Bow ID and Restoration Advice


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First, the pics.

 

post-78159-0-38033400-1480861517_thumb.jpg  post-78159-0-46391800-1480861511_thumb.jpgpost-78159-0-94010700-1480861505_thumb.jpg post-78159-0-98915900-1480861499_thumb.jpg

post-78159-0-66612200-1480861494_thumb.jpg post-78159-0-44339300-1480861488_thumb.jpg

post-78159-0-47857300-1480861482_thumb.jpg post-78159-0-15169500-1480861477_thumb.jpg

post-78159-0-23060600-1480861469_thumb.jpg post-78159-0-60604100-1480861461_thumb.jpg

 

I'm thinking the wood is snakewood?  It has these fairly regularly spaced darker rings, which are difficult to see given the dark patina of the stick. I don't think they are applied, as there are no spots where I can see them worn through.

 

The head has been spliced, as you can see.  It appears as though a subsequent drop or impact to the tip both broke the lining as well as jarred the splice insert loose.  What is impressive is that I cannot make out where the original break was that the splice was needed for, and that that break held when the insert came free.  At any rate, I would like to reuse the splice insert, although there is a small bit missing in the tip-tip area.  Thoughts?

 

Another point to note are the fairly deep parallel grooves cut or milled into the face of the stick.  Presumably to give the lining glue a surface to cling to.  Much too coarse to be tool marks from shaping the face, in my opinion.

 

The frog end is shaped for a Vuillaume style frog.  The frog that was on the stick was a replacement, having facets on the underslide as well as Roman serial marks.  There are no number or serial marks on the stick.  I've dug up a probable replacement frog and button.  The frog is the Vuillaume style and fits the non-swollen area of the underside pretty much perfectly.  It just feels a bit undersize? (2 cm x 4.3 cm).  Maybe will look better once a ferrule is on it.  The button looks a bit big in the pictures but has similar dimensions as the stick (9mm in the mortice area, 8.6mm at the button end, due to wear).  The replacement frog and button have their own fairly significant restoration issues which I will address in some later post.  Comments on the style or appropriateness of the replacement frog and button most welcome.

 

There is a swelling of the stick in the area of the inner screw hole, adjacent to the mortice, tip end.  The swelling prevents the frog from seating properly.  Its about .5mm or so of swelling.  It seems to me I recall reading somewhere of a similar situation that was addressed during rebushing that was a clever solution that did not involve reshaping the swollen area.

 

I think I'll start by tackling the tip, then restore the frog and button, then address the mortice end issues.

 

All thoughts, comments and advice welcome.

 

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I have a new, inexpensive, snakewood bow.  It is really heavy.  I actually don't mind the weight, but it's not my go-to either.  No particular reason other than I prefer my other bows and there are only so many one can play...

 

Is it heavy?

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...I'm thinking the wood is snakewood?  It has these fairly regularly spaced darker rings, which are difficult to see given the dark patina of the stick. I don't think they are applied, as there are no spots where I can see them worn through.

 

Those spots look like there in the wood, and not applied.  They suggest snakewood to me, too, but I could be wrong.

 

 

...The head has been spliced, as you can see.  It appears as though a subsequent drop or impact to the tip both broke the lining as well as jarred the splice insert loose.  What is impressive is that I cannot make out where the original break was that the splice was needed for, and that that break held when the insert came free.  At any rate, I would like to reuse the splice insert, although there is a small bit missing in the tip-tip area.  Thoughts?...

 

 

You mean splined, not spliced.  I can't see any break either, so perhaps the head was splined to strengthen it even though it was undamaged.  I would not re-use the spline.  The glue visible on it shows that it didn't fit well, which is probably why it came out.  I would replace the missing bit of wood with a filler made of fine saw dust and super glue.

 

 

...There is a swelling of the stick in the area of the inner screw hole, adjacent to the mortice, tip end.  The swelling prevents the frog from seating properly.  Its about .5mm or so of swelling.  It seems to me I recall reading somewhere of a similar situation that was addressed during rebushing that was a clever solution that did not involve reshaping the swollen area...

 

 

I think that any swelling that prevents the frog from seating and sliding properly needs to be removed.  I do not see how bushing the inner hole would remove the swelling.

 

It looks like you have a nickel-mounted frog and a silver-mounted button.

 

I assume that you realized that this bow is not worth the work that you plan to do on it.

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The bare stick is 43 grams, which I think is on the heavy side.  It is 28 5/8" long.

28-5/8 = 72.7 cm !

What is the measured distance from the handle end of the shaft to the near end of the mortise, less the nipple?

If 15 mm or less:

It is my recommendation that you should have it cleaned, restored, and re-polished by a professional archetier.

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28-5/8 = 72.7 cm !

What is the measured distance from the handle end of the shaft to the near end of the mortise, less the nipple?

If 15 mm or less:

It is my recommendation that you should have it cleaned, restored, and re-polished by a professional archetier.

The distance from the base of the nipple to the near edge of the mortise is 15.5mm.

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Those spots look like there in the wood, and not applied.  They suggest snakewood to me, too, but I could be wrong.

 

 

 

 

You mean splined, not spliced.  I can't see any break either, so perhaps the head was splined to strengthen it even though it was undamaged.  I would not re-use the spline.  The glue visible on it shows that it didn't fit well, which is probably why it came out.  I would replace the missing bit of wood with a filler made of fine saw dust and super glue.

 

 

 

 

I think that any swelling that prevents the frog from seating and sliding properly needs to be removed.  I do not see how bushing the inner hole would remove the swelling.

 

It looks like you have a nickel-mounted frog and a silver-mounted button.

 

I assume that you realized that this bow is not worth the work that you plan to do on it.

Thanks Brad.  I went ahead and cleaned the tip, warm water to remove the remnants of the old liner, and cleaned the old spline.  Still no evidence of an old break.  Interesting that it may have been done initially when the bow was constructed as a reinforcement.  Re-using it is a non-starter, with gaps at both the top and the tip ends.  I think I'll try fitting another spline, mainly for the experience.  I have some  macassar ebony that might work OK.

Yes, the frog is/was nickel mounted.  I didn't show the rear view, where the entire heel plate is missing.  I'll replace it using silver (easier for me to work), so it will be partially silver mounted.  Adding that to the list makes the whole endeavour even less viable from the point of view of the value of the end result, which is OK.  At this stage, I'm still learning, so its all good.

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Here is the new macassar ebony spline being fitted. 

 

post-78159-0-55564000-1481249336_thumb.jpg

 

I glued it in with G2 epoxy, colored with burnt umber and bitumen black powdered pigments.  The edges of the slot had some deformation in the tip area where there was clearly an impact, with some compressed wood.  The colored epoxy gave better gap filling than CA.  Trimmed it primarily with a knife, then super fine files, trying to stay away from the stick.  Still needs final finishing, which I'll do after the new face is applied.

 

post-78159-0-56654200-1481249422_thumb.jpg

 

I'm prepping a new tip face, but am not sure what the best way to proceed with glueing should be.  The grooves in the face are fairly deep, the ends of which show up as hollows when a face is applied.

 

post-78159-0-24012800-1481249330_thumb.jpg

 

I'm reluctant to use the colored epoxy, as it would make any future removal very difficult.  I don't think CA would fill the gaps, although there is a CA gel available that maybe could work.  I'm thinking of maybe coloring some hot hide glue and using that.  Any suggestions?  The tip face liner is ebony.

 

Another question, the following picture shows the shape of the head mortise more clearly.  Any clues as to origin with that shape?

 

post-78159-0-73483800-1481250617_thumb.jpg

 

 

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