Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Thinking about making a bow?


Recommended Posts

Snakewood has been used often. I beleive it's from Surinam, maybe it's available where you are. The Chinese use a wood called manilkara kauki. Don't know where you could come by that wood. I've also heard that osage orange, a =n American hardwood can make ok bows, but I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As we've learned Snakewood is too dense for traditional bows, although it works great for baroque bows. Something aobut the camber...don't ask me, ask Rick Regall at Wm Moenig. The Chinese are buying cheap timber from brazil, lumber intended for flooring. I have heard this from a number of suppliers, so I take it as gospel. But some shops are working with Cambodian Manilkara Kauki. In fact, because of a lack of a paper trail for most of the bow shops I've talked with, I think this is more prevalent than not.

Last year, a client hired me to do an investigative search in the Yunnan province lumber yards for this MK wood...I was unsuccessful. I think because it is a scrap wood of little importance..but I'm still working on it. I go back to Yunnan this fall.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Snakewood is beautiful, and very expensive. I have heard it makes good bows, in the past, but maybe not? I'd like to see one made of Ipé, a less expensive exotic, coming in from Mexico. I have used it for fingerboards and tailpieces, on occasion, but I have never made a bow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I hear "lack of paper trail" a lot and am curious. Is that because some pernambuco may be smuggled? Or is it because it is the "only" thing that diffrenciates 2 will made bows that feel and play the same?

Curious, curious.


Lynn Hannings, Young Chin and the others who are organizing the IPCI have done a lot to teach us traders about the importance of a paper trail. I won't say anything publicly here on the forum, but let's just say it is a well known fact that pernambuco crosses state borders in a variety of ways that are less than legal. A paper trail guarantees that the wood first of all has permission to cross borders, and second of all is of quality intended for making violin bows (not floor boards ).

I heard one story from a reputatable bow maker how a shipment of pernambuco lumber was diverted in the Pacific North West and sold to a factory in China within the last 5 years or so...

It was fairly common practice, but I hope Lynn's and YOung's efforts with the IPCI can manifest change in a formative way - with our support, of course!

I think buyers should always ask for a paper trail before purchasing ANYTHING claiming to be pernambuco! It would be hard to do, but someone has to set standards for the industry, why not the top violin makers and violin shops?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...