F. X. Tourte is commonly referred to as the Stradivari of the bow world as he brought together the best elements of current thinking at the end of the 18th century to formulate the bow as we know it today. The bow was probably made around the time of the Great Exhibition as we know a quartet of Tourte copies were presented to the exhibition by James Dodd.
Recently we undertook an exciting restoration project of an absolutely gorgeous Tourte copy cello bow made C 1850 by James Dodd, from the Dodd dynasty of bow makers based in London from the 18th to 19th Century.
The bow had been inherited by one of our long-term customers. When they brought it in we were instantly struck by its quality: dense, dark pernambuco wood adorned with generous helpings of thick silver pinned in all the right places displaying a thorough understanding of Tourte's methods by James Dodd. It was well loved and used but not well maintained and had suffered from a great deal of use. The frog had cracked but luckily the stick, though worn, was in good shape.
The ornate panelled adjuster though was very sadly worn and much discussion was had over whether to replace or restore it. Although it would have been easier to replace the ebony parts of the adjuster we felt in the end that the priority was to keep all the original material in place and restore as many original parts as possible to preserve the integrity and possibly the value of the bow
Philip worked on the bow
with his colleague Lauri Tanner who undertook the adjuster work. The bow had been used long after the pearl faces had fallen out which meant that the ebony was also worn away. Once new pearl faces were glued in, short grain pieces and long grain shavings were inserted around them. A painstaking process!
See the photos on our facebook page that illustrate the whole restoration process: Ebony Frog RestorationPearl Screw Adjuster RestorationStick and Head Restoration