Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Frog repair

Playing catchup with repair work is what Les does when he's not making bows. This week, 4 bows came to our shop from another dealer, all with peculiar challenges for Les to deal with.The most challenging repair was what appeared to be a routine bow rehair. A disturbing problem arose when Les tried to pull the plug of hair from the mortise. For those of you not familiar with bow construction, a quick description:

"The bow consists of a stick with a ribbon of horsehair strung between the tip and frog (or nut, or heel) at opposite ends. At the frog end, a screw adjuster tightens or loosens the hair. The frog may be decorated with two eyes made of shell, with or without surrounding metal rings. A flat slide usually made of ebony and shell covers the mortise where the hair is held by its wedge. A metal ferrule holds the hair-spreading wedge and the shell slide in place."

(Bow Construction, Wikipedia)

The slide covering the frog was SUPER-GLUED. It was a real botched repair work. We can only speculate that the previous bow restorer didn't know what he was doing or thought it wasn't worth the trouble for future repairs or rehairs.

We brainstormed some ideas to get the slide to come out. The frog had alcohol, then some debonder shot into its crevice with a syringe. Les even dangled the frog by a thread in a container of above hot water, in hopes of the vapor releasing it. Eventually, he had to chip away at the old slide. The pearl on the slide was chiseled away into pieces before he could gouge into the mortise and create a new one.

Here's his work in progress.

Amazing that even got the slide off! The only trauma to be seen is a fracture near the edge of the slide.

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