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Bow Rehair


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The Henry Strobel book, "A Violin Maker's Notebook" can be an okay place to start. Unless you're serious about wanting to learn how to rehair bows on regular basis, then it's certainly not worth the effort and expense if you only want to rehair the occasional bow. It will take over $100 worth of tools and supplies and literally dozens and dozens of rehairs to learn how to become proficient at it. In addition to the time and patience it takes to learn the skill, it's a job that many people develop their own method at. I've never seen two people do it exactly the same way.

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ctviolin on this forum has an excellent guide to rehairing bows. This in an info booklet, done on a copy machine, but it has a step by step guide to the rehair process with photos. It does not cover straightening bows, but it certainly shows you how to rehair. The price is very cheap considering the information in the booklet. I learned from it, even though I have been rehairing bows for a while.

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I second the recommendation to take Lynn's class

Many years ago, I tried to learn to rehair from Wake's book. It was endlessly frustrating and I got nowhere. It's a good thing that I didn't get my hands on any good bows, because there's a good chance I would have seriously damaged them.

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a couple years ago when I was running PVLS, we started a bow rehair program for stores and individuals. It was quite a good idea, but the problem we had was making it profitable. Our bow rehair person was self-taught. He spent a week down at Andrew Glasser's shop in NY trying to learn a way to put a pre-cut hank of hair into a standard wood bow. Our idea was really to sell more hair, not to necessarily make a huge profit on the deal. The problem was, as he quickly found out, no two wood bows are alike...so having a standardized method of rehairing a bow, similar to what Glasser offers, for example, is next to impossible. It simply didn't work.

In retrospect, if I were to do this again, I would use a different business model. I would hire an experienced rehair person who had taken one of Lynn's classes. My goal would be to provide a value-added service, as one of many repair services, and not just rehair and repair bows.

After I left PVLS last october, I was contacted by a rehair person in Kansas who wanted to do something like this. But my biggest problem is cash flow. It's hard enough dealing with China as they expect to be pre-paid for everything. I've put the rehair repair service project on hold for the meantime.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just rehaired my first bow. I nearly had a heart attack with the stress of it and felt quite ill as a result. At the end, it had very little hair left on it as the hairs had come loose for some unknown reason. It is horrible trying to tie the second end and getting the hair to sit flat in frog so you can get the slide flush AGGHHHH!!!

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When do you expect to have that DVD ready? I want one."

First, thanks for asking.

It should not be too long now.

I have approximately 3/4 of the VCR tape version already shot. It shows two live 'real time' wood bow rehairs, from start to finish, and a Glasser fiberglass bow rehair - just to give some idea of how the rehair should go, what the procedure is, and how long it should take.

(Right now, I'm in the middle of reshooting all of the separate procedures close up and out of sequence just to clarify all of the difficult parts - like choosing how much hair to use, how to tie the knots - and deciding exactly where they should go, cutting and inserting the wedges, and flaming the hair - etc.)

Plus, I finally bought myself a new computer last week, which should make the DVD burning part of the project much easier...

I went from an old dinosaur AMD processor (475 Mhz and with only 6.9 GB of memory) to a new AMD based emachine with 80 GB and a built in DVD burner.

It is amazing how cheap computers have gotten, and how much more power and speed they have.

I'll try to get on it. Knowing me and with my scheduling problems, I'd guess at least another month or two.

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