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  1. Hi guys - As a larval re-hairer who was once thought to have good hands [**bitter, hollow laugh**], I'm completely stuck in re what to do about maintaining a smooth, clean ribbon of hair like all the cool kids on the re-hairing videos do, without having it immediately explode into an amorphous roiling mess as I am tying off my second knot. Wet, damp, and dry, I can comb out the beautiful flat ribbon of my dreams, pinch it hard and pull it tight, only to watch it instantly slump, puff, and frizz into a sagging chaotic mass of wavy epithelial despair -- while I'm still holding onto it. I'm thinking of contacting an exorcist. Clearly I'm somehow letting the hair inside the bundle slip loose while I'm holding it, but I'm gripping and pulling it as tight as I dare. I thought that wetting the hair would take care of that, but it didn't. Neither did dusting the ends with powdered rosin to provide some friction. I've tried a comb, I've tried a brush, I've tried a bending stick, I've tried combing dry, I've tried wetting with water, and alcohol, and even acetone. I've tried anchoring the hair in a clamp on my workbench and pre-combing it before inserting it into the first mortise, even blow-drying it straight as if it were attached to the head of a sorority girl (I re-hair tip to frog). I've tried holding the hair in place with clips and barrettes. I've tried knotting ahead of the mortise and sliding the knot back; I've even tried multiple knots along the length of the hair. I tie down the hair flat at the tip the way Mr. Tucker suggests (thank you CT!). And of course I do my proper combing and brushing (from the ends up, of course) and wetting after the tip end is inserted. For, like, **hours.** I've tried both coarse good-quality hair and fine, less expensive hair. They both writhe into similar nests of madness, except that the finer hair also snaps during combing and mats up into sullen, gummy tangles, which is really entertaining. Every hair in every bundle I get has a slight natural wave, which is normal for horse hair, right? I discard the hairs that are extra wavy, or kinky, or of uneven thickness, or sprouting tentacles and whispering the dread name of Yog Sothoth. What remains looks and acts like perfectly normal non-demon-possessed horse tail hair until I try to comb it into a ribbon and install it in a bow. Is there something about horses' tails that I haven't been told? Are they... parasitic aliens??? The one thing I haven't tried yet is a real metal rehair comb rather than the plastic flea comb I have now. It would be nice if I could fix the situation by Buying a Thing,, and I'm ordering one, why not, but I doubt that it will solve the problem entirely. Anyway. Eventually I just give up, get the hair as together as I can (i.e., a sad drooping sloppy bundle with one tight angry hank in the middle), finish the job, and then viciously flame everything into submission. Inevitably, I scorch a lot of hairs, which I remove so that the musician won't be annoyed with me. The result, after rosining, looks like a genuine re-hair, doesn't have any crossed hairs, and plays decently according to my slave violinist bow-tester (thank you Dad). But it takes far too long to be practical, it's bad for the hair, and at heart I know that it's a cheat. We all know that flaming is only for snapping six or seven stray stragglers into place, not artificially firming up a sagging tangled pile of mess into a dark unholy thing that looks like, and yet somehow horribly is not, a ribbon. Listen, I know that re-hairing is difficult to learn and just takes miles, and I'm fine with that. At this point I may need to carve three or five plugs before I get a good one, which is embarrassing, but at least I can do something different with my knife and see a different result. But I can't seem to do anything at all to change what's happening with these pallid filaments of existential gloom that just won't stay put in a ribbon. No matter how I vary my approach, and no matter which hair I use, the same thing happens. Which means that I'm the common denominator, so I know that I am the problem. But how? Dear god, how? I was taught by one of the best bowmakers in the business (I won't sully his name by linking it with mine at this point), and it's shameful not to be able to do more justice to the excellent training he gave me. I was able to comb out and install hair that worked while I was in his shop. So I've done it, truly I have, but it's not working now. What do I need? A different jig? Different thread? A blood sacrifice on a stone altar at the new moon? Can somebody offer me a hint about what I'm doing wrong before I need to re-stock my vodka supply again? Because I've started to buy the big bottles. Many thanks in advance [puts head down, sobs, bangs fist into pile of hair shrapnel and maple shavings], d.o.g.