Bow Grip Loose
The little black grip on my viola bow has come loose. My luthier does not work on bows. There is another local chap (mostly a maker of mandolins) who did a rehair for me (nicely done, actually) and he "fixed" my bow grip by securing it with "a drop of hide glue," but the "fix" only lasted about a day. I could take it back to him, and normally I'm not a big-time violin DIY person, but we're talking about a middling CF bow (with wood cladding) that's only worth about $450 (Cadenza "Master").
With that background, can anyone recommend a better adhesive for this job and suggest a means of applying it?
For a bow of that value, assuming the thumb grip material is in good shape, I would use superglue after evaluating exactly how the wrap has to be joined to the bow stick and gluing of any overlap or grip-to-grip contact.
Superglue works fine, but it leaves little white crystals on the stick if you aren't careful and can obviously damage the varnish. It can also make the grip hard and lumpy if the leather is thin.
White glue is what is often used to glue the leather in the first place, and may work for the repair, but if there is any other glue, dirt, grease, etc. in there, nothing may hold well. It probably wouldn't cost much to send your bow to a repair person who can put new leather on, and then it would last for years. Since it is a CF bow, you won't have to worry as much about damage in shipping - but of course still pack it well in a mailing tube. If you need a re-hair, do it all at once.
I appreciate all suggestions. I'll try the white glue. I don't really want to mail it off right now since I'm playing too much and don't have a spare viola bow (but I do have violin bows), and I just had it re-haired.
If I remember correctly (I had it done about a year ago), doing a new leather costs only 20 EUR at the workshop of a top bow maker here in Brussels, so it suppose it will be a similar price at your local rehair guy?
My thumb leather is also coming off a bit at the end. It is not a serious case, and I plan to just glue it back myself. Someone on internet recommended Titebond. What difference does it make if I use Titebond, white glue, or any other glue. Thanks.
Titebond is a brand name. One of their biggest products is essentially a form of white glue. What you don't want to do is make it impossible for a professional to do a proper repair later on. For example I'm a little worried about getting something like superglue into the silver windings. Should I be?
I install leather grips with white Elmers glue. You can use soft string wrap and hold it down while the glue dries. This is how I do a silver winding and leather grip: https://adbowsllc.com/2019/04/03/silver-winding-and-leather-grip/
OK sorry, I thought you could just drive there and wait while it is being done. It takes less than an hour.
Getting glue into the winding is definitely a problem if you want to get new wrapping later on, because any thin wire will deform around the gluey crust left behind. You'd have to scrape it off. Luckily, the leather usually covers the part that does get gunked up, unless you spilled glue all over the stick or get a shorter thumb leather.
Thanks folks for your most invaluable input. I will go ahead and use the Elmer's Glue-All, and also wrap the thumb leather with string while the glue dries. Problem solved. :-)
Curiously, that's what I'll be doing too.
You can also wrap with adhesive or scotch tape - if you are concerned about it sticking to the leather too much you can wrap the tape with the adhesive side facing out, not in contact with the leather.
I just fixed mine. It is now good as new.
Two of my bows are replica 18th c bows with no windings. I have no problems in using them for a wide range of orchestral repertoire extending into the modern era.
The point of the wrapping is to protect the stick and make it look pretty. It has no function in playing.
Disagree. It does have a function by contributing to the overall weight and weight distribution. It also seems to affect tone, since there are people who claim that stripping a bow might improve its sound. However, I don't have experience with this, and would never try this with a bow of any value. But one of my flea market findings was a bit shrill without windings, while after giving it a silver winding and thumb leather, it sounded warmer. (But now it feels too light at the tip. Dang! But still was good for faking a baroque bow as long as I didn't own one. Maybe I should try it with a thinner silver wire, or even silk...)
The wrapping adds something like a half of a gram close to the balance point, so not really. I've changed the wrap on a few bows and never saw any difference in sound or playability. The idea that stripping a bow makes it warmer is in the same vein as cutting away the varnish under the bridge feet to improve contact.
You can use tape, but I use grafting tape, the same that arborists use to graft branches, there is no adhesive to it It is nice because it has some stretch/tension to is.
Different winding materials definitely play a role in function and believe it or not, tone. A typical silver winding adds about 5 grams to the overall weight moving the balance point almost an inch towards the frog. A full silver winding does sound different then just a silk or whalebone winding, if it's better, that is up to you. It's always best to replace with the original makers intent as the winding they choose is what they think is best for that specific bow, speaking of high quality modern handmade bows here.
A typical silver wrap, 5 grams? Do your bows have a solid silver sleeve on the stick?
My R. Weichold violin bow came to me somewhat frog-heavy; it had a very long stretch of silver wire wrap and weighed 65 grams. A half-century later I had my luthier replace the silver with "faux whalebone," which resulted in what I considered perfect balance. There was no change in the sound produced but a big improvement in playability - for me. The mass of the bow was reduced by 3 grams.
Five grams seems like a lot. Five grams is the mass of an American 5-cent piece also called a "nickel" (useful fact to remember). But, if it's solid silver wire (sterling silver is typically used) then that can add up.
Update: I used a little wood glue as recommended by Karl and it worked great. Thanks to all.
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