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Guido

Arnold Bone (1913- 2001 ) bow maker

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I've got a bow which I enjoy playing. It has some letters scratched into the stick just above the mortice and - what seems to be - the same word, scratched into the slide.

I read it as Bone, possibly A Bone.

While I always thought those might be the marks of a previous owner, I now came across a bow maker named Arnold Bone (1913-2001) and I wonder if I might have an early bow from him when he didn't have a proper stamp yet.

Anyhow, does anyone have pictures of an Arnold Bone bow?

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Hi Guido,

it would be better to see some more significant photos of the bow. This would help to decide if it's an individual made bow (as you're assuming) or an imported trade bow marked with an owner's name.

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I knew Arnold Bone.  A class he taught in bow rehair/repair at the University of New Hampshire was the beginning of my formal instruction in luthiery, and he continued advising me after the class.

Arnold was a meticulous craftsman, initially self-taught in his youth.  Later he was trained as a machinist and he ultimately became a mechanical engineer who was awarded a number of patents.  In his spare time he was a good amateur violist, a skilled gunsmith and a highly respected bow maker/restorer.  I was repeatedly awed by the functional elegance of things he made -- often tools and fixtures for violin and bow repairs but also things as mundane as a hammer head or an axe handle.

I don't know what an Arnold Bone bow would look like -- I expect he could have flawlessly created one in any style he chose -- but I am quite sure that he would not have scratched his name on a bow he made as crudely as the inscription on yours was done.

Why do you mention Canada?  I don't think he ever lived there.

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6 hours ago, Brad Dorsey said:

 

Why do you mention Canada?  I don't think he ever lived there.

 

Here is a short description of him, it mentiones Canada, but South Ryegate, seems to be in the US.

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9 hours ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Why do you mention Canada?  I don't think he ever lived there.

Sorry, just some casual googling seemed to indicate he was born in Canada, but yes, his place of birth, South Ryegate, Vermont, appears to be in the US.

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16 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

Never seen a Bone bow but once had a Jon Vanderhorst bow which i remember played very nicely, had very flamed/ figured  pernambuco.Vanderhorst was a pupil of Bone i believe.

Guido, Send Jon Vanderhorst an email, will take a few days to respond. If I am not mistaken he has at least one Bone bow. Vanderhorstbows.com

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I agree with Brad D that Arnold would never have scratched his name in this way. He was a meticulous craftsman  and would have had no trouble making a proper stamp. He was a very creative restorer and used some unorthodox methods (partly because no one else was skilled enough to emulate them) and was scrupulously honest. It would not surprise me if one did find a hidden Bone stamp that it indicated a repair such as a butt graft. I don't know if he did that but it would not surprise me to find out that he did.

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6 hours ago, Blank face said:

So "Bone" might describe the stuff the face plate was made of, to avoid the ivory ban.B)

 

43 minutes ago, ClefLover said:

Maybe “abalone?”

Surely "Bone" was meant to signify the quality of the player's hand, as proven by the wear pattern:

 

IMG_2321.JPG

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On ‎5‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 8:04 PM, Brad Dorsey said:

I don't know what an Arnold Bone bow would look like -- I expect he could have flawlessly created one in any style he chose -- but I am quite sure that he would not have scratched his name on a bow he made as crudely as the inscription on yours was done.

 

7 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

I agree with Brad D that Arnold would never have scratched his name in this way.

I'd think that settles it for me. Makes sense.

Last wild theory could be an unmarked bow (apparently there are unmarked bows by Bone) that was later marked by the owner with the maker's name - very far fetched. And the workmanship shown on the bow doesn't seem to be of the standard of Bone described above.

Anyhow, it's always nice to honour some of the lesser known makers and bring them back o memory.

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Arnold Bone was great, an amazing craftsman. I once found a Sartory bow with no head in the 80's, and he was happy to make a new one for it. He and his helper made a beautiful head and mounted it using a 'pencil sharpener' style join. The join was very hard to see and the varnish matched perfectly. Very glad to have met him, saw some wonderful bows at his shop.

At that time his shop and home was in the western Boston burb's.

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10 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

...It would not surprise me if one did find a hidden Bone stamp that it indicated a repair such as a butt graft. I don't know if he did that but it would not surprise me to find out that he did.

From the Wenberg book: "...When a major repair has been done to a bow, he stamps 'REP ARB' on the shaft past the grip to prevent dealers from selling the bow as never having been damaged..."

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20 hours ago, Blank face said:

So "Bone" might describe the stuff the face plate was made of, to avoid the ivory ban.B)

Most of Arnold's bow career was pre-ivory ban.  I remember him saying, in 1990, that ivory was becoming harder and harder to get, hence becoming more and more expensive.  And he said the last time he had bought ivory he had to pay $100 a pound.  (Or was it $1000?)  The quality of commercially available ivory tips did not meet his standards, so he bought pieces of tusks and cut them up himself to make tips.  He also machined his own screws and eyelets, because he didn't like the ones he could buy.

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In 1990 or slightly later, as I remember, new ivory was forbidden here and available was fossile mammooth only. Though there was always (and still is) some old stock, piano keys etc., it's illegal to deal with it.:ph34r: It sounds as if the Arnold bows must have been very decent made, but there are no examples to find online.

The OP is rather a german trade bow from ca. 1900, so it's useless to reason about it anymore IMO.

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Hi,

I owned an Arnold Bone viola bow for almost 40 years and also knew Arnold. None of the bows pictured above look, even remotely, like the work of Arnold Bone. Those who discussed the scratched bone markings are correct. He didn't sign his bows by scratching his name, nor did he sign them in that location. Arnold was a craftsman; he was also a machinist. The workman ship of both the stick and the frog in the photos from Guido are just not precise to be his work.

I will say this though- if you get a chance to play on one of his sticks you will enjoy the experience. I hope this helps.

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