 AM · That's a great link Miller! I used to really like that song. As for you guys without hair, you should be happy. Doing hair takes up a lot of violin practice time.

November 16, 2007 at 05:40 AM · That Burgess feller got way too much hair.

It ain't gray and it ain't F'hair.

November 16, 2007 at 06:24 AM · You know. Bow hair washing parties. Or don't you all have those down there?

November 16, 2007 at 08:02 AM · Yes and lord you should hear the gossip. Sadie is seeing Larval again. And the judge said Jailene could get more electoshock or go to prison - her choice. And that new music teacher from Alaska is hitting on the heater repairman.

November 16, 2007 at 11:28 AM · Emily,

I want to live in your world! haha!

November 16, 2007 at 11:54 AM · Catherine, thank you very much. You know, if you listen to it very closely, through 'phones or something, the bass player is really fascinating.

Disclaimer: I've been accused of not knowing the difference between Britney Spears and Beethoven.

November 16, 2007 at 05:33 PM · Jim, the differences are easy:

Beethoven wrote the fifth.

Britney drinks a fifth.

Beethoven gave it his all.

Britney shows it all.

Beethoven went to Paris.

Britney hangs with Paris.

Beethoven was deaf.

Britney just doesn't listen.

Beethoven entertained the court.

Britney is always in court.

Beethoven looked wild an unkempt.

Britney...uhh, same thing.

November 17, 2007 at 12:40 AM · That is brilliant, Ray!

November 17, 2007 at 02:32 AM · Thank you, sir, couldn't help myself.

November 17, 2007 at 03:12 AM · damn this is a pointless chat...completely random

November 17, 2007 at 05:09 PM · Uh oh.

You don't say things like that at school ("School Problems" thread), do you? (wink)

November 18, 2007 at 12:19 PM · And here's Efrem Zimbalist's wife singing My Old Kentucky Home, and here's reportedly the first million-selling record by a classical artist. And here she is with Efrem. That's great. It's from 1916. Truly haunting, I think.

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