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Bow Maintenance

How To Care for Your Bow

Rehairing: Reasons to rehair a bow include:

  • Hair is too long or too short
  • Hair is dirty
  • Hair is thin or broken
  • Wedges are coming loose
  • Poor performance

Always have your bows worked on by someone knowledgeable about bows. Bows are extremely fragile and they require skilled and experienced handling.

Bow hair is very sensitive to moisture. When the humidity is high the hair will be longer than when the air is dry. It is important that the hair not be too long as the balance of the bow will be affected and damage may result from tightening too much. Long hair also exposes more of the stick to thumb wear. If the hair becomes too short it is best to have it rehaired for the correct climate or season.

Brass Eyelet: Have the eyelet checked every time you have your bow rehaired. If the bow hair will not tighten the eyelet is likely the problem. To help avoid replacing the eyelet use a bow lubricant periodically.

Tip Plate: Aside from its decorative function the tip plate protects the fragile head of your bow. The tip plate should be checked periodically to make sure it is not cracked or loose. When replacing a tip plate it is important to maintain the aesthetic integrity of the bow, especially that of a valuable bow.

The Shaft (Stick): Even the finest French bows will at times require straightening. Leave this to a skilled bowmaker and repair person. Cracks in the stick or frog should be tended to as soon as possible The longer they are allowed to remain open the more difficult they become to repair. Broken heads can usually be repaired with no ill effect on the playing qualities, although market value will be drastically affected.

Frog: Check occasionally to see that the pearl slide, eyes, etc., are in good order. A worn pearl slide allows erosion of the surrounding wood. A pearl eye should be replaced before this occurs. Many things can contribute to difficulty in the movement of the frog: irregularities in the screw, the eyelet, the fit of the screw and button to the stick, or dirt, rust or adjustment. Most of these problems are easily corrected; a few require more extensive work, such as bushing and redrilling the end of the stick. It is important that the frog not be too loose on the stick as the frog can easily be damaged if there is any side-to-side play.

Rosin: There are a number of very fine rosins available on the market. We can suggest to you the most popular brands for players of your instrument. During the summer months or in a damp, humid climate, use a light rosin which contains little wax. A dark rosin is best during the winter or in a dry climate. We carry both types year-round.