I aim to make bows using extant source material. This simple statement sounds obvious but it is a challenge for makers creating models prior to 1750 - where the scarcity of good examples is acute. We have, and continue to add to a stockbook selection of best models from which to draw our making designs from.
I am also aware that modern Baroque bows can too easily be just the idle fancy of the maker with little historical reference. I have been lucky enough to see and handle mint condition bows of the 18th and 19th centuries. To see the plane and scraper marks can be quite revealing. You see wear on a bow happens so quickly, not so with violins, when a bow is used for as little as a month the wear can be dramatic. Then on re-hairing the bows this wear is further accentuated by the aggressive polishing and cleaning that bow repairers do.
This realisation has fed into how we make. The bows from our workshop look fresh and clean and not rubbed and over polished. The use of sandpaper is kept to an absolute minimum in the bow making process. instead, for final finishing we use dogfish skin for some finishing - the effect is quite different to Sandpaper, instead of dust particles being pushed into the grain clogging and dulling the appearence the barbs in the skin leaves an honest clear feel to the bows.
We have been making copies of baroque bows for some years now and have found much success with several models. Amongst favourites are Dodd and Panormo cello models. We have access to an interesting Dodd circa 1770 its a super Cramer which we can bench copy.
We have also recently been studying an early (Austrian) bow circa 1720(?) of really high quality - a model we are really excited about (with adjuster).
For how we made bows for the 24 Violons du Roi, please click here and for more details about the bows we made, please click here.