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Bow making

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by EFischer1, May 15, 2005.

  1. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    Hey guys,

    I think I might be interested in getting into bow making. The only holdup is that I have no idea how to get started. Are there any resources, aside from finding someone to apprentice with, that I should be looking at? Thanks.

  2. Don Zebrauskus (DZ) is a regular poster here and is dabbling with bow making. Check with him and he can probably point you in the right direction.
  3. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Bow making is one of the most sophisitcated arts i've ever seen. Not only is the work minute and EXTREMELY precise. Bowmakers when they see something is out by .001 get very upset and have to redo.

    The other most pressing problem with becoming a new bowmaker is that pernambuco in high grades is nearly impossible to find. The three high quality bow blanks that i have cost $200 each(and these are not sufficient for bass bows !) That and the fact that is illegal to actually sell the wood. Most places that do sell it will bill you for "unfinished bows."

    Bottom line is unless you have unlimited resources you are going to have a hard time building stock of wood. Most bowmakers I know have enough pernambuco to last a lifetime.

    hope that helps.
  4. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Another issue is that there is no real good subsitute for pernambuco. Many people will say snakewood but it just doesn't have the same tonal characteristics.

    Ipe may be the closest contender. On the bright side, almost ANY pernambuco bow will be better than a brazilwood stick. So from that point of view if you can find pernam planks that may not be the best they will still be better than lesser materials.
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Don, wanna try some Morado?.. It's pretty dence and bendabale but not soft.. Shedua is closer the the density of Pernambucco. What are the sizes you need.. I'll cut the blanks, you make the Bows... ok?
  6. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York

    For a new bowmaker, though, wouldn't it be more appropriate to learn the craft first and then, at some point down the road, worry about amassing a stock of wood?

    Does anyone know of any resources that I could check out to begin learning the craft?
  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    aside from the workshops i recommend finding someone locally and asking if they teach. that is what i did.
  8. The Violin Making School of America also has a bow making school.
  9. Lynn Armour Hannings teaches some workshops, unfortunately it looks like this summer's New England session was last month. She also has a great selection of specialized tools and supplies and she plays double bass.
  10. spacecanoe


    Aug 6, 2002
    theres a guy on vancouver isnald up here in bc that makes violin bows that cost about 7 grand for a basic model haha he does workshops on the craft but i cant remember his name.. il post it soon as i can recall
  11. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    You would be better off to spend your money on a private apprenticeship with a bow maker/repairer than the VMSA. An apprenticeship will give you practical, hands-on techniques with a knowledge of traditional, as well as modern, tools and jigs.
  12. spacecanoe


    Aug 6, 2002

    da duh! i found it .. yea this cat offers workshops and people from all over hit him up apparently hes pretty well respected in the violin bow community.. maybe that equates to a bass bow for you? who knows hit him up and ask!

  13. Julie


    Mar 6, 2005
    Ft. Worth, TX
    What a coincidence, I'm leaving tomorrow for Michael Vann's bow restoration course which starts Monday. I thought about making bows but the pernambuco situation is grim and there are a lot of bow makers out there. Try rehairing and repairing instead.


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