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Linerless bow frogs


nathan slobodkin
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The metal underslide came into being at some point in the 1820s.

If wood to wood mounts are problematic, it's all the more extraordinary that so many bows by Tourte, Persoit, Eury, Maire etc have survived in excellent condition.

Hill bows from 100 years ago are still going strong.

So I wouldn't discourage anyone from making a bow without an underslide ...

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15 minutes ago, martin swan said:

The metal underslide came into being at some point in the 1820s.

If wood to wood mounts are problematic, it's all the more extraordinary that so many bows by Tourte, Persoit, Eury, Maire etc have survived in excellent condition.

Hill bows from 100 years ago are still going strong.

So I wouldn't discourage anyone from making a bow without an underslide ...

That's good to know, because I might well go the old way if I ever try making Modern bows.

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First off Martin, it is not all bows with wood on wood mountings that are prone to damage, it is wood bows that have the ebony ending with a feather edge..there is a big difference as the Hills understood; I do not believe I have ever seen an ebony Hill that did not have an underslide or was not let into the stick.  It is certainly understandable why this is a problem, all one needs to do is look at a few from the front or the back to understand the issue. Many of the old bows you speak of are re-enforced with silk to preserve what is left because of their fragility, I have done it to numerous bows myself, this reenforcing can be invisible....you may not have noticed.  I understand you would not discourage makers from creating them, however, I would certainly inform players of the inevitable damage of not having this area re-enforced with a bow like this....if asked.  
 

41AC3C96-9AF8-48F6-B3F9-FB7035A685D8.thumb.jpeg.bca1668400e6fd0695899325febfdd95.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

First off Martin, it is not all bows with wood on wood mountings that are prone to damage, it is wood bows that have the ebony ending with a feather edge..there is a big difference as the Hills understood; I do not believe I have ever seen an ebony Hill that did not have an underslide or was not let into the stick.  It is certainly understandable why this is a problem, all one needs to do is look at a few from the front or the back to understand the issue. Many of the old bows you speak of are re-enforced with silk to preserve what is left because of their fragility, I have done it to numerous bows myself, this reenforcing can be invisible....you may not have noticed.  I understand you would not discourage makers from creating them, however, I would certainly inform players of the inevitable damage of not having this area re-enforced with a bow like this....if asked.  

Please Mr. Jerry, I would like to know more on that type of reinforcement. Is it a kind of gauze/cloth sticked with glue (hide), like sometimes inside the thin violin plates? Or you use cyanoacrylate straight to ebony for reinforcement? 

Thank you

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Traditionally these are done with hot glue and silk, and varnished or formaldehyde to keep it from sticking.  It has to be glued on the stick with a plastic wrap isolator.  Later we did it with silk and cyanoacrylate (Glorified Krazy glue), and these days it is also done with carbon fiber.  I prefer the silk.

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Traditional wood to wood mounts (not Hill style) are definitely susceptible to damage, but I think this can be regarded as legitimate wear, rather like cracks in the table of a violin. Chipping to the edges can be patched up, and if it gets too bad then one fits new wood to the sides of the frog.

I don't think it should inform making practices - these should rather be informed by the pursuit of the best sonic and playing characteristics.

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Are people really thinking that tone is affected by having a metal frog liner between the frog and the stick? I have heard a lot of bows with liners that are considered absolutely fabulous by top players and while different bows definitely sound different I cannot imagine being able to quantify a tonal difference between lined and unlined frogs. Surely a few strokes of rosin, the humidity in the room or whether or not the player is wearing a watch would have as much effect.

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5 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Traditional wood to wood mounts (not Hill style) are definitely susceptible to damage, but I think this can be regarded as legitimate wear, rather like cracks in the table of a violin. Chipping to the edges can be patched up, and if it gets too bad then one fits new wood to the sides of the frog.

I don't think it should inform making practices - these should rather be informed by the pursuit of the best sonic and playing characteristics.

Whether it makes the best sonic practice is certainly not decided.  Once the chipping occurs in the feather edge, it cannot be repaired well by patching....there just is not enough glue surface.  I would also disagree with your analogy....a more appropriate analogy would buying a violin that is too made thin, that will certainly need to have cracks repaired very early in life, and once repaired the cracks are not reenforced, therefore guaranteeing the cracks will happen again as well as new cracks, which can only be repaired well with a very expensive wood replacement, that when done will certainly need  to have cracks repaired very early in life...etc.

and...a well done cheval is pretty damn expensive....

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10 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Are people really thinking that tone is affected by having a metal frog liner between the frog and the stick? I have heard a lot of bows with liners that are considered absolutely fabulous by top players and while different bows definitely sound different I cannot imagine being able to quantify a tonal difference between lined and unlined frogs. Surely a few strokes of rosin, the humidity in the room or whether or not the player is wearing a watch would have as much effect.

Yes, Peccatte comes to mind.  You are correct that many things can change the sound of the bow, even the slight wearing of the eyelet.  I am not sure I would be able to nail down if it was the underslide making a difference or not considering all the variables...the glue for the underslide comes to mind.  I did have a client say that her Hill sounded different after repairing a chip from a head to frog rehair job on tortoise.....but later evidently it returned.

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I see the matter differently.

For me the greatest playing bows all have wood to wood mounts (or wood to ivory).

The price of a cheval (however expensive) is pretty insignificant compared to the value of a Persoit for example.

Also, when dealing with early to mid-19th century bows there's just as likely to be damage to the ebony whether there's an underslide or not. 

So I think players' preferences should be determined by the quality of the playing experience, not by the ease of maintenance.

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12 minutes ago, martin swan said:

The price of a cheval (however expensive) is pretty insignificant compared to the value of a Persoit for example.

I couldn’t agree more:mellow:, however the loss of original material is also expensive.  I would be very interested lining up modern and non modern bows with and without underslides....and the variables that would entail...(glue,no glue, pins, screws, eyelet size, etc) and have players play them blindfolded and see where the opinions fall.  Judging just from my own experience watching players and working on their bows, I suspect the biggest variable will turn out to be the blindfold. 

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1 minute ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

I couldn’t agree more:mellow:, however the loss of original material is also expensive.  I would be very interested lining up modern and non modern bows with and without underslides....and the variables that would entail...(glue,no glue, pins, screws, eyelet size, etc) and have players play them blindfolded and see where the opinions fall.  Judging just from my own experience watching players and working on their bows, I suspect the biggest difference will turn out to be the blindfold. 

I have done this occasionally as part of the selection process. I suppose it depends on the sensitivity of the player, but so far my experience is kind of the opposite.

If you have a great Tourte or Persoit in the mix, a player will choose it blind, as will people listening in the room.

It's largely because of these experiences that I argue as I do.

Interestingly when Derek Wilson makes a copy frog for something like a Persoit, he puts a few chips in the edges of the frog, just to make it look more real - here's a copy Persoit frog he made for us ...

10307persoit-violinbow-base-msv.thumb.jpg.e45c7dac6053fe51763482c7bf20586a.jpg

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I have done this occasionally as part of the selection process. I suppose it depends on the sensitivity of the player, but so far my experience is kind of the opposite.

If you have a great Tourte or Persoit in the mix, a player will choose it blind, as will people listening in the room.

It's largely because of these experiences that I argue as I do.

Interestingly when Derek Wilson makes a copy frog for something like a Persoit, he puts a few chips in the edges of the frog, just to make it look more real - here's a copy Persoit frog he made for us ...

10307persoit-violinbow-base-msv.thumb.jpg.e45c7dac6053fe51763482c7bf20586a.jpg

 

 

 

Martin, I am not arguing your observations, rather the conclusions you are making from those observations.  I would never argue that there are differences between Tourtes and Simons, but rather that boiling it down to a lack of underslide or reenforcement being the deciding factor.  BTW, are you sure that frog in the picture does not have a reenforcement?

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20 hours ago, MarkBouquet said:

Is this issue the reason why Vuillaume developed the bow design where the frog “rides the rails” on the stick,  later used by the Hills as well? I always wondered why they went to the trouble.

Hard to know, if they did,  it was for opposite reasons.  Vuillaume bows use an underslide where Hills do not.

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21 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Traditionally these are done with hot glue and silk, and varnished or formaldehyde to keep it from sticking.  It has to be glued on the stick with a plastic wrap isolator.  Later we did it with silk and cyanoacrylate (Glorified Krazy glue), and these days it is also done with carbon fiber.  I prefer the silk.

So you are using the stick as a clamping caul to glue the silk? Do you restore the feather edge first then add the reinforcement?

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20 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

So you are using the stick as a clamping caul to glue the silk? Do you restore the feather edge first then add the reinforcement?

Well, that is the problem...the feather edge has no glue surface, so you have to remove more wood to get to a point of meaningful repair....then we lose so much original material.

We have to clamp the silk and hot glue to the stick or the shrinking of the glue will deform and crack the edge; not unlike using silk on a varnished surface like a top.  With the CA it is safer, and you get a very good fit.  On a new bow, I would use silk and CA which will give it a lot of strength.

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On 7/8/2020 at 9:56 PM, nathan slobodkin said:

Rehaired a very beautiful bow today by a top maker. The bow had a conventional ebony frog but was without a metal slide or liner. I have seen this on Hill style bows where the edges are protected but not often on regular frogs. Are many makers leaving off the liners?

I purchased a bow from David H. Forbes last year that's an even more radical throwback

 

IMG_20200713_184101.jpg

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16 hours ago, Jerry Pasewicz said:

Well, that is the problem...the feather edge has no glue surface, so you have to remove more wood to get to a point of meaningful repair....then we lose so much original material.

We have to clamp the silk and hot glue to the stick or the shrinking of the glue will deform and crack the edge; not unlike using silk on a varnished surface like a top.  With the CA it is safer, and you get a very good fit.  On a new bow, I would use silk and CA which will give it a lot of strength.

Dear Mr Jerry, first of all, thank you for the invaluable 'lesson' you provided here for free. Secondly, I would like to say that French, especially transitional bows without undersides, have not such a deep chanel and 45° angle like modern bows. My biggest difficulty on frog was to make a chanel without underside, and make it perfect, without cracking the edges (no CNC involved) . All the times I was using CA glue at the end to fix some scratches etc. After Chisel I was using files to straighten the surface. If we use only hand tools, what is the best way to open the underside chanel the perfect way, before silk and glue treatment? 

 

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21 minutes ago, Goran74 said:

Dear Mr Jerry, first of all, thank you for the invaluable 'lesson' you provided here for free. Secondly, I would like to say that French, especially transitional bows without undersides, have not such a deep chanel and 45° angle like modern bows. My biggest difficulty on frog was to make a chanel without underside, and make it perfect, without cracking the edges (no CNC involved) . All the times I was using CA glue at the end to fix some scratches etc. After Chisel I was using files to straighten the surface. If we use only hand tools, what is the best way to open the underside chanel the perfect way, before silk and glue treatment? 

 

Are you asking about making a new frog?

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