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  1. bengreen

    Bow Finishing Techniques

    Sorry. Broke my own rule. Trying to wean myself away from kibitzing and only reply if I have specific helpful technique to share. Still have a ways to go.
  2. bengreen

    Bow Finishing Techniques

    Yes, I've heard that too. I'm pretty low on the professional musician food chain, but I think I'm still fairly representative of the group. The bow you pick up first is not necessarily the bow you'll take home with you. A bow has to work. I think most of us would rate a bow with the following order of priorities: playing qualities, sound qualities, and a distant third, visual aesthetics. You have auditions to win and and rep to get through. You choose the bow that helps you the most in accomplishing this. I've picked up bows that I thought were just gorgeous. Or made by major makers that I admired. And upon trying them found that they just simply didn't work with my bass, my body or my technique. And no amount of internal dialogue ("You're beautiful...I love you...pleeeeease work!) could change that. I'd reluctantly put them down and move on. Maybe it's different for casual players though.
  3. bengreen

    Bow Finishing Techniques

    I don't really get it. I was taught early on as an article of faith to nitric every bow. For years I donned gloves, goggles and respirator to burn beautiful wood with nasty chemicals and at the same time unintentionally raised the grain on a surface I had taken great pains to smooth. I finally asked myself, why am I doing this? I like the way the wood looks just as it is and I'd just as soon not have to handle and store all this toxic stuff. The bow's going to darken over time anyway. What's the rush?
  4. That....was....incredible! Thank you! Some years before you were in that class I had got my hands on a book about the history of aerodynamics. You'd think it was a dry subject but I was utterly captivated. That aerodynamicists were developing equations for supersonic flow during WW1 while the planes then were only a bit more advanced than box kites with motors bolted on amazed me. As did the evolution of wind tunnels to test the resulting airfoils and drag reduction designs. NACA was there from very early on researching, collating and freely disseminating information to all. This prop would have been placed in a building which basically was a huge venturi tube to up the velocity of the flow through a test chamber way smaller in diameter than the prop. I was appreciating it then as a pilot. And now I get to marvel all over again as a woodworker. The parallels are so striking: the depth slots to mark the grads, the choreographed dance to get everything lined up and clamped before the glue dries. And most striking, the final arbiter of surface precision is a guy running his hand over the blades marking spots to touch up. I love it. Thanks again.
  5. bengreen

    Ears ringing in pit orchestra

    If you head over to and do a search on "ear plugs", you'll find multiple threads where they're reviewing/recommending specific brands/models of musicians ear protection. It's a recurring and lively topic there. Can't say if it will actually solve your problem though because usually there are about as many opinions as there are participants (same as here). Shields can help too. Ask the stage manager if any are available.
  6. bengreen

    Introducing the barabiner

    What if you refined your barabiner such that: 1. Its inner diameter was the same or slightly larger than the outer diameter of the sound post. 2. On the portion (inside) that contacts the sound post you remove/file away half (or slightly more) of the circumference such that the barabiner can actually enclose/surround the post. Then you would have a tool that would show in one go the actual position of the post as opposed to multiple edge finding measurements. Is that workable or would it be too finicky fitting through the f hole?
  7. bengreen

    Picking the right screw button

    "nipple" "mortise" Take it to a luthier. It's not a do it yourself project. They can give you an idea of costs and possibly some judgement about whether it's worth repairing.
  8. bengreen

    Remove rust from bow hole

  9. bengreen

    Resizing images to specific measurements

    Another issue with photos as templates is contrast. I had a color photo of a Tourte cello bow head that I thought was just gorgeous, even modern looking. I decided to resize it for use as templates for French and German bass bows. I had specific numbers in mind and doing trial and error x, y stretches in b&w on a copy machine ended up with a pair of templates that measured up and looked about right. Only trouble was the edges were too indistinct to use as a filing guide. Too greyscale. So I ended up scanning after all and playing with image effects in the software to get my edges back, in my case ending up with a Gaussian distribution that gave a kind of blunt pencil drawing. If I'd spent more time learning the software maybe I could have done better but it was enough. They're my standard templates now. I was working small scale though, so apologize if this doesn't turn out to be relevant at instrument scale.
  10. bengreen

    loss of value in bow after spline

    I know several musicians who have what would otherwise be high value bows but for a spline. They all 1. Express some worry that the spline might one day fail and oddly seem almost apologetic about owning it. 2. Bought the repaired bow because they couldn't have afforded a bow of that quality or by that maker otherwise. 3. It's their primary bow and they love the way it plays. 4.They all play professionally and have been using the bow daily for years. Are these outliers? How do splines generally hold up?
  11. bengreen

    Bow bushing

    Hi Ed. If you're happy with your large hole placement, you can buy (very pricey) or make a step drill to extend that lineup to the small hole.. It doesn't have to be very fancy to drill such a slight amount of wood. A "D" drill head works fine. You start with a length of drill rod the diameter of the larger hole. Turn the end of it on a lathe to the diameter and length you wish for the smaller hole. File the business end to a round shape. Then file across the length of the narrow portion, using a caliper for measurement, until you're left with a "D" cross section exactly half the thickness of it's starting diameter. The larger diameter serves as a guide to position the smaller drilling head when it's inserted in the large hole you already drilled. It works quite well. No need to harden or even be all that smooth in your filing. Though being centered is no guarantee the frog's going to track perfectly. You still may have to tweak. A length of drill rod with the end filed at an angle to give you a cylindrical chisel is useful (you can give it a bit of a burr to if you like). If you don't have a lathe let me know. It just takes a moment to turn the end. I can send it to you and you can do the filing. If the large hole alignment is the issue because the bow doesn't work with your jig, you can always make a spade bit which you can steer as you're drilling.
  12. bengreen

    Bow porn

    Hi. That’s an interesting garnish on the Josh Henry bow. Can’t quite tell from the photo: is that some kind of ribbon alternating with silver wire? If it’s actually all threads, would you mind showing the underside (hair side) of the wrap?
  13. bengreen

    Power tools for carvin violin back

    Bass builds at Oberlin and ISB used used chain saw head on angle grinder. Not expensive to try. Harbor freight angle grinder $20, circular chain cutting head $30. I brought one along and Nick Lloyd demonstrated, then had us give it a whirl. Scary but surprisingly accurate with a light glancing motion. But yeah, one slip and disaster for both the lumber and your anatomy. Oh, and major mess. The chips fly everywhere.
  14. bengreen

    Lucchi meter

    A word from a nerd.... Before you give up on an old URL, it's always worth running it through the Wayback Machine. They've been crawling public web sites for a bit over 20 years and saving copies of what they find. I have a luthier friend who had previously been an artist. We were able to find her old web site, which she had thought long lost, complete with photos of all her sculptures. It's an incredible resource. And free, though donations are welcome. I ran Froggie's three links above. They all had multiple copy dates available, including the spreadsheet. The only limitation I've found is that the crawler only follows links it encounters to a certain depth. So even if a web page is archived, you can only follow the links so far before they dead end. And some pages are incomplete, though if that happens try clicking on another date. But thank you for refreshing this subject. I'm very happy to have those resources.
  15. bengreen

    Bass finger board dressing

    If you don't have any luck here, this is a topic that comes up a lot at You can search the setup and repair forum. Just be mindful to excercise judgement weedng out the "I've never done it but I think..." clutter from the actual expertise. Joey Naeger wrote an interesting take on the subject in the ISB (International Society of Bassists) magazine a few issues back. It's reproduced on his web site here if you want to give it a read: It includes a link to a pdf of the template he's settled on.