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GlennYorkPA

Is This a Knopf?

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I recently purchased a cute bow on eBay because it was unusual and decorative.

Everything appears original to the bow so I think I can state that:

1. The underslide is attached to the frog with silver pins rather than brass screws (French?)

2.The slide and heel plate are made of laminations ivory/ebony neatly fitted into a metal trough. (German?)

3. The original lapping consisted of alternating black and white baleen (English?).

The scratched Roman numerals on the stick and underslide make me think factory German but the quality seems too good for that. Could it be Knopf school?

Thanks

Glenn

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looks like a normal, common or garden “dutzendarbeit” from the Markneukirchen area, end of 19th. C to me

Thanks Jacob,

Does 'common or garden' mean abundant' or 'inferior' ?

None of the collectors I have shown it to has seen one like it.

Glenn

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Glenn, how about some pics of the head? What do you think the wood is?

Richard

Richard,

The head isn't in great condition but I'm happy to post some pics.

I think the wood is abeille rather than pernambuco.

Glenn

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It’s reasuring to discover that someone (bean fidleir) understands what I'm talking about, when I’m away for the weekend. :)

At the last but one Austrian Violin Makers Association AGM we recieved a very interesting lecture from Mr Schmidt, of Dresden, with an almost never ending discussion afterwards. At the time, I had just bought lots of violinmaking “junk” from the estate of the widow of Trostler, who was in turn the succesor of Jaura in Vienna. Amongst the “junk” was at least one cubic meter of old bows, all from the 19th C. Amongst these were several with these zebra frogs. Mr. Schmidt told me that there were some valleys around Markneukirchen, where almost every shed, as far as one could see contained people making bows for the large Markneukirchen dealers, thus rendering it hopeless to try to attribute a particular bow to a particular person. Indeed Kauert, quoting the report of the Plauen Chamber of Commerce from 1871 recorded an annual production for that year of 36.000 dozen (432.000) bows with a value between 1,5 to 600 Taler per dozen. As one can see from the extreemly large price range, it went from pretty grotty to excelent. A brazilwood bow with nickel mounts would hardly be one of the more expensive ones.

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It’s reasuring to discover that someone (bean fidleir) understands what I'm talking about, when I’m away for the weekend. :)

At the last but one Austrian Violin Makers Association AGM we recieved a very interesting lecture from Mr Schmidt, of Dresden, with an almost never ending discussion afterwards. At the time, I had just bought lots of violinmaking “junk” from the estate of the widow of Trostler, who was in turn the succesor of Jaura in Vienna. Amongst the “junk” was at least one cubic meter of old bows, all from the 19th C. Amongst these were several with these zebra frogs. Mr. Schmidt told me that there were some valleys around Markneukirchen, where almost every shed, as far as one could see contained people making bows for the large Markneukirchen dealers, thus rendering it hopeless to try to attribute a particular bow to a particular person. Indeed Kauert, quoting the report of the Plauen Chamber of Commerce from 1871 recorded an annual production for that year of 36.000 dozen (432.000) bows with a value between 1,5 to 600 Taler per dozen. As one can see from the extreemly large price range, it went from pretty grotty to excelent. A brazilwood bow with nickel mounts would hardly be one of the more expensive ones.

Thanks for the comments, Jacob.

I often have the same feeling about violins.

When you look at the 20pages of listings of the names of Bohemian violin makers in Jalovec, one doubts that a particular instrument could ever be attributed to a particular pair of hands. Production was truly on an industrial scale.

It seems the nickel mounts on my bow were originally gold plated.

Does that give it extra brownie points?

Glenn

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Glenn, how about some pics of the head? What do you think the wood is?

Richard

Hello Richard,

Here are a couple of pictures of the head.

I was planning to get it fixed and the bow rehaired but after Jacob's dismissive comments, I'm not sure it's worth it.

Glenn

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Thanks, Glenn. What do we know about use of abeille? Just looking at your head photos, I'm not sure I could distinguish it from brazilwood. Is abeille a common wood for Saxon bows? Is it a quality wood, or is it more common at the lower end? Also, among the many cheap brazilwood sticks I've come across, I've never seen one with gold and ivory. But you were confident the stick and frog matched, right?

Richard

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Brazilwood is a term i dont like using as it is too vague.Its seems to get applied to lots of different species for any bow ood that isnt pernambuco, ironwood or amourette. Abeille wood is a specific type ,very commonly used for older bows. Manilkara Bidentata is the latin name. Some abeillewood is excellent for bows,it varies alot in quality ,just as pernambuco does.

In the photo attached you can see this variation in abeille. Both have been planed , both sitting next to each other,but look at the size of the long pores in the left compared to the right which is hardly visible.Also the big colour difference.

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Thanks, Glenn. What do we know about use of abeille? Just looking at your head photos, I'm not sure I could distinguish it from brazilwood. Is abeille a common wood for Saxon bows? Is it a quality wood, or is it more common at the lower end? Also, among the many cheap brazilwood sticks I've come across, I've never seen one with gold and ivory. But you were confident the stick and frog matched, right?

Richard

Richard,

I can't answer your questions about the choice and use of abeille hardwood but what I will observe in passing is that when oysters were cheap and plentiful and eaten by the poor in London, they were despised but when stocks decreased and prices went up, the wealthy slurped them down with champagne and thought them wonderful (Ugh!).

Looking at the stick on this bow and comparing it with more illustrious brands, what I notice most is that the capillaries of pernambuco are finer and filled with something black whereas this wood has slightly coarser capillaries filled with white. I thought this white was a filler applied by whoever finished the bow but, in a PM, Bob told me that the white filler is typical of the tree species, hence the name 'abeille'.

Apart from appearance, I have no idea if this species has other physical properties that make it more or less suitable for bow making.

NB The frog and adjuster fit so perfectly to the stick I'm sure they are original.

Glenn

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Brazilwood is a term i dont like using as it is too vague.Its seems to get applied to lots of different species for any bow ood that isnt pernambuco, ironwood or amourette. Abeille wood is a specific type ,very commonly used for older bows. Manilkara Bidentata is the latin name. Some abeillewood is excellent for bows,it varies alot in quality ,just as pernambuco does.

Bob,

I always bow to your botanical precision in these matters.

What I learn from your remarks is that whether abeille produces a better or worse bow in relation to pernambuco depends on the particular bow and generalizations are unwise.

I'm sure that someone must have studied the trade in these exotic hardwoods and related it to price and availability over the years.

I'm guessing that pernambuco was the most expensive and prized for its ability to produce a red dye. I doubt its price was determined by bowmakers.

Do you happen to know if red dye can be obtained from abeille?

Glenn

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Abeille doesnt have any dye reaction with acids or alkalis, other than to go slightly darker.

Another wood often described as Brasilwood is an asian wood called Sappan wood (Caesalphinia Sappan),it does produce a dye and was in fact used before pernambuco for the dye trade,pernambuco was found to be superior in the quantities of dye.

It is the same species family as pernambuco and i suspect been used alot by the Japanese for bowmaking,as well as probably the Chinese,who describe it as pernambuco on ebay in particular. Its a far inferior wood to pernambuco for bows.

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Glenn the white `filler` are mineral deposits in the pores visible on the quarter sawn surface to greater or lesser degree depending on the piece of wood.. They can also look different sometimes like spots ,sometimes longer ,sometimes hardly visible at all.

It is also known as bulletwood.

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Abeille doesnt have any dye reaction with acids or alkalis, other than to go slightly darker.

Another wood often described as Brasilwood is an asian wood called Sappan wood (Caesalphinia Sappan),it does produce a dye and was in fact used before pernambuco for the dye trade,pernambuco was found to be superior in the quantities of dye.

It is the same species family as pernambuco and i suspect been used alot by the Japanese for bowmaking,as well as probably the Chinese,who describe it as pernambuco on ebay in particular. Its a far inferior wood to pernambuco for bows.

So I suspect that abeille or bullet wood was less expensive than pernambuco making more more attractive to bowmakers with cash flow considerations. However, this seems like a situation in which cheap does not equal inferior and maybe those mineral deposits had a positive impact on performance.

I've decoded I'll go ahead and have this one set up for playing. I have a hunch it's going to be a good player.

I'll also have the lapping done with whalebone (synthetic) to replace the original and reflect the theme of the zebra stripes.

Glenn

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Yes more plentiful supply. The reason it has a reputation as cheap and inferior in bows is because it was used on a large scale for some of the very cheapest bows,that were often throw together ,with terrible workmanship (from workers with very little training ) and unseasoned wood (responsible for alot of twisted and distorted bows).

But if given the attention whilst making as a bow made from pernambuco generally receives they can be excellent. Ive seen excellent examples from all the big French 19th century makers and later ones. Abeille never lent itself well to the German way of making but the French produced many good ones.

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Yes more plentiful supply. The reason it has a reputation as cheap and inferior in bows is because it was used on a large scale for some of the very cheapest bows,that were often throw together ,with terrible workmanship (from workers with very little training ) and unseasoned wood (responsible for alot of twisted and distorted bows).

But if given the attention whilst making as a bow made from pernambuco generally receives they can be excellent. Ive seen excellent examples from all the big French 19th century makers and later ones. Abeille never lent itself well to the German way of making but the French produced many good ones.

...and presumably the sobriquet 'abeille' speaks to its great use and appreciation in France.

Glenn

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arent we just talking about brazilwood with a fancy french name, as one dealer told me, brazilwood bows, even when theyre silver mounted have an upper value limit of $300

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Not at all Lyndon, Brasilwood is a term that was applied to Sappanwood ,people are generally ignorant about bow woods ,which is probably why your dealer friend makes these comments.

Even respectable places and auction houses havent a clue half the time what wood is what .Just like you can have an excellent violin with a beech back and sides ,you can get good bows made from stuff other than pernambuco. Players tend to be even more mislead. They often dont mention abeille because its got a misleading .reputation.

I just had a look at Tarisio`s auction and the first two lots i looked at .Number one is not amourette ,it is Swartzia Bannnia, Second one is Abeille (funnily no mention of the fact).I regularly go through auctions spotting the errors in wood types ,whether deliberate or they just dont have a clue.

http://tarisio.com/pages/auction/auction_item.php?csid=2197766144&cpid=2696249344

http://tarisio.com/pages/auction/auction_item.php?csid=2197766144&cpid=2696232960

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Sold last week .mounted in maillechort with repairs:

Archet de violon de Dominique PECCATTE, bois d'abeille monté maillechort. 50g5, sans mèche ni garniture. Eclat tête, bloqué arrière et tâches dans le bois. Assez bon état. 3200 Euros

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i was taught brasilwood came from a different section of the same tree as pernambuco, where does abeille come from?

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If you read the previous posts i say what abeille is,` Manilkara Bidentata,or Massaranduba`.

I also used to think Brasilwood refered to inferior pernambuco,but its wrong or right depending on who you believe,as Brasilwood or Brezelwood refered to pernambuco and Sappanwood from Asia. Both used in the dye trade.

Im not surprised so much confusion arises.

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let me get this clear, youre saying that brazilwood is never correctly refered to as abeille, actually this term abeille is rather new to me im just trying to figure out what your refering to.

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