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A New Method for Holding Hair at Bow Tip
A potential improvement on the convential wood wedge to hold hair at the violin bow tip.
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Irv
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January 27, 2018 - 4:25 pm
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I think that I had a eureka moment today.  This may be an idea with some commercial importance.  It certainly should make life easier to rehair a bow.

I recently received several carbon fiber bows from a luthier that did not want to mess with removing the tip wedges.  It looks like they were super glued in when manufactured in China.  I was previously thinking about a modern method of securing the hair using a machine screw.  I think that I now have a solution.

I am going to purchase some miniature expansion well nuts from McMaster Carr and bore a round cavity on the bottom of the bow tip long enough to accept the knot of hair and the expansion well nut.  I will then counter bore the hole so that the flange of the well nut and the locking screw (I intend to use a stainless steel button type screw with either an allen or torx head).  The expansion well nut will be modified to have a portion of it milled to a flat to allow the hair to pass at the front of the tip (the expansion well nut will then have a "D" profile).  Once the hair is inserted, I will use a torque wrench on the 6-32 screw (I think that a carbon fiber bow tip will be very forgiving with expansion but a wood bow would not take a lot of force.  I don't think that much will be needed to keep the hair in place since the hair is somewhat elastic).  A new slotted bone tip will be applied to hide the screw (which would be covered by hair anyway) and to provide the proper geometry of hair width.

If the above works, I will make a silicone mold with the proper "D" profile and center hole and sandwich the silicone between stainless steel disks (similar to a conventional row boat rubber stopper, but in miniature).  The connoisseur will, no doubt, want nothing but Titanium screws.

 What do you guys think?

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Ferenc Simon
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January 27, 2018 - 4:55 pm
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Sounds like a good plan... 

It really makes one wonder why haven't anybody bothered with improving how bow hair is attached in the first place.. I mean with today's technology... 

Also I'm pretty sure, given that the bow hair has a 'knot' at the end and the fact that it is fastened against the flat surface of the edge.. even a pair of strong spring loaded built-in clips could simply hold it in place, which the frog inlay and the 'bone' tip piece could simply cover up... So you would just remove the outer decorations.. use some piece of metal or a screwdriver to press in on the edge of the clip.. the hair would be released... But I guess that would make re-hairing a 20 second job... and given that the 'good' bows are generally made by luthiers (bow-makers), I'm guessing they have no intention of 'inventing' anything that would make their job less important in the future.. 

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Irv
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January 27, 2018 - 6:02 pm
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Hi Ferenc Simon (and others).  I thought that the hair attachment to the frog would be the easy part.  I was excited when I saw a photo of a Kay violin frog on eBay, since I thought that an exposed screw was for an adjustment mechanism.  Fiddlerman said that the screw was only used to secure the mother of pearl slide.  I think that the answer is to be found on how wires are secured in electrical equipment.  

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Ferenc Simon
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January 27, 2018 - 7:24 pm
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Oh.. you mean the FCC connectors and corresponding multi-core flat cables in laptops for example? That's a cool idea 🙂 then you don't even need the spring so it would last way longer

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Charles
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January 27, 2018 - 7:43 pm
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Irv said

 What do you guys think?  

I think I'm going to keep my mouth shut on this one. You went way over my head (and visualization capability, which has never been much). 🙂

When you get it worked out, show lots of pictures, and cartoons that show what you do with the various pieces, please. 🙂

More seriously, good luck with it. Except for getting all the hair perfectly straight, equal tension, etc, re-hairing a bow should be easy.  (And if there were standard attachments and lengths, you could by a pre-made piece that just has to be connected at both ends.  No ideas yet on an automatic horse, though.)

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Irv
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January 27, 2018 - 9:28 pm
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Hi Charles (and others).  Visualization of this concept is easy.  Go to eBay and look at boat expansion plugs (if you type expansion plugs you will get items designed to expand your ear lobes).  Basically you have a washer on either side of a rubber cylinder.  When you contract the length between the two washers the rubber (being compliant) will buldge.  This buldge creates a seal and also prevents the plug from coming out from water pressure.   This type of plug is used in a boat to keep water from entering the transom.  I am using the same concept but in a miniature form.

I am now thinking that the same plug could be used on the frog end as well, but the slot in the "D" profile could be reversed to give you a quarter inch error in the length of the hair.  There is no need to provide further hair length adjustment since the frog screw tightens the hair.

I think that I got this problem solved.  My next goal is to develop an alternative to tying the hair with string.  I want to use an aluminum ferrule clamped with a hydraulic compression tool typically used for electrical bugs (Harbor Freight sells one for about $30).  I can prevent buzzing by the aluminum ferrule with a drop of silicone caulk. 

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Irv
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February 2, 2018 - 10:37 pm
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Just looked at a Youtube video called "Tete-Beche Violin Bow" by Gilles Nehr.  He is way ahead of me on how to making re-hairing easy.  He even has a bow hair on a reel so that people can do a rehair by themselves.  The pictures on his web page are spectacular.  MrYikes, you are going to love this.

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Fiddlerman
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February 6, 2018 - 12:44 pm
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That is pretty cool. However, wonder what the cost is? I checked out the images on his website and was truly impressed. 

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Irv
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February 6, 2018 - 1:37 pm
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My local library just purchased a 3D printer.  I would like to see if I can replicate the frog.  He may have used an extrusion.  

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Fiddlerman
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February 8, 2018 - 2:08 pm
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That will certainly be interesting to follow. Looking forward to the result. Did your library also purchase a 3D scanner?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Irv
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February 8, 2018 - 6:08 pm
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No luck regarding the 3D scanner (although they were first manufactured in my State). I have more than enough photos on the web pages to accurately scale what he is doing.  I believe that he used an ACME thread, which would be difficult to reproduce and I see no great need to do.  

Replicating the mechanics of the design is relatively easy.  I am not confident that I can make it appear as nice has his, but I think that I can make it work.  It is too bad that the Chinese are only copying things that are already 300 years old.  It would take no more effort to do this than what they are already doing.

For example, they are surrounded with bamboo, yet I don't see them make a bamboo violin bow.  British makers were doing this 100 years ago and bamboo makes an excellent stick.

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