Broken bow

September 2, 2019, 4:04 PM · I accidentally dropped my violin bow, and it lands on the floor at the worst angle possible. It hits the floor and the tip split into two. I don't have photo-hosting service, but there is an old post on v.com that has the same damage I have.

https://www.violinist.com/blog/jenohubay/20061/4394/

I just wonder, if I glue it back, is this bow safe to use? Or I am better off to buy a new one?

This is not an expensive bow, so taking it to a luthier will cost not much less than replacing it. However, I bought it couple months ago and it is a shame to throw away something relatively new.

Replies (12)

September 2, 2019, 4:19 PM · Get some very strong glue, apply it in the middle of the exposed, raw area, and hold both pieces together by wrapping it very tightly with any kind of string that doesn't stretch.

The joint will never come undone. If it breaks again, it will be directly next to the joint, because the glue will be stronger than the cheap wood it's made of.

Edited: September 2, 2019, 5:11 PM · I had a H. R. Pfretzschner violin bow with a break like that. I figured regardless of what it might have once been worth it was not worth that any more so I checked out the internet and found the following way to repair it:

I went to a local hobby shop and bought some clear 2-part epoxy and some clear fiberglass tape. I epoxied the 2 parts of the bow together, spread epoxy on the surface of the head and wrapped it with the tape so the head was glued on AND fully braced by the surrounding fiberglass/epoxy. Once it dried you had to get pretty close to the bow tip to see the repair.

It still played like a Pfretzschner. I eventually gave it to my adult granddaughter - certainly her best bow.

That way it's probably a $5 to $10 DIY repair (even now, more than 15 years later). Simple gluing as Cotton suggested might last forever too, but it might not. Don't use Gorilla Glue with Cotton's method because of the way it expands.

September 2, 2019, 5:33 PM · another disaster waiting to happen!!
September 2, 2019, 6:07 PM · Sorry to hear that. Definitely take it to a bow specialist. Don’t try to repair it yourself. In NYC Gregory Wiley is the best in my opinion for stick repair - he’s like a surgeon with bows.
September 2, 2019, 6:24 PM · Why would you spend more than the value of rhe bow for such a simple repair...
People!
Edited: September 2, 2019, 6:55 PM · This is the way to do it right: Head Spline
Edited: September 2, 2019, 7:06 PM · Yes, Roger has it right: a spline repair, which you can do yourself on a cheap bow, if you are handy with tools.
Edited: September 2, 2019, 8:38 PM · Cotton, I have really good French bows so yes they only go to top level professionals when they need work - there’s nothing wrong with what I recommended - going to a trained bow maker (even if it costs more). This was more of a general comment. I don’t know what kind of bow the OP has. I’d rather have the work done right the first time than f**ked up by a rank amateur repair (and have it worked on again as a result). V.com is a great community to share ideas but the only way to learn how to play the violin or to make violins and bows is to study it very seriously for many years the old fashioned way.
September 4, 2019, 7:29 AM · Here is an article I did on performing a head spline not too long ago:
https://adbowsllc.com/2019/02/13/headspline/

Any bow repair should be done by a professional as not only do they know how execute the repair properly, but can adjust for any unexpected hurdles that may occur in the process. They will ensure proper function, it's easier to do it right than have to go back in a redo a repair. Many shops won't touch an already repaired bow that has failed.

September 4, 2019, 2:35 PM · All, thank you very much for the suggestions and the link to how to perform the head spline repair.

I thought about it more carefully. I will buy a new bow to replace the old. While the old (broken) will be my exercise on bow repair 101. If I success, then it will be a spare bow. The reason is, I have not repair a bow before. If I don't do it right and it breaks in the middle of rehearsal, I will be in a bigger mess. I think it is better for me to be safe and get a new bow, while trying to see if I can squeeze some more life out from the old one.

Edited: September 5, 2019, 12:57 PM · The spline procedure DOES work. But it can only handle certain kinds of breaks, it costs $300 or so, and the repaired bow will only be worth a fraction of what it was.

I don't think anybody would advise paying for a spline if the bow is worth less than $1000.

Can't hurt to follow a glue procedure if the break lends it self to that. It might break the first day or it might last for years. Impossible to know. Just know it could break at any time.

September 5, 2019, 12:58 PM · Another reason to consider carbon fiber bows for students. They're inexpensive, servicable and can usually withstand various kinds of drops.

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