Josh Henry

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About Josh Henry

  • Rank
    Senior Member
  • Birthday 09/30/1970

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Washington DC area
  • Interests
    Bow Making and Restoration

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  1. I have the deepest sympathy for Mary and great respect for Craig. I didn't always agree with all of the things that Craig posted online and, on a few occasions, got into a little argument with him over some technique or belief or some other thing. However, his heart and quest for knowledge was unquenchable. He was a generous person and shared himself with everyone surrounding him. I got to know Craig personally over the course of about three years that we worked together in his latest interest of making bows. Although I never had the honor to meet him in person, we had weekly discussions over Skype in our working together. Craig became a pupil, a colleague, a close friend, a brother, a confidant. Our weekly (sometime more) Skype sessions often lasted well beyond the hour time slot that we planned but were always filled with smiles and laughter. Craig dedicated his time in the last few years to learning how to make a bow. He made incredible progress as a maker for someone that due to his illness had to spend much of his time at the dialysis center. Craig was gifted in using his hands, but also had the ability to smile and laugh at himself in his often less-than-successful attempts at stick and frog making. However, he kept on at it as long as he could, and it brought him great joy to learn. Here’s to you Craig. You brought a spark to the people around you. You shared yourself selflessly. You made us laugh. You made us think. You brought us joy. Thank you. Tonight, I will pull out the violin that you made and play it in your memory.
  2. Josh Henry

    Knot nice?

    I have always used nylon thread for my knots. I used to buy it from woodwind suppliers as oboe/bassoon reed-trying thread (size FF), but now I buy it on 1-pound spools from a textile thread supplier (Nylon, size 138 or FF depending on supplier). I used to use a dark blue thread, but changed about 8 years ago because someone went off to the northern woods to a week long rehair camp and came back as a "professional rehairer" and set up a local shop, and started using the same color. Now, I use dark green. For many years, I had a small bows of liquid rosin (rosin powder with a few drops of alcohol) on the side of my rehair bench that I used to secure my knots. However, about 10 years ago, I got tired of the sticky fingers and switched to applying Krazy Glue to the knots. I have never applied glue (or rosin) directly on/under the tied knot, but rather apply it to the end of the hair after I tie the knot, which wicks the glue into the tied hair and under the knot. I then flame the ends of the hair, sealing everything together. In the picture below, the knot on the right is the first knot tied, and goes into the frog. The knot on the left is the final knot, and goes into the head mortise. I do vary the lengths of my knots by a few wrappings to account for the differing lengths of the mortises.
  3. I've been using CA glue for years in my shop, and have dealt with this same thing. As my primary business is focused on bows, rather than violins, I go through lots of CA glue--so I usually purchase it in either 4oz or 8oz bottles. I keep the larger bottles in the refrigerator for the reasons mentioned above. My primary applicators to dispense the glue are simple, cheap chemistry lab pipettes that are easy to use. Years ago, I bought about 500 of them off of ebay for about $20. They are available in different sizes, easy to fill (and refill), and are disposable. Mine are similar to these, but have a straight, non-graduated nozzle. I can use a single pipette for months, cutting the nozzle shorter as needed. I primarily use the medium viscosity CA, but also keep pipettes of the thin and thick as well. I do not bother to try to plug the end of the nozzle, and have never had glue plug up the throat, and the glue still stays fresh. Only occasionally does the dried glue build up on the tip clogging it, but that is easily cut-off. Since using these pipettes, I've also greatly reduced the number of times that I've gotten excess glue all over the place from squeezing too hard (on a plugged tube) and having it shoot glue all over the place. This picture shows two new pipettes above the scale, and one that is partially filled with CA I have used daily for over three months. I use these same pipettes for the pin-point application of flux when soldering silver. I've used these to accurately mix proportions of liquid components for varnish and even the occasional mixed epoxy. Try it--you'll like it!
  4. I don’t have much opinion as to whether or not old spruce vs. new spruce is better tonally for a soundpost. However, for years, I have used some incredible spruce that came out of a piano that was made in the late 1800’s. The piano was a total wreck, and was being thrown away, and I ended up with it so I could salvage the ivory from the key tops. When I took the keys out of the action, I was amazed at the quality of the wood that the keys were made from. They were made from very straight grain spruce, mostly fine-medium grained, with a few of the key beds having wider grain. Also, the black keys were made from ebony. There was enough wood in the one piano to last much more than I will ever use. Over the years, I’ve used far more of the spruce than I ever have of the ivory. I’ve used the spruce to make soundposts, replace edges and corners, and even a few bas bars. I love using spruce this old for wood replacement on old violins because it has the right golden color to match the wood on older violins. The ebony keys are just the right size to make nuts and saddles. There are a lot of old pianos out there that get scrapped, and the wood in some of them is completely salvageable, and great for use in violin repairs.
  5. My last resort for this kind of thing is to just throw the frog away and replace it with another one. Bows like these tend to break at the head or have problems that exceed the value, so I keep every old frog that I can, so when I can't get a frog open through the various means mentioned above, I'll just mount a replacement frog to the stick. You may not have been rehairing bows long enough to have a drawer full of them, but keep at it, and some day, you'll have plenty of spares. BTW, I do tell the customer when I have to do this, and so far, nobody has ever cared that there is a non-original Chinese frog on their factory-made Chinese stick.
  6. I've got the Knew Concepts saw. Mine is an earlier titanium version (similar in design to the aluminum versions), made before the titanium "birdcage" design that is being made now. If I remember correctly, the titanium that was used was left over from the construction of F-14s, or something like that. Mine has the adjustable quick-release cam design that holds the blade, and I upgraded the handle to one made from rosewood. I can't comment on how it does with cutting f-holes, as I've never before done that. Overall, I really like the saw, and it works very well--I bought this for work with bows, but end up not using it much because I prefer the 3" depth on the saw throat for bow work. If you are considering purchasing one, send me a message, this one could be available.
  7. In bow making, I find that the most difficult part is the very last thing--but usually the first thing that players look at--stamping my name on the stick. For those of you that have only used a bridge stamp, stamping pernambuco is an entirely different thing (for one thing, you don't use a hammer). Sounds easy, but it is not: Get it straight. Get it in the right place. Get it centered. Get it to an even depth (top to bottom and right to left). Get it nice and black (takes candle soot, not just heat). Press hard and hold it there without moving or shaking (remember, it is really hot at this point). But don't press too hard or you might crack into the mortise. Don't burn myself on the hot stamp. Don't slip. Do all of this on a facet of the bow that is only 3.5mm wide. Any questions why you see so many old bows with crooked or faint stamps?
  8. I'll add another agreement to the many comments above that this is an early Nippon bow. It is definitely not English or French, or remotely valuable. The stick is of some strain of rosewood, and apparently, the frog was made from a similar material mounted in brass. There is nothing carefully made about any part of this bow, and cleaning up and restoring it won't help it's provenance, value, or playability. More photos won't change this either. I cannot fathom why anyone could come to a conclusion about this bow that compares it to Dodd, Tubbs, or Peccatte (which are three quite different and distinctive makers!).
  9. Just don't confuse the physical term 'elasticity' in the wood with 'stiffness' or 'flexibility' (as in what a player feels). They do not correlate.
  10. Brad, this is also what I do when I fit the silver pin. I do hammer it on a metal bench block to peen and expand it. I can usually do this without splitting the ebony backing, but it does sometimes happen. No, I don't re-pin then petit-talon when I glue it into the frog. It is a tight dovetail fit on the edges of the slide channel, and when gluing the ebony backing (of the silver) to the ebony in the frog, there is no reason for any additional pinning. As most modern bowmakers do, I use CA glue to glue almost everything when making a bow. The top side of the prepared slide, followed by the back side showing the silver pin.
  11. So here are a few pictures from this morning's Skype session with Craig. In these pictures, we are cutting the channel in the frog, in preparation of fitting the pearl slide. We started by measuring out and scribing lines on the edges of the frog that define where the slide channel will be cut. Next, the channel is cut, paying particular attention to the desired taper of the pearl, the depth of the channel, and making sure that it is centered in the frog. The slide channel is left square-shaped (without dovetail) at this point. After the slide channel is defined and cut (to the desired shape, width, taper, and depth), the dovetail where the pearl fits in is cut with an angled chisel. The cutting of the dovetail shape actually goes quite quickly. In the first picture here, Craig is deep in thought. In the second picture, he has just had a cup of coffee.
  12. What you've described here Brad is exactly the process that we will be doing. Briefly, here is the process: I glue both the pearl and silver to the ebony backing, and fit it all together to ensure a correct and uniform fit into the dovetail channel in the frog. Before gluing the pearl slide blank and silver butt plate to the ebony backing, I file the two pieces so that the fit between the pearl and silver is perfectly flat--as this becomes the finished butt joint in the frog. When gluing to the ebony, I make sure that no glue gets into that joint, creating any gap. Once glued, I place a silver pin through the silver and ebony to hold the silver in place when filing and fitting into the frog. Once the entire piece (of ebony, pearl, and silver) is fit into the dovetail channel in the frog, then I will file the front of the pearl to fit against the back of the ferrule. any extra length of the silver butt plate can be filed flush with the back of the frog, creating a perfect fit and length. Once everything is fit and filed to the correct length, then a single cut is made through the ebony backing, which leaves 1.5 to 2.0mm overhang of the silver over the ebony backing. This also leaves a small extension of the ebony backing under the end of the pearl that will extend under the silver when the slide is pushed in. At this point, the silver butt plate is ready to be glued in, but the heel plate needs to be fit first. Here is one of Craig's more interesting expressions, as he looks longingly at frog-in-process. The next step is fitting the wedge-shaped heel plate to the end of frog, and then gluing it in. Once glued in, then the butt-plate fit earlier will be glued in, forming a flush butt joint between the two pieces of silver. The final step is in filing flat the bottom surface of the frog that has the bottom plate of the ferrule, the pearl slide, and the butt plate.
  13. Only when I'm about to crest the top of a mountain on my bike!
  14. Nick, I've got several I will send to you. I'll package them up with the Dragonetti bass bow that I am sending you anyway. I'll give you a call soon.