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Energon5

Wood Supplier for Bow Making?

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Hey Maestronet,

 

Forgive me if this is the incorrect place for this sort of question. 

 

I'm trying to begin the journey down the road of bow making, and am having some trouble getting started. Where I'm from there are no real resources to go through for this sort of thing, so I'm kind of on my own. I've been reading books on actual luthier practices, making the instruments, and have one book specifically on bow making (the Kun and Regh book). I decided I was just going to take the plunge and start working, but now I can't seem to find a good supply of wood when it comes to bows. I know Pernambuco is regulated now, and cannot be shipped around so that will be impossible to find, but from my other reading I had assumed that there would be some way to find snakewood, or ironwood that would be usable for just getting started at least. The problem is that all of the boards, or blanks I find are so small (12" maximum compared to the 30"(770mm) that this book I'm using as a reference uses). Is there any place you guys know that is a reliable supplier of woods for a beginner such as me, or any alternative woods I could attempt to use just getting started? Or am I going about this all wrong in the first place anyway.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice, good or bad!

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A little advise..... try some cherry wood for practice pieces.   Cherry will make a fairly good bow but won't have the reach that traditional woods have (O K for a beginning student, or folk fiddle)

 

Jim

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Advantage lumber has Ipe, Cookwoods occasionally has lower quality pernambuco, massaranduba/bulletwood/abeile is broadly available. Just take a chance on some 4/4 boards of acceptable length and cut your blanks. Most suppliers kiln dry, but from what I've been told that's OK, especially at my level of craftsmanship.

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What if you are a new bowmaker who wants first class wood?  Is there still a legal channel for the stuff or do you just have to make the rounds?  I see a guy on Facebook in Brazil who has tons.  The Brazil part is the problem.

 

 

DLB

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What if you are a new bowmaker who wants first class wood?

 

Query:  is it ethical for a "new" bow maker to use first class wood?  There's a responsibility to preserve the rare materials, no?

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Query:  is it ethical for a "new" bow maker to use first class wood?  There's a responsibility to preserve the rare materials, no?

I'm with you on this. I only work with alternative wood and lower density pernambuco that matter bow makers would not use. I have several high quality sticks thanks to friends, but I'm saving them for use as my skill improves.

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So there is basically no real supply chain like there is for spruce and maple.  By new bow maker I meant someone with real training or school behind them.  I think it's time to start my own Pernambuco farm.  That would be one big green house!

 

DLB

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I've noticed that sometimes pernambuco bow blanks are available at auctions or when a maker retires and sells his/her supply or a shop closes and sells its inventory.  Excellent bows can be made from other woods that are not so tightly controlled, such as amorette (snake wood), massaranduba,  ipe, etc.  I think Lynn Hannings used to sell wood for bows.  John Aniano, bow maker, makes bows using alternative woods and won a medal from the VSA for a bow made from amorette.  Steve Beckley, bow maker, runs a business selling supplies for bow making : http://www.bowworks.com/

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