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Cost of bow rehair


geoff1954
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7 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

I'm not a rehairing expert, but I don't think premium hair when buying in bulk is much more than $10 a hank, its not really a big part of the cost except when you have to buy a pound of it!

There's even extra labor involved even with the premium raw hair.  David spends some time combing and picking through the new hair as part of the rehairing process.

Also, consider that if a bow maker sets their rate too low, they'll be swamped with rehairs and will never have an opportunity to make new bows.

Playing a stringed instrument is expensive!

13 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

It takes 30 minutes to explain to the proprietor of his post office savings book, why it costs a hundred quid before one has even started:)

Took me a second to decipher this since postal banking (tragically) hasn't existed in the US since 1966.

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I wonder if the initial problem here is beginner level, but getting quoted for a good quality re-hair. It would strike me, that 99% of beginner bows, aren't even worth the cost of a re-hair.

Also, if people go for years between having a bow re-haired, the price is always going to be a shock when the time finally comes.

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In London it's about £80 or so depending on the shop you go to. Students will also often get a discounted rate. I've heard of prices reaching near £100. There is a lot of demand for rehairers in London but a shortage of good people to do them.

The time taken on the rehair depends on what state the bow is delivered in. Sometimes there is other work that needs to be done before the rehair can begin. 30 minutes seems a little optimistic, I would have usually thought 45 mins to 1 hour depending on the bow. Some bows have really tricky mortices so it might take a bit longer in those cases. 

People deserve to make a fair and livable wage for their time, so I don't feel these cost are unreasonable. It may seem expensive to some, but there is real skill to a good rehair. I have spoken to many students that have paid cheaper prices for a lesser service and quickly regretted it.

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Well bow repair is something I never developed the patience to learn but when I entered the business I was told a really good rehair person could do the job in 20 min, lets say a more careful person might take 30 min, barring any compiications.

Top restorers charge $150-250 and hour so If were talking about a top rehair specialist. maybe $100 or more for a rehair, you can find amateurs that will do it for $50 but of course they don't do as good a job. Its a difficult job, and a really good rehair person deserves to be payed for it

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When discussing pricing I think it's helpful to consider the rock-climbing analogy.

Pretty much anyone can walk along a beam of wood that's 6 inches wide if it's on the floor. Most people could do it if it's a couple of feet off the floor.

How many people can do it if it's 5000 feet above a vertical drop?

So are you rehairing a Marco Raposo or a Tourte?

 

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14 hours ago, martin swan said:

When discussing pricing I think it's helpful to consider the rock-climbing analogy.

Pretty much anyone can walk along a beam of wood that's 6 inches wide if it's on the floor. Most people could do it if it's a couple of feet off the floor.

How many people can do it if it's 5000 feet above a vertical drop?

So are you rehairing a Marco Raposo or a Tourte?

 

I would add that it's possible (at least I can do) to rehair a bow in insignificantly less than 30 minutes with a standartized hank, quickly carved wedges without considerations of customized hair amount and wedges shaped to give an also customized hair  distribution and combing them out with two or three comb strokes only, and without much care about the particular length of the hair. This would be (taking into account costs for material, time necessary for speaking or writing with the customer, writing an invoice etc.) a 75 $/Euro rehair.

OTOH the more care you apply into all the customizations for the special requirements of a refined bow, not to forget cambering and bending it several times, polishing (not French polishing) it after heating, untill you have reached the optimal state of hair and stick it can take several hours. 

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9 hours ago, Blank face said:

 ( ... )

OTOH the more care you apply into all the customizations for the special requirements of a refined bow, not to forget cambering and bending it several times, polishing (not French polishing) it after heating, untill you have reached the optimal state of hair and stick it can take several hours. 

This is the dilemma. I work on a few expensive bows for friends, bows that are familiar. Some replaceable parts are reused, but most require new spreader wedges. I can almost prep the hair by weight on some of the bows. Some older bows of a higher skill set or sensitivity require more time. I try to keep them as close to how they were brought in, but some need work. Players, as they age, might develop habits that are detrimental to the bow.  

Some bows require a pre- work photo. Not so much an integrity issue, but was accused at a shop I worked at and since have been careful. Not worth the grief if I can locate details of the frog/ button. I do not think the customer needs to be notified.... Better yet, if the customer has or is willing to pay for photos...

If "time is money" as the saying goes, then a good clean rehair can easily take more than an hour. An additional 15 - 30min is 25 - 50% more "labor" in the form of attention and care. Some shops will guarantee work and itemize additional charges, which in my opinion is reasonable. The additional charge may or may not be applied the next rehair. I do not start work on a bow until I am ready and I do the work over two days for expensive bows. Many shops do not have the luxury of choosing when to complete the work as the owner may desire the bow at the end of the work day or sooner, if they traveled a long distance to get the rehair. 

I would like to add to this conversation, as mentioned in the past, that some truly inexpensive bows ( < $100+usd ) require more time to rehair. Many are not quite standard, some require a bit of PVA glue ( my choice ) however one argues the decision to use adhesives. Some bows are not precisely made, so any adaptation might require additional time. There are some inexpensive composite bows that are worth rehairing as they play well. A bow that plays well or predictably is well worth the cost.

Recently, some prepackaged inexpensive bows no longer have real horse hair, only synthetic, on recent orders to schools and vendors. Please keep requesting real hair, until there is a synthetic that we start to agree on.

My cost of higher- end hair is about $10- 12usd per violin and viola, more likely after being picked through, the cello and fractional being a tiny bit less due to the sometimes better pricing offered for shorter hair. The super high end hair might cost twice that which, without a fine technician might not be worth it. I generally do not hear a benefit ( in playing, though might feel a smoothness ) using such hair but when its completed, sometimes it looks absolutely beautiful. I have several great suppliers including Bow works for hair and share with shops because 1 Kg can last a long time. As players we must learn how to adapt and not complain as much as some of us do. Adapt. Or find a new rehair person. Reed players adapt. We might also.

On one commissioned bow in 2019, have yet to rehair it. Due to the current situation, only one major concert, perhaps 40+ hours total have been played on the bow. It will likely not get rehaired for some time. Another from 2018 is due for its first.

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