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Jacob

Carbon bows

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If all other things are equal, which construction is "better", and why? I have seen some strong opinions for braided, but no reasons for this.

PS - how does one edit a topic title? This one should have been "Braided or not?" but I ended up with a typo...

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I am under the impression they are all braided in some way, if by braided one means the fibers cross one another at points. Completely Linear carbon fiber splits easily, since the binder is weak by comparison. I think it is difficult at times to tell what kind of construction is used internally, but the surface may not tell the whole story. Mind you, this is just my conjecture based on a limited understanding of carbon fiber, as opposed to any real knowledge of what CF bowmakers are doing.

A rod comprised of completely linear fibers would have a maximum Modulus of Elasticity, but would paradoxically be more susceptible to some kinds of failure. It is the crossing of filaments that gives it strength, in all directions. I think in very important applications where Modulus of Elasticity is paramout (like race car components), a combination of linear and braided filament layers are used.

Carbon fiber has a MOE very many times that of the best bow wood, and thus there would be no downside in strength from using braided fibers. If there are CF bows made of completely linear carbon filaments with zero crossover at any point, I would be interested to learn of them. I have seen some that seem to have a kind of lazy weave to them as opposed to the very ordered pattern like Yamaha bows. Tonally, I have never heard a carbon fiber bow that sounded good to my ear. Some are very stiff. I think most players would be surprised to learn that a few are nearly as stiff as softer cello bows.

With respect to strong opinions favoring braided, I cannot think of a single logical or technical reason that would be available to the non-specialist in CF methods, i.e., any player who insists one is better than the other, if the other is that lazy weave. In other words, you may have seen no reason because there is none. I suppose the very ordered braided bows have a certain visual appeal, to some. From the tonal aspect, I think there would be a better chance in finding a good sounding CF bow that does not have a perfect braid construction, since randomness may allow particular bows to have good sound by accident, or rather a combination of unknowable advantageous variables.

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I suspect that the technology used arose from that used to make graphite fishing rods. Fly rods are made using spiral wraps on a tapered form, layered with the spirals in opposite directions. Linear fibers along the exterior. I am sure the Chinese manufacturers make a lot more fishing rods than violin bows.

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Looking at my (Chinese) carbon bow, I have the impression that it made of chopped fibre/resin with an outer layer of braided cloth. Probably the cheapest bows are missing this outer layer. I have no idea how high-end carbon bows are made

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Looking at my (Chinese) carbon bow, I have the impression that it made of chopped fibre/resin with an outer layer of braided cloth. Probably the cheapest bows are missing this outer layer. I have no idea how high-end carbon bows are made

++++++++++++++++

My two carbon fiber bows are pretty good. (Coda, Conservatory, and Acolla,CF)

I like them a lot. They are not braided as far as I can tell.

The playing characteristics are similar, that is, not much of variation as far cabon fiber bows go.

However, my wooden bows which are about 3 time more expensive than my carbon fiber bows,

are all different. Either you love them or hate them. They can do more tricks. (Rao and a German bow)

Some shops told me that they do not sell any bow less than $3,000. You figure it out.

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I have a couple of carbon fiber bows, a Coda Classic with a painted stick that no doubt doesn't have a pretty uniform carbon braid under the paint and a Glasser braided with a solid core. Since Coda has switched to their new Diamond braid bows I assume there is some advantage to a braided construction. I understand that uniform quality in carbon fiber bows is not quite possible and they come out of the mold with varying qualities including some unuseable scrap.

The general opinion which I share is that they are usually better than wooden bows in the same price range. They don't all play the same and they don't all sound the same. Tone quality seems to go up with price although even the cheaper ones play well. If your budget doesn't extend to bows by contemporary fine bow makers or collector bows then carbon fiber bows may give you more for the money than most shop bows.

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I've got a very early Coda Classic that I was told was made by laying the individual tows in a form by hand. I've also got a "regular" Coda Classic and an early Coda Diamond GX. They are all very different from each other.

The 1st is a little soft and steady with a sweet tone, but not too fast and won't jump off the strings very willingly. Good for waltzes, not so much for breakdowns.

The second is stiffer and much faster, but a little uneven and jittery. If you play it very carefully, it handles quite well, kind of a demanding yet rewarding bow. Its tone is stronger and clear, more fundamental is apparent.

The last is of the first avatar of the GXs, very soft stick, trying to emulate old French bows. It is very quick, very forgiving, well balanced, good string crossing, and loves jumping off the strings. Its tone is the grainiest of the three but is evolving nicely, I think it will eventually surpass my first bow. (Aside: Anyone else notice CF bows playing in?) Not as nice as wooden sticks though.

Apparently, the softer GX stick was favored by experienced players but the later, stifffened formulation is favored by those less skilled. I have played for a month or two on a friend's more recent GX and found it to be much stiffer, more stable, and more powerful...but not nearly as fun. The tone is thicker.

ALB

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I think the braided look comes from using pre-woven CF cloth and clear resin. I can imagine that starting with CF cloth may be cheaper than building up a form from wrapping thread around a mandrel, and could lead to better consistency with a lower effort of quality control, but that's just speculation. But it does look cool ;-) My favorite bow is my octagonal Arcus Sinfonia which doesn't have the "braided" look, and which I assume uses wrapped construction although I can't find any useful info regarding Arcus' construction methods. I like my Diamond SX as well but it's not "magic" like the Arcus.

ALB, thanks for the explanation on the GX stick. It might explain something I found in trying a couple different SX's. One belonging to a friend was extremely lively and loud--as you say, wanting to jump off the strings--but mine, purchased about 6 months later was somewhat more stable and quieter. Although it was more conventional in its performance, I was a bit disappointed! I assumed it was due to variation in manufacturing but this make a lot of sense.

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ALB, thanks for the explanation on the GX stick. It might explain something I found in trying a couple different SX's. One belonging to a friend was extremely lively and loud--as you say, wanting to jump off the strings--but mine, purchased about 6 months later was somewhat more stable and quieter. Although it was more conventional in its performance, I was a bit disappointed! I assumed it was due to variation in manufacturing but this make a lot of sense.

Yeah, I guess I got lucky with mine. If you check the serial number of the bow, I'm pretty sure that Coda would tell you if it's one of the softer or stiffer sticks.

I've heard that there is still a fair amount of variation in their bows though. I can't really comment since all mine are very different by design. In generally I've been very satisfied with their stuff, they play well for the money.

I'm curious to see the evolution of CF/non-wood bows. I read somewhere about a CF person saying that the bow making process is one step behind bike frames: molded, braided, and finally, individual laying of the tows by machine (vs. by hand which apparently yielded very uneven results). I'd be curious if there are any bike enthusiasts (or other experts) who could comment on this?

ALB

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I'm curious to see the evolution of CF/non-wood bows. I read somewhere about a CF person saying that the bow making process is one step behind bike frames: molded, braided, and finally, individual laying of the tows by machine (vs. by hand which apparently yielded very uneven results). I'd be curious if there are any bike enthusiasts (or other experts) who could comment on this?

ALB

Hmmm... To get two enthusiasts for the price of one, you might want to ask this guy.

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?...=319256&hl=

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Of course I was exercising a little fun by gesturing to his most theme appropriate avatar, but now that the joke has been divested of what meagre spontaneous humour it might have possessed, sure why not. In fact, his website seems to indicate he would have competent opinion on such matters.

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In the industry, carbon and other fibers can be braided onto tapered and irregular mandrils or forms leaving no seams except at the ends.

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