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A bent bow!!

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Chasarms, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I played a bow in a local shop recently that was a very nice overall bow. The weight and feel was wonderful, and it was very easy to play. A nice octagonal permanbuco stick, French.

    It was very modestly priced, and overall, seemed better made and certainly played better, than some others demanding a higher price.

    Then I noticed that with the hair tensed, the bow was not straight. It kicks out to one side ever so slightly. With the hair loose, you can hardly even tell it, but with tension, you can see it. It isn't twisting. The hair seems to stay on one plane under tension. It's just slightly bent.

    I can't tell it at all when playing it. I'm not sure anyone could unless they were particularly in tune with their bowing.

    It is otherwise so nice and easy to play, that I am considering buying it anyway, especially if I can get it at an even better price.

    So my questions are, if I buy it:

    1. Should I expect this condition to worsen overtime?
    2. Can this be corrected?
    3. Are there any other compelling reasons to avoid this bow?

    Right now I have a nice Pernambuco bow that I just bought, and I still have my Brazilwood bow, but this one was really nice. I liked it very much.
  2. Blaine


    Aug 4, 2001
    new york area
    A bend in a bow can be corrected. A good bow repair person can do this. (Bows start out straight and have the bend (camber) put into it with heat.) It is also quite possible that a bad rehair is putting uneven tension on the stick when tightened up. I wouldn't let it stop me from buying a bow I liked.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    Ah! That's a possibility that I haven't even considered.

    Maybe I should just buy it and have my rehair guy take a look at it. The shop is fine with taking a bow back if you are not happy.
  4. There are two things to consider.....One is called the bad bend and the other is called the good bend. Both can be fixed, as Blain explained. When you're holding the bow and getting ready to make a stroke at the frog, the Bad bend curves in, toward the fingerboard and the GOOD curves away from the FB. With the good, i've heard it's easier to fix and is overall much stronger and holds the bend better and for longer.
    Is this true or was it just a dream?
    Bob Branstetter, will you please answer the original question that started this thread?
  5. Actually, Paul already knows my answer to the question, but here it is. I've recambered quite a few bows over the years and the great percentage have been very successful. While a poor bow rehair job can cause a bow to warp, other causes can be traced to the manufacturer. (I use the word manufacturer because truly hand made professional bows seldom have this problem.) Atleast 95% of all bow are machine made. Only a very small percentage of pernambuco wood is suitable for bow making because of of it's frequently wild grain. Professional bow makers spend outragious sums of money for the graded pernambuco boards to insure that it is suitable for their bow making and will further check quality with a device call the Lucci Elasticity Tester. Sometimes a manufactured (i.e. machine made) bow is made from wood that is not totally straight grained. Over time that bow will tend to warp more than one that is made of straight grained wood, especially if the tension is not released after each use. When bows are made, the bow is heat bent prior to final finishing. The heat must totally penetrate the wood for the fibers to be permanently bent to a new shape. As a result, the newly made bow stick may be scorched somewhat by the bending process. Final finishing removes any scorched/burned wood prior to finishing with varnish or shellac (french polish). When rebending an old bow, it is harder, if not impossible, to get the stick as hot as they do in manufacturing without damaging the finish and/or the wood itself. In most cases, the bow luthier can rebend the stick to compensate for warpage without damaging the stick and the bow will retain the new shape more or less permanently. However, that is not always the case. I remember a bow that kept coming back about every 5-10 years to be rebent. I couldn't see any wild wood grain or other visible flaw, but it just would not stay straight long term. Since it was an otherwise excellent playing bow, the owner did not seem to mind the expense of periodic rebending. There may be some shops that do guarantee, but most bow shops I know will not guarantee that warpage will not reoccur after corrective rebending.

    So the short answer is that most of the time a bow can be rebent to remove minor warpage and the results will be successful long term. There are many thousands of bows out in use that have had corrective rebending and once corrected, they are impossible to tell from any other bow. However, my personal feeling is that a bow that has required rebending is more likely to have a reoccurrance than one that has not. YMMV!
  6. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    OK. I bought the bow. I will decide how to proceed a little later as it is my third bow until someone sweeps up the brazilwood that I have.

    It is labeled "Oskar E. Meinel". From my googling, it may be an older bow from the Roth shop. Apparently, Roth distributed many items under the "Meinel" name, including bows.

    I did find one bow with the same mark for sale online. The asking price was more than twice what I paid for this one, so, so far, I am not having buyer's remorse.

    Can any one shed any light on this mark? I am particularly interested in the age of the bow.