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Bow refinish ideas??

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by chris1125, May 16, 2011.

  1. chris1125


    May 14, 2007
    So for my second bow rehair attampt victim, I decided to use an old bow I bought years ago. When I pulled out the bow, I realized that the finish was a disaster and decided to sand it down. I sanded off the top layer and now the stick is lookin really nice. There is still some nice finish on it but it is very dull and smooth. I would like to seal it off somehow. Suggestions?
    Another problem I ran into was that the silver was very dark brownish green. I tried a couple of over the counter silver cleaners which did not work at all. Eventually I got impatient and took some steel wholl to it. It got the silver nice and shinny but left tiny little scratches everywhere. What now?
    A third and final (hopefully) problem I ran into it that when I was pulling the ancient slide out I broke into several pieces. I had another slide laying around but it's a bit to narrow.
    Other then these issues, the bow is actually in nice shape for something I got for $5 out of a box at a music store. If I reall. Screwed it up beyond repairable let me know and I'll give up and sell it on eBay or something lol
    Any tips are appreciated!
  2. Blaine


    Aug 4, 2001
    new york area
    traditionally the finish is shellac. i would wipe it down with alchohol to clean it. often this will renew the finish some.
  3. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Re Blaine.
    I have a bow that I paid $125 for in '61 or '62. I like it and that's all that matters. I don't know anything about its pedigree. I can't even find name, a number or symbol on it.
    However, like a dummy, after fifty years, I decided to put one of those "two for $4" rip-off rubber hose sections from Lemur on it, and the black and white plastic (?) wrappings loosened and began to unravel.The rubber grip was so tight that I had to cut it off off the stick before I damaged it more.
    My question now is how are those wrappings held on? Glue? Or, perhaps wet shellac?
    Confession :) I used some DucoCement to keep it in place for the time being at least.
    Any suggestions?
  4. Blaine


    Aug 4, 2001
    new york area
    Can't help much i'm afraid. i would try a little white glue, i know it's acceptable to use with the leather wrapping.sorry i cant help much more.
  5. chris1125


    May 14, 2007
    Like normal rubbing alcohol? Or something else?

    Btw, there is a good video on YouTube of grip installation on a cello bow I believe... If you search hard enough you should find it, tells you just about everything you need to know. There's also an old article in the strad (check the website) on making a fancier grip with different colored thread. The thread grip was just plain old super glue but for silver, you tape it down with some electrical tape, Sauter, cut off the exess, file down the extra sauter and shine it up with some steel wholl... I am certainly no expert but I do believe I have a talent in google search! :)

    Unfortunately, there is a lack of info available and the one video I did get did not explain anything except for an amateur mumbling his way through hair installation and NOTHING else :(

    If anybody knows of a reliable book or info on bow repair that doesnt break your bank send me a link. I have seen a couple books on bows for several hundred dollars but unfortunately as a full time student I couldn't justify that... I have gone through a tube and a half of super glue on this bow just to get it in the general right shape... Please tell me I'm doin something wrong lol
  6. chris1125


    May 14, 2007
    I got bored and tried some normal rubbing alchohol which worked rather well... Untill I tried getting the tip wedge out and broke half of the tip off. Took quite a bit of re shaping and superglue but I think I was able to save it. My new two issues are now I need a tip. And don't know where to get one or how to cut it. I am leaning towards trying to find a silver one because I think they look prett cool. I also started the grip which turned out suprisingly nicely but I did not have as much silver as I thought I did so I am going to have to put a pretty thick piece of leather on it. I also don't know where one would find this. My third issue is that I broke both wedges and the slide while taking it apart... The last guy must have put it together with super glue or something! Of course it didn't help that there was no hair on it when I found it so I couldn't pull anything out with the hair. So what I have lef to do:
    -replace ivory (or plastic I guess) tip
    -finish the leather portion of the grip
    -Make new wedges and a new slide

    This should be interresting lol... Any tips are appreciated.
  7. tstone


    Nov 16, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    If the finish survived being wiped with alcohol, it is probably not shellac. Alcohol dissolves shellac, even after it is cured. Naphtha would be a safer choice.
  8. If you are seeing a greenish tarnish, then it is not silver that you are trying to clean. Real silver turns black. It sounds like a nickel-silver wrap which despite the name has no silver content at all but a high copper content (hence the green). Silver cleaner will do no justice.
  9. chris1125


    May 14, 2007
    It's just a cheap German violin bow that ik working on in preparations to taking on an old Chinese bass bow haha So yes, it is not real silver. That is why I took some steel whool to it which left the scratches. I got the grip silver replaced so now I just have to replace the ivory, get a new slide, rehair and WHAM!... Hopefully I don't break another one. The bass bow I'm taking on next needs simialer repairs, but I can actually play the bass so I decided to test out me technique on the violin bow and it's coming along considerably better then I thought it would considering I am big handed and clumsy. If it makes it through in one piece I'll post before and after pictures.
    The Chinese bass bow I am going to start also needs a new tip, it doesn't really need a new grip, has some plastic crap on it which I might as well replace and is in desparet need of a rehair and some cleaning up. If I remember correctly I don't thi k the frog fits like it should either... Maybe a new silver thing in between the frog and the stick? I'm considering spending a little extra money, using high quality parts (silver grip, bone tip, new silver screw, silver frog fittings, uprgrade the ivory, lizard skin thumb leather) just to turn it into a nice backup bow because the stick is really not bad, but I would have to wait a little longer for the cash to flow in... That's probobly over $100 in materials for a bow I bought on eBay for $35. If i really got into it i could strip and and attempt a french polish on the stick. Oh well, this forum should go on for a while either way, I have a lot of work to do.
  10. Sounds like quite the project. If the stick is good then maybe it is worth the cost and effort. Swapping hardware may offset the balance and weight of the bow but seeing as it was a small investment to begin with, it sounds like a great candidate to experiment with. Who knows, maybe you'll have that 5K bow after all is said and done. Keep us posted as to how it turns out. Good luck!
  11. chris1125


    May 14, 2007
    Certainly not looking for a 5k bow! haha It is chinese and I bought it off ebay and mosty of the hair has fallen out to the point thaty it is unplayable. I am just consideringreplacing everything except for the frog and the stick itself (maybe a little touch up on the stick) for the practice... Even if it plays terribly afterwards I will have a nice looking bow... I am in the search for a nice bow right now but I would never touch a bow I plan on playing at some point. :smug:

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