Baroque Bows and Modern Bows, made from Pernambuco wood, Snakewood, Ironwood, Greenheart, Aluminium, Bamboo, Carbonfibre, -Gold mounted, Silver mounted, -with Ivory Frogs, Tortoiseshell frogs, Ebony frogs.......
I have rehaired approximately 6,000 bows since 1980. And what’s more, I still enjoy rehairing bows. It is important to get the number of hairs just right. Depending on the width of the ferrule, the strength of the stick, the ambient humidity and the requirements of the violinist I will make the ribbon of hair slightly lighter or slightly more dense, slightly tighter or slightly more relaxed.
Pernambuco was used as a bright red dye as illustrated by the glasses of water containing a shaving of pernambuco wood. The glass on the right is slightly caustic.
Pernambuco was used as a red dye as illustrated by the glasses of water containing a shaving of pernambuco wood. The glass on the right is slightly caustic.
Pernambuco has been the main wood used for making bows since, reputedly, in the 16th century a Belgian luthier with connections in the textile trade decided that this wood, used to dye fabrics, seemed to have the right tensile strength and acoustic properties to be made into violin bows.
I learned basic bow repairs and rehairs at The Welsh School of Violin Making. Encouraged by Arthur Bultitude I developed my bow repairing skills, and in 1988 I received a grant from the Scottish Development Corporation to spend some time with Brian Tunnnicliffe to study bow making, and to perfect my restoration skills. The violin bows I make are mostly inspired by Eugene Sartory, Francois Nicholas Voirin and J A Vigneron. The style of my Viola bows veers more towards Arthur Bultitude. I especially enjoy making fluted baroque bows. In the days when T. Friedlein was still trading in responsibly sourced ivory, I made snakewood baroque bows with ivory frogs. Since 1989, the year the trade in ivory was banned, my baroque bow frogs are made of horn or ebony.
This transitional bow, made in 1985 has some camber, a Pike head and fluting down to the handleClick Images to enlarge
This is a baroque style, open frog, made of Ivory
A fluted, Pike head baroque bow, made by Cornelia after a 1740 pattern.

I made these two bows for a violinist with a view to her choosing the one best suited to her playing style. After a week of trying them out she phoned me to ask if it was ok for her to buy both! With bow commissions I usually make two so you can choose the best one.
Pernambuco is now protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). No import or export of pernambuco wood is allowed without a license. I am in the fortunate position of having a reasonable stock of old Pernambuco for my bow making, some purchased many years ago, some from Marco Raposo, who sold me some wood he has a license for, and some very old wood purchased from the estate of Garner Wilson.
PernambucoString players with a Pernambuco bow wishing to travel, please check the Cites website, and follow my link to the “League of American Orchestras” Website to inform yourself of the current legislation regarding import and export restrictions.