Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Wood alone does not a bow make


gottawonder
 Share

Recommended Posts

A really good bow comes from really good wood, plus a lot of hard work. At least I think the wood part is true. What I am wondering now is how much quite good wood has been used to make meh bows.

I have a few bows - pictured below - that I believe are all early(ish) twentieth century German workshop creations; the three with name stamps also have Germany or Saxony stamped between the underside and the button. I would love to know if the wood used for these sticks is all of similar quality or if any of the sticks visually appear to be of notably higher or lower quality material. What was done with the wood in the process of making a bow from it is another matter.

Thanks!

1_PXL_20210423_201454298.jpg

1_PXL_20210423_202355674.jpg

2_PXL_20210423_202031816.jpg

2_PXL_20210423_202006139.jpg

3_PXL_20210423_201654609.jpg

3_PXL_20210423_202435975.jpg

4_PXL_20210423_201333165.jpg

4_PXL_20210423_201852183.jpg

5_PXL_20210423_202109240.jpg

5_PXL_20210423_202132684.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, fiddlecollector said:

For what its worth only the first and last (probably not certain) look like pernambuco. 2 and 4 probably abeile wood. bow 3 looks like some type of exotic wood.

Yes 1 + 5 look like Pernambuco to me, but the light is too strong to show enough features.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, sospiri said:

the light is too strong to show enough features.

Anything specific you would be looking for in the wood that is lost in the strong sunlight? Unfortunately, I don't have good studio lighting available and naively thought that afternoon sunlight would show detail well. Another lesson learned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, sospiri said:

How does one judge the quality of the wood except by how the finished bow plays?

 

I was presuming that Pernambuco would be considered a better species as a rule. Is that not a reasonable assumption? Either now or at times in the past when the available selection of wood was different? The knowledge, skills, and craft required to transform a rough cut of wood into a finished bow aren't magic, so maybe I am thinking of the raw material selection in entirely the wrong way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read that some use the velocity of sound in the wood as a guide with higher being better. (Check out Lucci meters also check the ARCUS CF bow ads and other literature.)

Before Lucci meters (and still today) the resonance of the wood, etc. might be a guide for some makers.

Having played a very few bows that played sautille so well it was as if they had a built-in motor, I asked gold-medal bowmaker Paul Martin Siefried** (by phone) how such bows were made. He essentially shrugged his shoulders (over the phone).

**I have 2 Siefried bows, one violin and one cello, neither of which has that magic motor - at least not for my playing, but each creates the most powerful sound of my bows of each type. Siefried died in Dec. 2019.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I was presuming that Pernambuco would be considered a better species as a rule. Is that not a reasonable assumption?" 

Wood is quite variable, and a very good piece of Brazilwood might easily be better than a not so good piece of Pernambuco, and a Brazilwood bow made by a very good bow maker could easily be better than a Pernambuco bow made by a not so good bow maker.

Then there's also the old adage about "ass-u-me".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, gottawonder said:

I don't have good studio lighting available and naively thought that afternoon sunlight would show detail well. Another lesson learned.

It's less the sort of light but more the way you're camera setting is adapted to the particular light. You're photos seem to have a colour cast to the red side, so maybe the setting is for colder artificial lights. But there are are lot of mistakes possible. Much can be corrected with processing afterwards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

58 minutes ago, gottawonder said:

Anything specific you would be looking for in the wood that is lost in the strong sunlight? Unfortunately, I don't have good studio lighting available and naively thought that afternoon sunlight would show detail well. Another lesson learned.

Pernambuco has vertical lines about 1mm apart, Abeillewood doesn’t. Also the grain looks layered at the back of the head. These features can be photographed in the right light. Your photos have good detail, but the light is too bright to see these features clearly.

50 minutes ago, gottawonder said:

I was presuming that Pernambuco would be considered a better species as a rule. Is that not a reasonable assumption? Either now or at times in the past when the available selection of wood was different? The knowledge, skills, and craft required to transform a rough cut of wood into a finished bow aren't magic, so maybe I am thinking of the raw material selection in entirely the wrong way.

Pernambuco is considered the best wood for bows, but it is also very pretty and very expensive too so this has a huge influence on the desirability. Anyone who was good enough to use the better wood in workshops in days of old had the necessary skills to make a beautiful bow. That's the way I see it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, FiddleDoug said:

Then there's also the old adage about "ass-u-me".

I'll cop to being guilty of that one way too often. Probably couldn't learn as much without exposing that once in a while though, and I do appreciate the opportunities provided here to be disabused of my wrongheaded assumptions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...