Clip in Bow

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Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Clip in Bow

Post by Steve Senseney »

I was intrigued by a discussion started by Doug Ingram, and expanded by Roderick Jenkins and Edward Fleming.

I got around to making a couple of clip in bows.
clip bow two bows.JPG
These are Osage Orange and horse hair with a bone cap at the tip. Some shellac, and a couple of tiny maple wedges.

They are a little shorter than the full sized bows.
clip and regular bow comparison.JPG
The clip--
clip bow frog and clip.JPG
The tip--
clip bow tip detail.JPG

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Steve Senseney »

Measurements--

Tip-- Depth is .620" from face to back of bow
Width of face is .370"

End of bow before the very tip is .335" wide .625 " thick

Mid portion of bow--.320" wide x .310" thick.

The "frog" end of bow is .360" x .360"

The clip measures 1.55" x .88" x .350".

The clip is inset into the bow shaft .075".

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Steve Senseney »

Process--

I found a straight piece of osage, cut to a width of .40" x .75". Straightened the one back side. I marked the tip end, used the table saw to cut most of the length of the bow to about .40".

I then started using planes and files to work the bow.

I needed a different kind of plane than I already had, and decided to use a scraper plane.

The other "tool" that is needed is a bed to work the bow shaft on. This is a flat board, with a slot to lay the bow. The boards on the side, are tapered to the taper of the bow shaft.
4-bow holder.JPG
Here is the parts of one of my bow planes--
1-bow plane wood and metal.JPG
I also put a thumb groove on the side to make it a little easier to hold--
2-bow plane with thumb groove and cutter.JPG
Here is the plane on the work board--
5-bow plane on bow holder.JPG

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Steve Senseney »

The plane is Osage Orange, with a blade made from a 1" bandsaw blade.

I first made a plane which held the blade at 90 degrees, but then tried one at 80 degrees.

The 90 degree blade worked better for my purposes. But still it grabbed some times and was a problem.

Recently, there was a discussion about making a tiny saw out of a razor blade by tapping it against a file to give it teeth.

I took another piece of blade, sharpened it well, tapped it against the edge of a file, and it gave it a very fine serrated edge. I did polish the edge on the stone again.

It worked very well to reduce the dimensions of the wood in a well controlled manner.
3-bow plane serrated edge.JPG
After using the serrated edge, I would clean this up further with the flat plane.

Note that the plane have the edges which are riding on the work board.

I made a total of 4 small planes. Two have lesser depth of recess.

The blades can be adjusted by placing the plane over a piece of wood which is your desired height and tightening the holder.

Since the work board is tapered, as you slide the bow from one end to the other, you change the depth of cut just a little at a time.

If you have one area you want to work thinner, you can adjust you cutter, or slip a few layers of paper under the work piece.
Last edited by Steve Senseney on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Steve Senseney »

Making a bow, is a process which requires quite a bit of slow work.

I would recommend progressing slowly over several days. You need to keep looking whether it is straight or not, whether you have reduce both sides the same, whether it is flexing as well as you need or want.

Changing this from a 4 sided shaft to an 8 sided shaft is one of the last steps.

I did put a couple of quick layers of shellac on the wood.

Finishing the tip and the clip so that they are an expression of the proper esthetic are another issue.

Since I don't know much about bowed instruments, I am happy with my bows.

Note that the second bow had less tension on the strings. I slipped a piece of leather between the clip and the hair to increase the tension.

The process of putting hair into the bow is best left to someone with more knowledge and experience than I have. All I know about the process was from a couple of youtube videos.

If anyone has questions, ask.

I want to thank Doug Ingram, Roderick Jenkins and Edward Fleming for their help.

Douglas Ingram
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 3:05 pm
Location: Lorette, Manitoba, Canada
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Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Douglas Ingram »

Awesome! I don't know how it took me this long to see it. I don't know how much help I gave, mostly poking around, I guess.

One thing that was often mentioned in the research that I found was that the older style bow responded better with the coarser black hair. Due to how the bow is weighted and held, the bow itself is less aggressive than a modern bow and the more aggressive black hair helps balance things out.

I will be making my bow at some point, I'm working on carving the back of the viol soundboard right now. Lots left to do!
I may be crazy...but I'm not insane.

Andres Sender
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 11:41 am

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Andres Sender »

Just passing through but a clarification on black hair:

-appears in about half the iconography of the pre-tourte bow per Constance Frei (you can see her talk on early bows for the 'L'Archet Revolutionnaire' exhibition on Youtube)
-recommended for clip-in frogs by some modern bow makers because it is less affected by humidity which affects hair length
-most modern players of early bows have no problems using white hair.
-thick gut bass strings for very early style violin stringing benefit from the coarseness of black hair
-black hair affects the tone and creates more hiss, but this can be mediated by choice of rosin.

Fred Battershell
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:23 pm

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Fred Battershell »

Bow making planes similar to Steve's can be purchased at your local Harbor Freight. They are made of brass,from India, and will require some minor sharpening and honing, but they are a good starting point for not much money(way under $20 for a matched pair). Hope this helps!

Andres Sender
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 11:41 am

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Andres Sender »

Aren't those the ones with wooden sandwich soles? Fred have you used those on bow woods? I wouldn't expect the soles to last long. I had one of that type long ago and the steel in the blade was awful.

If you go down this or a similar road, if you happen to have some of the too soft Swiss brand knife steel sitting in a drawer, it can be re-hardened to a surprisingly nice scraping blade (you'll have to modify the wedging setup due to the increased blade thickness). I made a low-angle finger plane in which I use an almost glass hard blade sharpened at a scraping angle (something like 60-70 degrees for something like a 12 degree bed.) that holds its edge for ages, what joy.

Fred Battershell
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:23 pm

Re: Clip in Bow

Post by Fred Battershell »

Andres Sender wrote:Aren't those the ones with wooden sandwich soles? Fred have you used those on bow woods? I wouldn't expect the soles to last long. I had one of that type long ago and the steel in the blade was awful.

If you go down this or a similar road, if you happen to have some of the too soft Swiss brand knife steel sitting in a drawer, it can be re-hardened to a surprisingly nice scraping blade (you'll have to modify the wedging setup due to the increased blade thickness). I made a low-angle finger plane in which I use an almost glass hard blade sharpened at a scraping angle (something like 60-70 degrees for something like a 12 degree bed.) that holds its edge for ages, what joy.
I have these planes and I have used them frequently. No trouble with their soles. Blades are a bit soft, though.

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