Ipe bows

May 14, 2021, 4:37 PM · So to make a long story short, I work for a guy who owns an exotic wood warehousing business and he lets me have any wood I'd like for my lutherie adventures.
I've heard ipe is being used as a pernambuco substitute, and wouldn't you know it—it's also the newest, most popular hardwood for decking. So, now I have my pick of literally tonnes of perfect ipe boards.

Any experience with ipe bows? I'm wondering if I should take some and make some sticks.

Replies (8)

May 14, 2021, 5:11 PM · Go for it, Cotton! You're my hero anyway. If not for you, I'd never thought about making my own chin rests.
May 14, 2021, 5:14 PM · Definitely have a go. And then report back on what it is like. I have never seen an Ipe wood bow for sale, but I am now intrigued!
May 16, 2021, 10:52 AM · Shouldn't take you more than a week to crank out a Peccatte or two with your whittle knife.

Another idea: Commission an ipe bow from a great contemporary maker.

May 16, 2021, 5:07 PM · I've made a handful of sticks before. Perfecting the balance is difficult and time consuming, which is why I ask if anyone's ever played an ipe stick before sinking hours into it.

Doesn't Jonpaul make them? I swear I remember the branding "Jonpaul Ipe".

Edited: May 17, 2021, 9:33 AM · The two things you need are: ways to ballpark the properties of the boards so that you can make decisions about what you select, and a clear idea of how to adjust your bow graduations and other design factors to make up for the ways your wood is not ideal.

I have the vague sense that it's possible to cobble together a poor man's Lucchi meter, if you're inclined to track that down. Stephen Marvin has hints on, and Andreas Grutter has quite a bit of information on design variables accounting for wood differences on their websites.

May 17, 2021, 9:44 AM · ipe is not a uniform type of wood. what's sold for it in US may come from several different trees. In the end, you'd have a 'brazilwood' bow; lot's of them around.
May 17, 2021, 10:24 AM · It certainly does look like Brazilwood
Edited: May 17, 2021, 12:10 PM · https://wangbow.com
They make bows with a variety of different woods.


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