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Jeff White

Is this Pernambuco?

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I have this bow in my shop and I'm wondering what the wood is.  In places it looks like Pernambuco, but in other places it doesn't and I'm just not sure. The red finish over the wood is probably throwing me off as everywhere it isn't, it looks like Pernambuco.  Just want to make sure I'm seeing it right. I haven't run into this red finish much before.  Also, does this look like basic commercial German workshop?

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In "A Violinmaker's Notebook" by Henry Strobel, he states on page 7 that "(Pernambuco) is easily and definitely identified by its characteristic "granular" grain pattern." Then he offers a photo on page 8, reproduced here to make the point clearer. If you look at pernambuco bows (or wood) under a magnifier, you'll see this characteristic for yourself.

However, people in this trade seem to reserve the pernambuco designation only for dense, high quality sticks. So, is your stick pernambuco? If you can't see this grain pattern on it, then it's not. But if you can see this grain pattern, then it might be the correct species but not of a quality that earns the designation "pernambuco."

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Of course there are different qualities of pernambuco in regard of colour, figure or density, but nonetheless they all are called the same.

The OP bow could be of such a low grade pernambuco, but could be something else from what such mid 20th trade bows are sometimes made of. I guess I'm seeing why Jeff is unsure. Just call it "tropical wood".B)

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9 hours ago, MarkBouquet clearsky said:

In "A Violinmaker's Notebook" by Henry Strobel, he states on page 7 that "(Pernambuco) is easily and definitely identified by its characteristic "granular" grain pattern." Then he offers a photo on page 8, reproduced here to make the point clearer. If you look at pernambuco bows (or wood) under a magnifier, you'll see this characteristic for yourself.

However, people in this trade seem to reserve the pernambuco designation only for dense, high quality sticks. So, is your stick pernambuco? If you can't see this grain pattern on it, then it's not. But if you can see this grain pattern, then it might be the correct species but not of a quality that earns the designation "pernambuco."

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There a a few woods of the dense exotic type that have similar marking like you`ve mentioned.Also its often hardly noticable in some pernambuco. So not a good way of distinguishing pernambuco at all.

The OP`s bow looks possibly pernambuco but photos not very clear ,particularly the head view.

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3 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

 

The OP`s bow looks possibly pernambuco but photos not very clear ,particularly the head view.

Let's try again FC.  Any thoughts on the use of this red finish (shellac/Oil V?)

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Up to me,it's pernambuco.May be not the best grade and  with larger pores ,but pernambuco.

Looks like a factory or mass product of a workshop with alcohol base varnish.

The frog is in bad condition ,made by hand with badly fitted mountings of german silver.

Jeff White,the second and last pictures gave the final picture:)

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Ok, thanks but the plot thickens.... In trying to "lessen" the amount of red varnish, I exposed a scarf joint about 5" longs so the head probably got replaced at sometime. What I can't understand is why someone would put that much work into what I'm considering not much of a bow.  The wood on either side of the joint matches as to it's type pretty well.  So, how much of a devaluation is a repair like this? (on a bow of this grade).

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19 minutes ago, Stepan Demirdjian said:

Up to me,it's pernambuco.May be not the best grade and  with larger pores ,but pernambuco.

Looks like a factory or mass product of a workshop with alcohol base varnish.

The frog is in bad condition ,made by hand with badly fitted mountings of german silver.

Well, it's a little better now.  I'm not goin' the "full monty" on fixing this worn slide on this bow.  Just fill and pieces.

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Yes ,the materials on both sides looks the same.It may be just a meterial saving.The bow may has been made by grafting two pieces of short sticks.Materials thrifting has been a common practice especially during the world war 2.I have seen a fingerboard made of three pieces from this period and also strings with ball ends made of zinc.

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34 minutes ago, Stepan Demirdjian said:

Yes ,the materials on both sides looks the same.It may be just a meterial saving.The bow may has been made by grafting two pieces of short sticks.Materials thrifting has been a common practice especially during the world war 2.

Huh, never new that.  

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In a small pill cup put a few drops of water. Take a narrow chisel and scrape a very minute shaving from the bottom of the mortise. It only needs to be about  one to one and a half mm by 1/4mm and drop it in the water. Pernambuco will turn the water pink shortly, other woods that I have tried  have had no effect or at best turn it a yellowish tint.

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5 hours ago, FenwickG said:

In a small pill cup put a few drops of water. Take a narrow chisel and scrape a very minute shaving from the bottom of the mortise. It only needs to be about  one to one and a half mm by 1/4mm and drop it in the water. Pernambuco will turn the water pink shortly, other woods that I have tried  have had no effect or at best turn it a yellowish tint.

Hmm, that's right, pernambuco was first a dye, right?

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