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I've been re-hairing for a short time now and last week was given a metal bow to re-hair (I'm guessing aluminum or magnesium). Are these common? I'd never seen one before. It played quite nicely.

Not really common these days, but you do occasionally see them. I've always guessed that they were aluminum.

I think they were an early precursor to the standard fiberglass student bow. They are light, have a decent shape, and keep their camber well - and as you noticed, they do play fairly well - decidedly well enough for a beginner or a student.

I love oddities like this. Have you encountered the wooden bow with the aluminum repair tip? It slips over the tip and replaces about the last three inches of the bow, and has a nicely sculpted aluminum tip with a decent shaped / deep mortise?

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Not really common these days, but you do occasionally see them. I've always guessed that they were aluminum.

The ones that I see most often say "Heddon" on them. Wenberg says that they were made by Gibson of a steel alloy with hollow shafts, but Heddon was a company that made fishing rods.

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Had a 3/4-sized metal violin bow in the shop last week. The tip mortise was filled with epoxy, or something like it -- first I'd seen that way. The tip joint (a la Glasser) was also crooked. With a bench full of instruments, I passed on rehairing it. I have rehaired metal bows before, but with usual plugs. Don't see them often, and if anyone knows how to handle that glue-filled tip, I'd be happy to learn.

Cheers,

Ken

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Had a 3/4-sized metal violin bow in the shop last week. The tip mortise was filled with epoxy, or something like it -- first I'd seen that way. The tip joint (a la Glasser) was also crooked. With a bench full of instruments, I passed on rehairing it. I have rehaired metal bows before, but with usual plugs. Don't see them often, and if anyone knows how to handle that glue-filled tip, I'd be happy to learn.

Cheers,

Ken

I believe that the only way to deal with them, is with muscle, and an assortment of very small chisels...

(luckily, I still have the chisels)

ct

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With epoxy, I might use the drill press vise, and carefully drill some of it out first - but this is theory, as I have always been successful with the tiny chisels alone - as there is always an opening where the hair came out.

Thanks, Craig. Magic was my hoped-for method. :) I guess I'd rather sell them a new Glasser and save my fingers. Save them some money too, because I'd certainly charge for that sort of extra work. I guess I'm cranky today.

Cheers,

Ken

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Vuillaume invented the metal bow as far as i know. Ive seen some pretty awful bows from metal that look like amateur makers work.

Wurlitzer and maybe a few other dealers sold a bow in the US in the 1930`s and 1940`s called the Lomonal bow(made with Lomonal metal ??).Invented by L.Mont Allison a mechanical engineer.They were made only octagonal in section and made to appear like wood ,brown in colour. A normal frog and adjuster,etc.. Came in 2oz, 2 1/8 and 2 1/4oz weights.But they had a way built in to adjust the balance.

Ive never seen one in person but they look ok in the b/w photo in the Wurlitzer catalogue. If anyone has one ,id love to see a couple of proper photos of it.

References on the internet describe them as mass produced metal bows but Wurlitzer were selling them for 48$ in 1939 ,13$ more than their best highest priced imported silver mounted French (rebranded) bow!

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Thanks, Craig. Magic was my hoped-for method. :) I guess I'd rather sell them a new Glasser and save my fingers. Save them some money too, because I'd certainly charge for that sort of extra work. I guess I'm cranky today.

Cheers,

Ken

I believe you have somehow stumbled upon my favorite remedy...

Sell them a new Glasser .

Many bows are not worth the repair costs.

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Vuillaume invented the metal bow as far as i know. Ive seen some pretty awful bows from metal that look like amateur makers work.

Wurlitzer and maybe a few other dealers sold a bow in the US in the 1930`s and 1940`s called the Lomonal bow(made with Lomonal metal ??).Invented by L.Mont Allison a mechanical engineer.They were made only octagonal in section and made to appear like wood ,brown in colour. A normal frog and adjuster,etc.. Came in 2oz, 2 1/8 and 2 1/4oz weights.But they had a way built in to adjust the balance.

Ive never seen one in person but they look ok in the b/w photo in the Wurlitzer catalogue. If anyone has one ,id love to see a couple of proper photos of it.

References on the internet describe them as mass produced metal bows but Wurlitzer were selling them for 48$ in 1939 ,13$ more than their best highest priced imported silver mounted French (rebranded) bow!

I didn't know this.

Thanks for the research.

I will look around and see if I can find the aluminum replacement tip - it's the least I can do to contribute to this thread.

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... if anyone knows how to handle that glue-filled tip, I'd be happy to learn.

For starters, you could soak it in acetone. Cured epoxy is resistant, but acetone helps. I'd think that the hair would help wick the acetone into the cured epoxy.

John Pierce

Maker of Fine Wood Chips and Sawdust

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I rehaired a steel bow several years ago. It looked nice, felt funny (cold to the touch), and seemed to play fine, to my limited ability to discern. It was quite magnetic, so there was no question what it was made of, but it was finished to look sorta like wood. It's the only such bow I ever saw.

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Peter Sheppard Skaevert has a steel bow by Vuillaume in his case, if you look at the last photo in his gallery. If anyone knows him, maybe they could get him to comment.

steel bow

Just came back from Brussels, where I have seen a steel-bow made by J.B. Vuillaume.

The lighting in the Museum (www.mim.be) was not too well, and steel-bows have not been the center of interest of my visit, but it looked very interesting and well done.

As already mentioned, Vuillaume started making (hollow) steel-bows in 1834, played by the belgian violinist Charles De Bériot and the famous Nicolò Paganini.

Paganini stated in a letter sent to the "Revue Musicale" (by F.-J. Fétis) that metal bows are "infiniment" to prefer because of their physical behaviour.

In 1849 metal bows became much more successful abroad than in France, where Vuillaume started making (wooden) imitations of Tourte bows.

(from the catalogue of the Vuillaume exhibition in 1998 - cité de la musique, Paris)

Building a hollow steel bow might be much more work than building a Pernambuco bow, but nowadays we have carbon fibre...

As a baroque violin and bow maker, I am not going to judge acoustical properties of steel or carbon bows... :)

Bernhard

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Vuillaume metal bows were soldered together from several strips, using different melting point solders to accomplish the job without creating a nightmare. This is according to someone who had repaired solder joints on a number of them, and did so on one while I was present.

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  • 5 years later...

Regarding the Lomonal bows, according to the patent description, the metal was "aluminum or duralumimnn as the material for the staff." This is a rather cool bow, as it is the only octagonal metal bow made that I know of.

 

I have one of these Lomonal bows in my collection, as well as a Vuillaume metal bow, and a mint condition Heddon bow.  All of these are examples are made from metal and are quite interesting as "innovative" ideas. As I have time in the next few days, I'll try to pull these bows out and photograph them.

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