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Important: Tightening of CITES regulations on Pernambuco, including finished bows


GeorgeH
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So this would be from the late 1850s onwards. Methods were used which have become obsolete. Now everyone expects a bow to be perfectly straight along the length and if it's not straight it is low value.

But a bow blank cut off quarter will bend to the side slightly when the hair is tightened. 100 years ago this was considered normal. These bow feel more lively, compared to a straight bow which feels smoother to play.

Making bows either way makes good sense in woodworking terms.

 

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1 minute ago, martin swan said:

I hear the clunky sound of goalposts moving :lol:

I wold remind you of your criticisms of Yung Chin :

 

I watched that video a few months ago with a feeling of unease. And again yesterday. I was hoping for some insights and was disappointed.

All of the famous bow woods have similar density and modulus of elasticity ranges. So what sets Pernambuco apart? That's the big question.

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On 6/30/2022 at 11:16 PM, sospiri said:

I have watched Maestro Chin's videos. Sorry but he just doesn't do it for me. He's repeating banal clichés about Pernambuco and Ipé, first he says Ipé is too dense, it's not, it has the same density range as Pernambuco. Then he says that because of this, Ipé has a different balance point which doesn't suit "modern playing? Then he says Pernambuco has the highest elasticity of any wood.. blah blah blah.

I guess he is lucky that you will be able to make a video, and show him where he has been going wrong all these years. I wonder who has made, and sold the most bows....

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On 6/29/2022 at 5:31 PM, martin swan said:

All very laudable but it could kill the international trade in antique bows.

Anything that can be shown to have been made before the change in CITES classification should be automatically exempted from the need for import/export licenses.

Unlike elephants or sea turtles, it’s really not difficult to plant pernambuco trees - they don’t even have to be planted in Brazil.

 

Is it possible to use young Pernambuco seedlings that are about 10mm in diameter at their bottom for bows?  They would be naturally tapered and might be able to be carefully grown with the proper bow bend.  Maybe we could grow our bows at home.

Waiting until they grow up big and then cut up into bows seems like a lot of waste of wood, time, and effort.

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16 hours ago, sospiri said:

All of the famous bow woods have similar density and modulus of elasticity ranges. So what sets Pernambuco apart? That's the big question.

That is a very good question.  I recently made a bow from a nice Australian Timber that has similar density and modulus of elasticity range to Pernumbuco.  I also made a bow with some Pernambuco.  They both measure same deflection on a 'Stroup' test.  The Pernambuco feels stiffer in the hand and I can't understand why; perhaps it springs back faster?

 

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8 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Is it possible to use young Pernambuco seedlings that are about 10mm in diameter at their bottom for bows?  They would be naturally tapered and might be able to be carefully grown with the proper bow bend.  Maybe we could grow our bows at home.

Waiting until they grow up big and then cut up into bows seems like a lot of waste of wood, time, and effort.

If you were praying for an especially good bow you could use  Miracle-Gro Plant Fertilizer

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6 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Is it possible to use young Pernambuco seedlings that are about 10mm in diameter at their bottom for bows?  They would be naturally tapered and might be able to be carefully grown with the proper bow bend.  Maybe we could grow our bows at home.

Waiting until they grow up big and then cut up into bows seems like a lot of waste of wood, time, and effort.

I don’t suppose you’re serious but a round section sapling doesn’t behave in any way like a small piece of a large tree …

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10 hours ago, Wood Butcher said:

I guess he is lucky that you will be able to make a video, and show him where he has been going wrong all these years. I wonder who has made, and sold the most bows....

Perhaps you could make one too?

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9 hours ago, David Stiles said:

That is a very good question.  I recently made a bow from a nice Australian Timber that has similar density and modulus of elasticity range to Pernumbuco.  I also made a bow with some Pernambuco.  They both measure same deflection on a 'Stroup' test.  The Pernambuco feels stiffer in the hand and I can't understand why; perhaps it springs back faster?

 

I think that using Physics terms is the problem 

Measurement of modulus of elasticity or modulus of resilience are essential for uniform high grade construction materials like steel or concrete, but wood is not uniform, so we have to rely on feel and responsiveness.

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13 hours ago, martin swan said:

This thread seems to have moved a long way from its starting point.
 

sorry GeorgeH …!

Well you haven't addressed the issues I brought up about old school methods or how Pernambuco will become even more sought after.

 

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22 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Wood Butcher didn’t claim that Yung Chin was talking rubbish so there is bo requirement for him/her to prove any competence in the matter.

Neither did I. The Engineering terminology is not really applicable is it? 

45 minutes ago, martin swan said:

You mean like bows with ivory frogs?

No. Come on Martin we all knew this was coming. And the regeneration will realistically take decades. So obviously Pernambuco bows and timber will be even more sought after.

 

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On 6/30/2022 at 2:13 PM, Brad Dorsey said:

Your question seems to be answered in the AFVBM message that you quoted in your original post:

"...If Pernambuco is listed on Appendix I, international...movement of Pernambuco bows would require CITES import and export permits..."

Normally if a plant or animal product is listed under appendix 1 then any commercial usage of the material is illegal.   
It’s not clear whether this would be backdated to 2007, but if it was, then any bows made after 2007 could not be sold.

The Brazilians’ submission seems quite confused. It’s unclear whether the priority is to preserve habitat or to prevent use of illegally sourced timber. They are vague about who is primarily responsible for illegal trade, but they seem to be pointing the finger principally at Brazilian bow makers, and to a lesser extent Brazilian sawmills who are absorbing illegal wood into their legal output.

All parties would like to see a sustainable trade in regulated new growth or self seeded pernambuco but CITES appendix 1 is not the way to do it.

On the other hand, any scenario in which pernambuco is regulated rather than banned will result in the death of Brazilian bow-making, since foreign makers will always be willing to pay a lot more for the wood than Brazilian makers, whose output is inexpensive. That could feel like a form of colonialism.

I wonder if a better way forward would be for all pernambuco leaving Brazil in the form of blanks and finished bows to require an export license but for there to be no requirement for further licenses once the wood has left Brazil. This could be achieved with an addendum to appendix 2.

A single licensed sawmill responsible for processing all Brazilian pernambuco would also make sense. 

 

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So are CITES being overzealous or realistic about the seriousness of the situation?

If there was to be a blanket ban on old wood being used, wouldn't that be impossible for either side to prove or disprove?

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Has anybody ever done a rigorous controlled double-blind study comparing fine pernambuco bows with good carbon fiber bows?

I wonder if the use and manufacture of pernambuco bows is more a nod to tradition and aesthetics than demonstrable (provable) superiority over carbon fiber bows as players. I understand that there is a lot of hand-waving and insistence that pernambuco bows are superior to carbon fiber bows, but I think that is something that should and could be tested. I think it would be easier to double-blind a bow study than a "old versus modern" violin study.

I have also made this point before: There are thousands of old pernambuco trade bows that could possibly be restored to playing condition if it were economically viable. I also wonder if some of these bows could be re-worked to be improved (like the equivalent of re-graduating a trade violin).  

 

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14 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

I have also made this point before: There are thousands of old pernambuco trade bows that could possibly be restored to playing condition if it were economically viable. I also wonder if some of these bows could be re-worked to be improved (like the equivalent of re-graduating a trade violin).  

 

I'm sure there are plenty of bows languishing, which have been dismissed as uneconomic, and could be restored if things changed.
However, simply because they might be Pernambuco, does not mean they could ever be great bows. The wood is only one factor, and I doubt there would be much room to adjust an old stick significantly. A lot of time invested, could still be below average end result.

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1 hour ago, Wood Butcher said:

I have no need to, since I'm not claiming to know better than people who have been highly successful their whole career.

I was disappointed by the video. Are you insisting that I shouldn't say why or contest dogma? 

 

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14 hours ago, sospiri said:

I think that using Physics terms is the problem 

Measurement of modulus of elasticity or modulus of resilience are essential for uniform high grade construction materials like steel or concrete, but wood is not uniform, so we have to rely on feel and responsiveness.

Wood is not uniform so we need testing of each  piece we use.

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20 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Has anybody ever done a rigorous controlled double-blind study comparing fine pernambuco bows with good carbon fiber bows?

I wonder if the use and manufacture of pernambuco bows is more a nod to tradition and aesthetics than demonstrable (provable) superiority over carbon fiber bows as players. I understand that there is a lot of hand-waving and insistence that pernambuco bows are superior to carbon fiber bows, but I think that is something that should and could be tested. I think it would be easier to double-blind a bow study than a "old versus modern" violin study.

I have also made this point before: There are thousands of old pernambuco trade bows that could possibly be restored to playing condition if it were economically viable. I also wonder if some of these bows could be re-worked to be improved (like the equivalent of re-graduating a trade violin).  

 

Benoit Rolland had made some interesting carbon fibre bows in the 90s. I think he gave u because there is not much money in them.

I have once tried Carbondix bows against carbon fibre bows from Yitamusic with a professional player and we both found the $150 Yitamusic were at least equivalent, if not better to handle. The carbon bows are all somewhat 'harder' than the stiffest wooden bows but one can learn to use them. 

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12 minutes ago, uguntde said:

Benoit Rolland had made some interesting carbon fibre bows in the 90s. I think he gave u because there is not much money in them.

I have once tried Carbondix bows against carbon fibre bows from Yitamusic with a professional player and we both found the $150 Yitamusic were at least equivalent, if not better to handle. The carbon bows are all somewhat 'harder' than the stiffest wooden bows but one can learn to use them. 

My experience of higher end carbon fibre bows is that they are overly light and slightly brittle/skittish in sound, but I agree that they are a better option than inexpensive and negligently sourced pernambuco bows.

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15 minutes ago, martin swan said:

My experience of higher end carbon fibre bows is that they are overly light and slightly brittle/skittish in sound, but I agree that they are a better option than inexpensive and negligently sourced pernambuco bows.

With the exception of Arcus and Müsing bows from Germany (violin bows around 50 grs or less), mayor brands of carbon bows (CodaBow, JonPaul, Carbow etc) all have "normal" weights (violin bows around 60 grs.)

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1 hour ago, Mr. Bean said:

With the exception of Arcus and Müsing bows from Germany (violin bows around 50 grs or less), mayor brands of carbon bows (CodaBow, JonPaul, Carbow etc) all have "normal" weights (violin bows around 60 grs.)

OK, I don't really think of these as "major brands" - the only serious professional bows I'm aware of are Arcus, but happy to be corrected if there are others ...

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