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FenwickG

Covid 19 bow making on Youtube

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I have been watching Rodney Mohr's videos about bow making on Youtube. They are very informative and detailed. I took a couple of workshops from Rodney at Oberlein and they were well worth the price. These ones are free. Check them out if you are searching for information about bow making from a Master. They are under covid 19 bow making.

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Ed Shillitoe will be talking about bowmaking on our Zoom session, Sunday afternoon at 5 pm EDT. PM me if you want to attend.

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Thanks for letting us know about Rodney's bow-making videos.  For years I've been trying to pick his brain for tips whenever I have seen him in Boston at the Skinner sale weekends, but it's always frustrating because I have so many questions that I don't know where to start.  I stayed up late last night watching him make a button, and it was enlightening to see his entire process.  I'll have to try making one the way he shows.

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I finished watching Rodney Mohr's bow making Youtube videos two days ago.  In 21 unedited videos with a total running time of 21 to 22 hours we get to watch him step-by-step in real  time as he makes an entire bow, except for two brief machining procedures that he does off-camera in the next room:  cutting the frog to length on a bandsaw and milling the eyelet mortice in the butt of the stick.  In addition to showing how he makes a bow, Rodney also demonstrates tool sharpening and discusses materials, tools, supplies and their sources.

Rodney has made over 1000 bows.  He is a multiple gold-medal-winning bow maker who teaches bow making and who has been a judge at bow making competitions.  He intends to sell the bow made in these videos and donate the proceeds to an organization doing COVID-19 relief in Cremona, Italy.

Rodney's daughter, Kate -- also a bowmaker and a member of this forum --  runs the video camera.  She asks questions to prompt him to explain what he is doing when it's not clear.  The two chat throughout the process about things like bow design, the methods of various historic bow makers, what judges look for in bow making competitions, etc.  They also answer questions that came in from viewers around the world as the videos were live-streamed.  Occasionally Crocodile, the retired greyhound racing dog, comes in to get his ears scratched.

Unlike Davide Sora's amazing violin making series, these are not professional-quality instructional videos.  Rodney and Kate had apparently just acquired the video camera they used, and they claimed to be having microphone problems, though the sound seemed fine to me.  The lighting is necessarily set up so that Rodney can see what he is doing, but it is less than ideal for viewers.  There are few good close-ups of what Rodney is doing, his hands sometimes obscure the work and his explanations are sometimes absent, vague or wrong.

It has taken me over a month to get through these videos.  I frequently backed them up to repeat sections and paused to take notes.  (I have 43 pages so far, and I'm not finished.)  Despite their shortcomings, they are a fantastic resource and I strongly recommend them to anyone interested in bow making.  Rodney is a highly-acclaimed master bow maker whose working methods are efficient and precise  I have already incorporated some tricks, techniques and materials that I picked up from these videos into my own bow repair work.  And I might even be inspired to make another bow.

To find the first episode, search Youtube for "Covid-19 Violin bow making: Day 1, Hour 1"

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