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Is this bow worth restoring?


Bob K
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I have a bow stamped 'Lupot' and 'Made in Germany'. Nickel mounted with MOP slide. The stick is in good condition although I can't tell what wood it's made from. Am I right in thinking that it was probably made in or around Markneukirchen somewhere C1920s-40s? Is it actually a copy of, or modelled on, a Lupot bow and is it likely to be worthwhile to rehair/restore? I know very little about bows so any thoughts appreciated.

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Depends on your definition of "worth" and "restoration". A simple rehair for $60 will make it playable then you can test it for performance and go from there. I am not into attributions, but my guess is it is a basic mass produced bow. ....check the dimensions... maybe it's a viola bow? Looks like the bore for the screw is worn.

Cheers... Mat

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I think it’s a very nice clean quite reasonable student bow in good condition. The nipple hole does need to be pushed it seems, around here that is about $25, And then some hair and polish and you‘ve got a perfectly usable bow.

Edited by PhilipKT
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5 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I think it’s a very nice clean quite reasonable student bow in good condition. The nipple hole does need to be pushed it seems, around here that is about $25, And then some hair and polish and you‘ve got a perfectly usable bow.

I have never run across anyone who was seriously good, past or present, who was willing to do a bushing for anywhere close to 25 bucks.

I reckon one could get someone to play a wedding or orchestra gig for 25 bucks too, but I wouldn't expect it to be high quality.

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33 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I have never run across anyone who was seriously good, past or present, who was willing to do a bushing for anywhere close to 25 bucks.

I reckon one could get someone to play a wedding or orchestra gig for 25 bucks too, but I wouldn't expect it to be high quality.

I’ve had Mike do several. He fills in the hole with wood dust or something like that, sets the stick in a clamp of some kind drills it out, and then done. Is that not standard procedure?

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52 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

I have never run across anyone who was seriously good, past or present, who was willing to do a bushing for anywhere close to 25 bucks.

I reckon one could get someone to play a wedding or orchestra gig for 25 bucks too, but I wouldn't expect it to be high quality.

I would tend to agree, this seems way too low for a bow bushing. I’ve only had to have this job done once, and that was around 20 years ago. The cost then was ten times what is being quoted here!

I’d not let anyone near one of my bows for €25, unless it was to replace the thumb leather only.

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30 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I’ve had Mike do several. He fills in the hole with wood dust or something like that, sets the stick in a clamp of some kind drills it out, and then done. Is that not standard procedure?

No. The standard procedure is to carefully center the stick in a lathe and use a boring tool to remove a cylinder of wood from the nipple into the mortise or if neccesary all the way to the depth of the screw then a cylinder of matching wood is turned to glue into the bored hole after which the holes for the screw are bored as if making a new bow.

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22 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

No. The standard procedure is to carefully center the stick in a lathe and use a boring tool to remove a cylinder of wood from the nipple into the mortise or if neccesary all the way to the depth of the screw then a cylinder of matching wood is turned to glue into the bored hole after which the holes for the screw are bored as if making a new bow.

That sounds immensely complicated, is it illustrated on YouTube or somewhere?

The times I’ve had it done, was quite nicely done and I’ve gotten no complaints, even if the experts might give the work a sideways glance

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58 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

That sounds immensely complicated, is it illustrated on YouTube or somewhere?

The times I’ve had it done, was quite nicely done and I’ve gotten no complaints, even if the experts might give the work a sideways glance

It's not really complicated but it does require the correct tools and skills. Filling the hole with a filler as you describe may work for a short time but will certainly wear faster than wood and would not provide enough strength to keep the bow from splitting if the hole got big enough. 

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I'm only a player, but to my eye, the bow looks like a standard cheap-ish beginners bow. I would not be surprised if the mis-aligned button was that way from day one, and in that case no repair is needed. If the stick is straight, you may wish to rehair it. If the stick is warped, I think I'd leave it.

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11 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

I can't even see the nipple in any of the pictures. It is probably fine. The ferrel looks like it might be open, or maybe just an ugly repair.

Thats just the solder line you can see , its often visible on old bows ,the solder often tarnishes differently and you can see more of it because the ferrule hasnt been carefully filed when made. Its far more noticiable on nickel /maillechort mounts.

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Thanks for the comments. I know the bow was probably the output of some sort of volume production and that it is of 'student' sort of quality. I believe the 'Made in Germany' stamp would date it to the inter-war period. I wondered if anyone might recognise the type of wood used? - it's not easy to see the grain under the thickish finish.

I also think the button is OK - I can see that it looks out of alignment, probably because it was not pushed together tightly when the photo was taken, but there is no obvious play. The stick is totally straight with good camber and it weighs 60g (without hair).

From comments I get the impression that it might be worth a rehair but maybe a good one to have a go myself as I won't wreck anything valuable.............

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19 hours ago, nathan slobodkin said:

...The standard procedure is to carefully center the stick in a lathe and use a boring tool to remove a cylinder of wood from the nipple into the mortise or if neccesary all the way to the depth of the screw then a cylinder of matching wood is turned to glue into the bored hole after which the holes for the screw are bored as if making a new bow.

 

18 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

That sounds immensely complicated, is it illustrated on YouTube or somewhere?...

It is also possible to do it without a lathe.  Plugging the worn hole by hand is not terribly difficult.  The tricky part is drilling the new hole in the right place and correctly aligned.  You can see Rodney Mohr doing this entirely by hand in the butt of a new bow on Youtube, starting at 35:20, here:

Covid-19 Violin bow making: Day 5, Hour 1 Fitting the frog to the stick. - YouTube

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2 hours ago, Bob K said:

From comments I get the impression that it might be worth a rehair but maybe a good one to have a go myself as I won't wreck anything valuable.............

If it is straight, the camber is good, and all it needs is a rehair, then it is probably worth getting done professionally rather than risk wrecking it.

"Valuable" is relative; "student" is an ambivalent descriptor; and it could be a nice affordable bow for you or someone else. 

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2 hours ago, Bob K said:

The stick is totally straight with good camber and it weighs 60g (without hair).

60 gr with thread lapping and without hair sounds more like a viola bow. The width of the frog seems to indicate this, too.

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2 hours ago, Bob K said:

Thanks for the comments. I know the bow was probably the output of some sort of volume production and that it is of 'student' sort of quality. I believe the 'Made in Germany' stamp would date it to the inter-war period. I wondered if anyone might recognise the type of wood used? - it's not easy to see the grain under the thickish finish.

I also think the button is OK - I can see that it looks out of alignment, probably because it was not pushed together tightly when the photo was taken, but there is no obvious play. The stick is totally straight with good camber and it weighs 60g (without hair).

From comments I get the impression that it might be worth a rehair but maybe a good one to have a go myself as I won't wreck anything valuable.............

From the crisp condition of the brands, and the absence of general wear, it seems to me this bow was never used much. I would ignore the comments about the bow needing bushed, it won’t.

Take it to someone for a re-hair, and call it a day.

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2 hours ago, Blank face said:

60 gr with thread lapping and without hair sounds more like a viola bow. The width of the frog seems to indicate this, too.

I thought the optimum weight for a viola boat was about 70 g. Hair adds ~3-4 grams So the resulting weight would be about 63 g. Isn’t that in the realm of violin weight?

Edited by PhilipKT
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52 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I thought the optimum weight for a viola boat was about 70 g. Hair adds ~3-4 grams So the resulting weight would be about 63 g. Isn’t that in the realm of violin weight?

I guess the "optimum weight" is an illusion, because this is depending of many factors.

3 gr would be a very thin hair ribbon IMO, usual are 4-5 gr, even a bit more for a viola bow with broad frog and head mortice than for violin. A thread lapping is usually 1 gr maximum, wire can add 3-6 gr depending of length, material and thickness. Therefore the final weight is determined how all this does influence balance and stability of a particular stick for a particular player.

Taking this into consideration I would say that an average weight for a "naked" violin bow might be appr. 50-55 gr, for a viola bow 60-65 gr. to get as result that what is considered as optimum by the naive public.

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