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German bow screw button smells bad...

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by ErikvanD, Mar 31, 2015.


  1. Hi all,

    At the end of 2014 I bought a very nice W. Seifert German model bass bow. I really like it. Recently I noticed the black hard rubber button on the bow screw starting to smell pretty bad. In the beginning it was hardly noticeable but now I can smell it right away when I pick up the bow. I clean the bow each time I have used it with a cotton cloth.

    Is this a common thing with those hard rubber screws? And is there a way to remedy it? I could of course change the screw for an ebony one but there might be a trick to stop the rubber button smelling this bad.

    Cheers,
    Erik

    PS.: how is the rubber/ebony part fixed to the screw? Is this a press fit or is it glued on? I do have some small pieces of ebony lying around and could turn a new button...
     
  2. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
    Maybe it's made out of the same material as the Ampeg Baby Bass. ;^]

    Probably the easiest thing to do is to get a new screw/button assembly.

    I came across a bow for which the screw had been pulled out of the button a little bit, and the button no longer contacted the end of the stick when the frog was fully forward. I asked a bowmaker about a remedy, and he told me it was a press fit, but that he also used very thin cyanoacrylate (crazy) glue to help it remain in place. He explained how to make a simple jig to press the screw back in. If I can find his email msg, I'll add the information here.
     
  3. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    If it's similar to the Uvex used in a Baby Bass there is no remedy other than to replace it.
     
  4. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It really depends on the individual maker/shop/factory as to how the buttons are attached to the screws. Quite often the button end of the screw is square, and the hole drilled into the button is round. You literally have a square peg to put in a round hole, and that is what holds everything in place. Sometimes some hide glue or CA glue is used, sometimes it isn't. Other times the button end is reverse/left threaded and screwed in, and there are even cases where the screw is dipped in acid so it intentionally oxidizes and expands into the button. So removing the screw/button can be relatively easy or extremely difficult.

    If you are looking to replace it with an ebony button, you can buy factory buttons that come with a screw and eyelet. In that case you would just remove the eyelet from the frog and replace it with the new one. If you really want to keep the existing eyelet, using a pitch gauge you can figure out what the screw is (often they are metric) and make sure to purchase a new screw/button in that pitch. It is a relatively simple procedure provided the eyelet hole is straight and does not need a bushing, and you might need to adjust the new eyelet if it is too large to fit the stick mortise.
     
  5. Thanks guys. I guess finding a fitting new button and eyelet might be easier than to get the existing button of the screw.. So far I have only measured the diameter of the screw which is just under 4,5 mm. I'll dig up my thread gauges and determine the tread site too so I know what I need. So far the only replacements I found were 4 mm which would mean a rather sloppy fit in the hole in the bow.
     
  6. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    While half a millimetre might as well be half a kilometre in a bow, the nipple at the end of the stick does more to determine whether or not the button will feel sloppy than the clearance around the screw. You actually want a few tenths of space in there so in the winter when the wood shrinks and the screw does not, the stick is safe from breaking. Ideally you find a screw and button that match the eyelet and you just unscrew the old one and screw in a new one.

    Another option is to get in touch with Seifert directly and see if you can purchase an ebony button from them. Double checking the measurements would be a good idea, but there is a very good chance that they use the same screws for all of their bass bows, and the nipple recess would likely be closer to the correct size than going with some other bow supplier.
     
  7. @Mike: In fact, I did email Seifert directly about this! So far I have not had a reply but they did reply on some previous emails pretty quick so I'm sure I'll get a reply soon.
     
  8. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    ...only because nobody mentioned it, make sure the new button is the same mass, in the same places, as the old button, if you want the balance to feel the same.

    Looking up the difference between "static" and "dynamic" balance may be helpful...
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  9. I ended up sending the smelly screw/button to Seifert. They will make me a fitting ebony one. Not the cheapest option but I guess I will now get a button back that fits my bow perfectly. I only hope it will not be too long before I get it back as I only have one German bow...
     

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