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Making new frog for my old bow. Tips? Blackwood alternatives?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by WagnerBass, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. WagnerBass

    WagnerBass

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    Hello Basscomrades!

    I got this bow with my 80year old german bass i bought four years ago. I used it the first two years, *and was really happy with how it felt even tho it was a bit " out of shape". Im now using another newer bow, so the old one has just been a spare laying around. However, recently I was thinking about selling it. I showed it to my professor, he tried it and he could tell me it was a really good bow, so if i was stupid enough to sell it, I should demand a high price. The problem is, the frog has cracked up several places, and there isa lot of old repairs in it. The lether and silver wire is also gone. But the bow itself is in perfect conditipn, no cracks or damages.*

    After a lot of thinking Ive decided to make a new frog myself, rather than buying some cheap **** on the internet. Ive never done anything like this before, but I have really good fingers for this *kind of things, ive been making a lot of models and wood carvings etc before.*

    My questions

    Do you guys have any tips before i start?

    Does anyone recognize the bow? There are no markings, only XV/ and i think thats just there to keep the silver wire in place.

    I have been thinking about make it a bit unique, by using another type of wood rather than plain blackwood. What are the best alternatives? Snakewood? Rosewood? Name it. (I guess it shouldnt be to oily, I need to be able to glew the metal piece to it?)

    I was also thinking about making or have the end skrew made for me, out of bone.

    Thoughts?

    Thank you so much in advance, for any advice:)


    WagnerBass. (cant upload pictures from my ipad, will do that later)
  2. uprightben

    uprightben

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    You can make a frog out of anything you like, snake wood and mammoth ivory are common alternatives to ebony, rosewood is seen as well. A frog is a deceptively difficult thing to make, you will also need the wire and leather replaced, maybe the tip plate, and what about putting new hair in it? You can't really replace the frog and keep the hair. You probably see where I'm going here, you need a professional. Bow restoration is very fine work and takes a lot of experience to master, if you are restoring your bow with an eye to sell it, you would do better to let a pro handle the whole job.
  3. tyb507

    tyb507 Supporting Member

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    It can't hurt to try to make a frog, as long as you don't do anything that would harm the stick...right?
    It would be advisable to make friends with an archetier and pick his/her brain a bit. And if the bow is as valuable as your professor thinks it is, it's worth bringing it to a pro to have it rehaired and assessed once you've made the frog. I've never done a rehair, but I think one can damage a bow by doing it improperly.

    Here in the states there are bow-making workshops like this one:
    http://www.learn.unh.edu/violin/wkshops.html

    Here are some stylized frogs from our local bow guy for inspiration:
    http://www.hfgbowmaker.com/photos.htm
  4. WagnerBass

    WagnerBass

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    Well, Yes It cant hurt, and I should probably get enough wood for multible possible attempts:)

    my plan is just to remake the frog and use the same measurements and metal parts. The rehair will be done by a professional maker, he can also put on new leather and wire. The tip plate seems fine. The reason why I want to make it myself, is that I want something unique and of quality. And if it really turns out to be a great bow, I will sell my other one and use this one instead.

    Anyway thanks for the links! I read somewhere that rosewood is to greasy to be glued properly?
  5. WagnerBass

    WagnerBass

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    Here are photoes

    Attached Files:

  6. WagnerBass

    WagnerBass

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    2#

    Attached Files:

  7. WagnerBass

    WagnerBass

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    3#

    Attached Files:

  8. powerbass

    powerbass

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    I have not made a frog but I have done quite a lot of woodworking. It looks like you will need a fair amount of specific tools to make a frog - a nice vise, very sharp chisels/knives, rasps/files, coping saw/bandsaw and a precise drill press or milling machine. Shaping the octagonal section that rides on the wood looks tricky to make precisely - I would want a custom router bit made for that profile. Shaping it with hand tools would require a lot of skill to control a chisel. The other tricky thing is where the abalone covers the hair wedge. This would have to be done on a milling machine or very precise drill press w/a machinists vise and a specific router/slotting bit. I've watched this video several times - I like how this man makes a bow, you will see some of the tools he uses.
  9. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

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    There are folks who specialize in that sort of frog repair. IMO, that bow will be worth more with the original repaired frog than your "unique" home-made frog. At least keep it around, without further damage...that is seriously part of the value of that bow.

    There is a guy in Ann Arbor, Jerry Passewicz or similar spelling, that does incredible restorations. You might get in touch with him and see what he says.

    Believe it or not, it isn't as easy as it looks.
  10. uprightben

    uprightben

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    Yea, I don't mean to be a nay-sayer, if you are determine to make a frog, go for it. It would be courteous to get in touch with the architier you would like to do the other work before you jump in and get his/her input. I know I find it mildly annoying when someone attempts a repair or modification, botches it, and then expects us to fix it on the cheap.
  11. RCWilliams

    RCWilliams Gold Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    owner KCNC Production and Design
    what ever you do hang on to your original frog. keep all of it's parts, if the day comes when you want to sell the bow, you may be very glad you did.
  12. bejoyous

    bejoyous

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    Or you could buy something of quality to replace it and use the freed up time to practice that Dragonetti concerto.
  13. powerbass

    powerbass

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    That's no fun

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