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  1. I just wanted to introduce people on Maestronet to a newly introduced product for repairing and replacing bow tips. It is called Tip Armor, made by David Warther. This is a new synthetic tip plate, sure to pass by even the most ignorant of Customs officials. I just got done with an urgent repair order of re-tipping a dozen bows using this product, and I am quite impressed. I had not used it before this week, and so I was a bit nervous about the results. Overall, I really liked it, and will begin recommending it for use in the future. I think that this will become a viable and accepted option for use on bows both old and new. I didn't take any pictures of the bows that I re-tipped, but the next bow I use it on, I will take some before and after pictures. Tip Armor is horizontally reinforced, so there are actually material fibers that give strength to the thin edges along the hair mortise. This means that Tip Armor will not deform there like plastic, and will not crack there like mammoth or ivory. The material is easy to bend to the face curve of any bow, and glues easily. However, it is very hard, and does take an effort to file, but once I became familiar with the way it worked down, it was really no more difficult to use than mammoth ivory. Cutting the mortise was easier than in mammoth due to the absence of “grain” (in other words, there was no preferential direction that was easier to cut). Cutting the mortise does require a sharp knife and bevel-edge chisel. The main thing that is a bit different, is that the face of the finished tip does not polish as highly as mammoth does. I ended up leaving the tips with a finely sanded (to 4000 grit micro mesh), but still slightly matte finish that looked fine. As far as how it works down with a file, chisel and knife: I would rate it as far easier to use than bone, but slightly more difficult to file than mammoth. Plastic tips are easy to work down, but are prone to problems. Bone tips just are just awful and should not ever be used. The following is my rundown of currently available options for bow tips: Silver (and gold) Not difficult to work down, but difficult to glue. It works best with pins, but that is not always recommended in the bow if it did not have pins originally. Silver also is heavier than other options. Ivory Classic, but should not be used anymore Mammoth Easy to work with, bends well, glues well, and looks like ivory. Unfortunately, it can be confused with ivory, so is at risk with Customs officials. Note: The sale of mammoth is now prohibited in New York and New Jersey. Tip Armor Bends easily and glues well, very strong and very hard. A bit more of an effort to work down than mammoth. At a glance, looks like mammoth, but is obviously synthetic upon inspection. “Ivoroid” plastic Grained plastic that looks like ivory. Glues easily and files easily, but tends to deform and crack with time, looks better than regular plastic. Plastic Very easy to bend and glue. Very easy to file and cut the mortise. Unfortunately, it just looks like white plastic and is appropriate for cheaper bows. Bone Very brittle, tends to crack easily, damn near impossible to bend, does not glue well, absorbs oils, tends to absorb color from case fabric, is porous, and is an awful thing to put on the heads of bows. Tip Armor bow tips can be ordered at the following website. http://www.guitarpartsandmore.com/?nav=products&cat=27 From the website: Made of AMW-814, a polymer composite. This recently developed polymer has been formulated for strength and flexibility and engineered in a way to allow artisans to work the material with ease utilizing standard carving and bow making tools. This material bends with finger strength and holds its bow tip curve for application without the typical process of soaking and press-forming. Simply bend the floor to the needed curvature and glue into place. Then shape, sand and carve as you would mammoth ivory or other materials. Several glues work well including hide glue and superglue (CA glue) which works very well. This is the latest development in violin bow tip technology and these incredibly well machined and strong bow tips are made exclusively here at David Warther & Co.. These have been developed to fill the need for a highly durable bow tip that can enter international trade because they are made of a polymer rather than a natural material. This material looks like ivory until looked at closely wherein one plainly sees a patterned design in the material itself that clearly shows (to any customs agent) it is not ivory. Mid-size international orders ship free - see shipping page for details. These also provide the bow making and repairing community with an extremely durable bow tip that is a time saver for application artisans. Bow makers are finding this material easier to work than the natural materials such as bone and fossil ivory and far easier to work than the plastic and casein based bow tips. In addition to ease and speed of application is the strength and durability factor. This material is simply as tough as nails and can take a lot of punishment.Tip Armor is a registered trademark of David Warther & Co..
  2. Hello folks, Just replaced a missing (!) nut on a local instrument lending library violin. Rather than order a blank, I cut my own from a decent chunk of macassar ebony I was given by a neighbor. Not perfectly black, but I found a nice dark section and went from there. It got me thinking about other types of materials - I've certainly seen bone and ivory, and I know guitar luthiers use things like micarta, occasionally mother of pearl, and the like. I generally prefer that the nut be the same or similar in color to the fingerboard, so I thought maybe water buffalo horn might be a possibility. I came to the the violin world through harpsichords, and we use a delightful little plastic called delrin/celcon (I see Don Noon has experimented with it a bit) for the plectra due in part to its durability and self-lubricating properties. It can be had in white or black and cuts pretty nicely so long as your tools are very sharp, but as I've only used in for tiny plectra i have no idea how it polishes up. Of course gluing it to the fingerboard with hide would be impossible, and so that more or less blows that idea, though you'd never have to lube the string grooves with graphite again! What are your thoughts? I'm sure many of you have experimented with all sorts of things and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on tone, workability, and the like. In a world where certain woods that we rely on are becoming more difficult to find or use legally, options are always good! Thanks, Jackson
  3. Can anyone give me instructions for polishing casein, bone, mammoth or ivory tips giving it that nice finished look? Jeff
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