What to use to clean a bow.

Discussion in 'Bows and Rosin [DB]' started by Mgaisbacher, Apr 19, 2014.


  1. Mgaisbacher

    Mgaisbacher

    Oct 18, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    I just bought a carbow off of the classifieds here as my backup bow. Seems like a great bow for what I paid but the wrapping is very dirty along with the metal parts on the frog, almost tarnished. Also it seems as if someone used very thick grease on the screw because it has a gummy feeling when I tighten/ loosen the bow and when I take the screw out it looks all gummed up. I have wiped this off just with a paper towel a couple times but it seems it is in the stick.
    Im just wondering what is the best thing to use to clean the bow especially the wrapping.

    Thanks
     
  2. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It is pretty normal for the screw to be lubricated. If excessively so, a paper towel should get rid of most of the excess. If it seems to be in the mortise in the stick, a q-tip can also be helpful. Some rubbing alcohol diluted in water on said q-tip often does the trick. Make sure to keep the hair away from the grease/rubbing alcohol, as it can render the hair unplayable. Keep the alcohol away from the leather as well, as it can dry out/remove the glue that keeps the leather on.

    As per the metal parts, a lot of bow makers will clean/polish them as part of a rehair. Some charge for it, some don't. I would not recommend attempting to clean the metal parts with hair in the bow, (especially the ferrule) as you run the risk of ruining the hair with cleaners/polishes. You also want to be careful with the winding, as some of them can come off/loose when you attempt to clean them. If it has that much gunk on it I would think it would also be due for a rehair, so it might be worth getting it done all at once by a bow maker.

    If you don't want to go that route, then a toothbrush in that same diluted rubbing alcohol (again, keeping it away from the hair and leather) can help get the gunk off, and if it is a (nickel)silver winding a small amount of silver polish on a lint-free cloth can polish it. Check to make sure that the winding is not loose before hand and be gentle with it. The internet takes no responsibility for slinky-windings. After you are done, make sure to switch to a clean dry rag, and thoroughly remove any remaining alcohol or polish. Even a few drops on the hair can mean that section does not hold rosin, and if you attempt to play on it you can drag that out onto the rest of the bow resulting in a lower half that doesn't do much.
     
  3. redwookie

    redwookie Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Chicago
    Anyone know what lube is commonly used?

    My bow screw is twisting ok but a little more smoothness would feel better. Working on my car/truck/bicycle/house/commercialboats/guitars I've come to respect using the correct lube for specific applications.

    Silicon spray (using a thin straw of course)?
     
  4. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Different products are used by different makers, but beeswax or paraffin seem to be a main ingredient. Oils or chemicals could risk altering and discolouring the finish/wood and can create problems down the road for gluing surfaces if a repair is required. Remove the frog from the stick, apply a small amount to the first few threads of the screw, turn it through the eyelet a few times to get a bit in there, and get rid of any obvious excess.

    This is another one of those things that takes a few seconds and is pretty commonly included in a rehair. When you have the frog off the stick, check the mortise and see if there are any brass filings/shiny bits in there. If it is too tight then the screw could be stripping the eyelet. If that is the case, get it to a bow maker. A stripped eyelet in the middle of a concert is not a fun experience.
     
  5. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
  6. redwookie

    redwookie Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Chicago
    Door-Ease! Wow, that stuff 's been around for decades. It'll last that long in the toolbox too from what I've seen. Guess I'll finally pick up a tube. Given it's physical properties, it appears to be a beeswax base with additives.
     
  7. Michael Eisenman

    Michael Eisenman Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    Eugene, Oregon
    Not a tube; a stick. A little dab'll do ya, so a stick should last a lifetime.
     
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 24, 2021

Share This Page