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ABOUT THE BOW


component parts which bow what price


Component Parts
Lapping
Whilst the thumb lapping is usually of crocodile skin and leather, the finger lapping can be of gold/silver thread, whalebone, plastic or rubber

Ferrule
The ferrule which can be made of gold/silver, nickel or stainless steel, slides on to the frog tongue, and with the aid of a wooden wedge distributes the hair to make a smooth ribbon

Bow Tip
The tip of the bow head which protects the wood is made of ivory backed with ebony, or just plastic
Screw and Eye
The screw and eye permit the
frog to be drawn forwards and backwards
along the stick within the limits of the box
cut into the stick

Nut
The nut can be plain or decorative, being
made of the same material as the ferrule



Wood Wedges
There are three separate wedges locking the
hair, one in the frog, another in the bow tip,
and the third in the ferrule

Frog
The frog more normally made of ebony, but also of tortoise shell or even plastic can be plain or very ornate

Backing Plate
More usually made of nickel can also be of gold/silver, plastic or none at all

Slide
The thin slide which slides into the frog thereby enclosing the hair, is usually faced with abalone or mother of pearl, though it can also be of white plastic
Bow Stick
The bow stick itself is made out of pernambuco, Brazil wood, snake wood, Beech, cane, carbon fibre, fibre glass, and plastic. Pernambuco and other Brazil Woods were the norm until more recently when conservation policies have put the woods in short supply and so brought about a search for other materials. Carbon fibre bows are becoming very popular because of their strength and lack of susceptibility to changes in atmospheric conditions.


component parts which bow what price



Which Bow

As with many things, you get what you pay for, and the principal value lies in the bow stick. You will have read on studying the component parts, that the stick can be made of a variety of woods, carbon fibre, glass fibre and plastic. Because of the conservation controls now being more vigorously enforced new good bows of pernambuco and other Brazil woods mounted with ebony, ivory, tortoise shell. and whalebone, are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain at reasonable prices especially in smaller sizes. It is worth considering glass fibre bows in the early years of learning.

The bow is a mathematically designed artefact ensuring a strong springiness all along its length together with as light a weight as is possible and so one material becomes preferable to another. In order to keep the point of balance approximately a third of the way down the stick, a narrowing of the stick is made. If the spring of the stick is not to be weakened by this narrowing, it becomes necessary to increase its upward bending. Finally the size of the bow tip is chosen so that the hair once stretched from end to end remains clear of the stick itself. A good bow will take up the tensioning of the hair evenly along its length and once disturbed from its natural curved shape either through tensioning the hair or in playing, will quickly return to it's original curvature. A lot to ask of a thin piece of wood, so if one has a good bow it is well worth looking after. What the frog, lappings, nut, ferrule and slide are made of is purely a matter of cosmetics provided they are man enough for their purpose. However, the materials used will effect the price considerably.

What to look for



component parts which bow what price


What Price
Grade Vln/Vla Cello Comments
1 - 2 25 - 50 40 - 75 Beech, plastic, glass fibre. Short life. Worth considering glass fibre
1 - 5 50 - 125 150 - 450 Brazil woods, glass fibre, ebony frog, stainless steel /nickel mountings,mother of pearl slide
1 - 8 125 - 450 150 - 450 Pernambuco. Ebony frog with stainless steel/nickel mountings, silver wire/plastic/whalebone lapping. Commissioned handmade or early 1900s
Coll Student 250 - 1000 400 - 1200 Good pernambuco,cane, carbon fibre, ebony frog,silver/nickel mountings,silver/whalebone lapping, Commissioned handmade or quality old
Prof 500 - 4000+ 700 - 4000+ Choice pernambuco,cane,carbon fibre, ebony/ivory/tortoise shell frog with silver/gold/nickel mountings. Commissioned handmade or old/antique quality named bows.





















component parts which bow what price

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