clip in frog viol bow

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clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:10 pm

So, further to my bass viol project, I am going to make a bow (or bows!)

These older style bows used a clip in frog. After extensive research I am finding very little which shows how these frogs are actually set to the stick, or how the hairs are wedged in place. I can guess and deduce, but I'd rather have my guesses and deductions based upon as much valid information as possible. I did find a good bit about the character of the bows, aesthetics, materials, etc.

More, but not a lot more, info can be found on making modern bows.

Anyone have any insight? Thanks.
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Roderick Jenkins » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:18 pm

The only detailed information on early bows I was able to find was a couple of pages in "The Bow, it's history, manufacture and use" by Henry Saint George. Its a slim volume and now is available as a digital download (Google). It gives some clues about the hair fixing and seating for the frog. There seems to be a great deal of doubt about early bows since nobody really knows how old the existing ones are, particularly about when the screw frog was introduced. Even the iconography doesn't help much since bows in pictures often have a knob on the end which could be a screw or could just be a decorative finial.

David van Edwards (president of the UK lute society) makes bows as well as lutes. He's very helpful to amateur lute makers so it might be worth e-mailing him (see lute society homepage) if you have some questions. However, I note from his web pages that all his bows have screw adjusters, which suggests that that's what his customers want.
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:29 am

Roderick, I found "The Bow, it's history, manufacture and use" by Henry Saint George and it is quite a good read, though lacking much detail relative to the question at hand.

I had come across van Edwards website in my searches. It offers quite a bit of good information and I will contact him.

A couple of good photos are all that are needed! I can find ever so much about how to make a screw adjustable frog but not one about the clip in frog. I am assuming that there is a longitudinal mortise and tenon sort of fit.
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Barry Daniels » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:14 pm

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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:50 pm

Thanks, Barry. Nice little article, however, it is for a modern screw frog bow, not the older fixed nut`clip in frog bow in question.

I am making up a bow based upon my basic understanding of how it should work. We`ll see.
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
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Location: Lorette, Manitoba, Canada

Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Roderick Jenkins » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:21 am

hill bow 1.jpg

hill bow 2.jpg

hill bow 3.jpg

hill bow 4.jpg

hill bow 5.jpg


Here some pictures of my attempt at making a clip in style bow, based on one in the Hill collection at the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, England.

It doesn't show up terribly well on the photo but the front of the frog is snowplough shaped to fit into a notch at the front of the recess in the stick, which is made from pernambuco. There were several issues with this bow: The stick at the frog end has bent where the recess for the frog has been carved out. I couldn't get the hair to stay in with a wedge alone and had to use some HHG (may or may not be authentic). I think this bow is too light to be a viol bow and I think it was probably meant for a violin. Holding the bow in authentic viol fashion, the stick is held underhand between the first finger and thumb, the other three fingers rest on the hair and are used to adjust the tension of the hair while playing -allowing for the playing of chords. The problem is that this changing of tension allows the frog to slip out of position. Possibly the hair was too long so there wasn't enough tension from the stick but, whatever, i couldn't use it in my very unskilled way. I did the reeding with a scratchstock but it has come out very wavy, I think I should have made some sort of scraper plane. All in all, a bit of a failure.

Douglas, I've sent you a PM.

Rod
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:25 am

Thanks for the photos! All photos on the web that I've found all show the frog in place and the bow at tension. These plus the catalog photos that you sent help quite a bit. I'll be making a few more practice bows to work out the frog area. Now I need to practice the hair attachment sections.
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:12 am

Before I saw the photos from Rod and a scan of an old clip in frog bow that he sent me, I made up this sample bow out of some cherry and wenge that I had in the off-cut boxes. This was just to get a feel for the task and not to be considered a real bow. I made it as a simple mortise and tenon. Took me all of a couple of hours.

I am having trouble seeing how bows like this can cost thousands of dollars. Maybe I/m just not making it good enough, yet? We'll see. I in no way wish to denigrate the fine art of bow making!
Attachments
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I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Steve Senseney » Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:12 pm

I googled baroque clip in bow and found a couple of you tube videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djANwtXzzjg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6D6nkedFHE

This explains the functional a little better for me.

I still don't understand how you secure the horse hair at the frog end of the stick.

Edit--Here is a paper discussing bow development.

http://etd.lib.fsu.edu/theses/available ... eatise.pdf

Look on page 11, figure #6

It shows pictures of the mechanical connections,
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:39 am

Thanks for looking those up, Steve. I had found the videos previously, though only the French dubbed ones. The English version of the one explaining how to tension the bow is this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aKVLIUpAA4

The treatise will be an interesting read. Upon my first view of it I see that it deals much more with history that construction. Still, all information adds up!
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
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Location: Lorette, Manitoba, Canada

Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Roderick Jenkins » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:17 pm

Spooky - Philip Brown's shop is 9 miles from me in Newbury. I did meet him once many, many years ago. Tensioning the bow by using the thumb seems to work very well when played in the overhand violin grip because you are increasing the tension on the hair and thereby the pressure to retain the the frog. With the underhand viol grip the opposite seems to happen.

Rod
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:39 am

Roderick Jenkins wrote:Spooky - Philip Brown's shop is 9 miles from me in Newbury. I did meet him once many, many years ago. Tensioning the bow by using the thumb seems to work very well when played in the overhand violin grip because you are increasing the tension on the hair and thereby the pressure to retain the the frog. With the underhand viol grip the opposite seems to happen.

Rod


If you ever go get to visit, it would be awesome if you got a little info that might be interesting to a bowmaker rather than the musician. As a bowmaker you know what it is that we all need to know!
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
Douglas Ingram
 
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Location: Lorette, Manitoba, Canada

Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Steve Senseney » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:46 am

Doug--

What is your planned thickness for your Clip in bow?

I looked at a site on the internet, talking about 3.5 mm as the size of the stick near the tip. What are your plans?
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Douglas Ingram » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:00 pm

Plans?! What plans?

The only plans that I have are to keep researching and practicing. I need to get further along in finishing the viol.
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Edward Fleming » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:43 am

Maybe this is redundant but I have put together a drawing of how the hair is held in a clip-in frog. The shape of the plug and hair mortice in the stick is critical to keeping the hair in place without resorting to glue etc. Perhaps it will help? It does not show the hair channel running up the back of the frog and over the top, fyi.
clipinfrog.JPG
clip-in frog drawing
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Edward Fleming » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:53 am

Some modern bow makers produce bows that look like a clip-in frog type, but actually have an eyelet, screw etc like a modern bow. The hair runs around the frog and is held in the bottom of the frog instead of the top like usual. Because the button is made to look like a finish cap for the stick (like many clip-in bows had), it's hard to tell that they are not actually a clip-in, but are tensioned the modern way. This allows tensioning the hair in any humidity condition, whereas the original bows had to have either a different higher frog for higher humidity conditions to take up the hair slack, or else the player would shim the hair with wedges to achieve the same purpose. Here's another drawing of the bottom of the frog:
fauxclip.jpg
fauxclip.jpg (4.06 KiB) Viewed 15474 times
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Steve Senseney » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:15 am

Thanks for the clarification. Your pictures explain this well.

What do you suggest as targets for the size of the stick?
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Steve Senseney » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:42 am

Another related question.

I saw comments about a scraper plane for getting the stick down to the proper dimension. When I searched for bow scraper plane, I saw commercial products that held the blade at about 35 degrees, rather than close to 90 degrees.

Does anyone have experience or recommendations about the scraper plane? (of course, I would make my own!)
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Randy Roberts » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:15 am

Of course.<g>
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Re: clip in frog viol bow

Postby Roderick Jenkins » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:02 am

bow scraper 1.jpg

bow scraper 2.jpg

bow scraper 3.jpg


This is a little scraper plane I made for finishing off an octagonal bow stick. The whole thing is 2 inches long with a 90 degree groove in the base and made of rosewood. The blade is made from an old hacksaw blade and the screw is a normal engineering screw (3/16" BSF) in a hole tapped with an engineering tap. The blade works best with a burr on it like a hand scraper and is set about 10 degrees from the vertical. The blade could easily be replaced with one ground for fluting or reeding but I had not made this plane when I had a go at my first bow. Difficult to buy something like this.

Rod
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