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How I clean my bow hair from start to finish
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Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
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July 9, 2014 - 8:14 pm
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A video of how I clean my bow hair

If you try this PLEASE do not get ethanol on any varnished surfaces

 And no smoking :)

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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Fiddlestix
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July 9, 2014 - 9:33 pm
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I do mine a little differently. I use 91% alcohol and while it's in the bowl of alcohol, I use a soft brush to dab the hairs. After a few minutes, I remove the hair from the alcohol bath, rinse in warm water and pat dry. Then I wash the hair again with shampoo and a warm water solution, rinse again, pat dry again then finish the drying process with a heat gun, (I don't have a hair dryer) keeping the heating element about 18" or so away from the hairs.

There was some discussion on bow hair cleaning about a year or so ago and it does pop up occasionally. What to use and the process used in cleaning. I called an equestrian farm here in Bloomfield Hills, Mi. to inquire what they used to clean horse tail hair. The lady told me she uses alcohol then the shampoo. She said the shampoo puts body back in the hair the same as it does in human hair and keeps the hairs from drying out and splitting.

That's the way I do it, but everyone has their own process for bow hair cleaning.

Remember: don't get the alcohol (if you choose to use it) on the wood bow stick.

 

Ken..

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Ferret
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July 9, 2014 - 10:07 pm
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@@Fiddlestix

True Ken. The rinse could be a good idea.

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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Oliver
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July 9, 2014 - 11:07 pm
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You must be 18 or older to read this outrageous post !

Apply a piece of the blue masking tape to the hair from tip to frog.  Let it set for a few minutes.  Then pull off the tape tangentially .... not at right angles.  Do not lift the hair from the bow.

Enjoy!

This procedure is not as good as the washes but is plenty adequate for lazy people like me.  It actually works pretty well and I have only lost a horse hair or three in the process.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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suresh
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July 10, 2014 - 12:55 am
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This is how Ken (Fiddlestix) cleans his bow:

http://fiddlerman.com/forum/fi.....leaning-1/

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it ..(William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night)

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Barry
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July 10, 2014 - 8:07 am
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John, thats almost exactly how I do it, except I first drink some alcohol cheers

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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Ferret
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July 10, 2014 - 8:24 am
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Barry said
John, thats almost exactly how I do it, except I first drink some alcohol cheers

@Barry

Thats OK so long as it's not the stuff you just cleaned the bow with I hope mate. Drink first, and then clean.rofl

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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coolpinkone
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July 10, 2014 - 12:05 pm
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I found  I like the ethanol .. it cleaned fast and it dried quickly.  I have gotten these tips from Ken, Den, Ferret over the years.  Now I think it has been a year since I have cleaned any bow.... I might be due to clean... ?? 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
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July 10, 2014 - 6:22 pm
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Ethanol is the same as pure alcohol or grain alcohol.

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

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RosinedUp
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July 10, 2014 - 8:18 pm
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I would think that the alcohol used for bow cleaning could be redistilled and drunk.

If that turns out to be a good idea, I want all of the credit for it.

However if it's a bad idea and someone dies from it, I had nothing to do with it.

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Ferret
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July 10, 2014 - 8:52 pm
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@RosinedUp 

Well mate (without over analyzing it) :) theoretically it should work. 

If I decide to do it I'll send you some rofl

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

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RosinedUp
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July 10, 2014 - 9:17 pm
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I decided to try overthinking it ...

As I understand it, rosin is cooked, so that any volatile stuff has already been driven off, and anything in the rosin ought to stay in the wash.

I guess I'm safe anyway, since I swore off the stuff (alcohol, not rosin) years ago.

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Fiddlestix
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This topic dates back 17 mos.

I found out today 12/23/15 what I shouldn't do when cleaning bow hair using alcohol and then conditioning it with a shampoo bath afterwards.

Mark Schwartz, (my luthier) said I was making a mistake by giving the hairs a shampoo bath. He said it's made for human hair, not violin bow hair. He said the shampoo contains oils and no matter how well the hair is rinsed in warm water that the oils remain in the bow hair, just like in human hair, the oils remain in the one's hair to soften and condition the hair.

He said, the bow won't take rosin properly if there is oil in the hair, (makes sense to me). He said to just use the alcohol bath or wipe the hair down with an alcohol soaked cloth.

I have 7 bows to re wash in just alcohol now. 

 

Ken.

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Schaick
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December 26, 2015 - 8:28 am
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Until recently I did not understand why there would be a need for cleaning.  Then I noticed that the hair was almost black from I guess my thumb being placed between the bow and hair at the frog.

Not having a drop of alcohol in the house, I used of all things baby wipes!!  Then I took a paper knapkin and wiped the hair dry, until I heard a squeaking sound down the length of the bow.  

Remember I am the one who originally spit shined my violin to get rid of dark rosin residue!!

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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BillyG
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December 26, 2015 - 8:54 am
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LOL @Schaick - spit shining... hahah - well - if it works, don't knock it!!

Yep - I've successfully used methylated spirits from a "known source" - approx10 % methanol, and 90% ethanol in the brand I have (also great for running in my 'Trangia' camping stove....)  Gotta be careful though with denatured alcohol - sometimes the additive can be acetone etc which may not be "kind" to certain plastics or other finishes...

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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cdennyb
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Fiddlerman said
Ethanol is the same as pure alcohol or grain alcohol.

Don't confuse it with Methanol which is alcohol made for engines. As in Top Alcohol drag racing.

Although it would technically work it is made from hydrocarbon base and has other stuff in it that would not be very compatible with violins or bows or any kind of plastics and many finishes.

If you have a still and make your own alcohol, try to get it from the 2nd qt of your run and make sure it isn't a "pot still" you're using because even with a thumper keg on the outrun, it's best will only be 150 proof. If you have a reflux still, you can easily achieve alcohol in the 170+ proof category.

I use the later on my cleaning process.

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"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein

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Schaick
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December 28, 2015 - 7:49 am
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BillyG said
....Gotta be careful though with denatured alcohol - sometimes the additive can be acetone etc which may not be "kind" to certain plastics or other finishes...

I have used denatured alcohol many time to purposely remove too dark of a finish on furniture. I have no idea what the percentages of the mixture is/was.  But yep takes the finish right off.

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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coolpinkone
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December 29, 2015 - 5:06 pm
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I learned the hard way with with alcohol... on my first violin... I dropped my cotton ball with barely any alcohol on it and I got a blemish.... Now I am so paranoid...... I practically set up a surgical center with q-tips... 🙂facepalm

On a side note... My first violin... my student is gone.  I was so happy to see it go to a  man giving it to a gift for his girl friend.  It sure is a pretty violin and I am thinking it went to just the right person. 🙂

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Schaick
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December 30, 2015 - 8:06 am
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OH no coolpinkone!!  

During the summer jam outside with mosquitoes biting someone would bring bug spray.  When the spray came out there would be the announcement always and at every jam session - "Be careful with that spray it will take the finish off your instrument!!"

Violinist start date -  May 2013  

Fiddler start date - May 2014

FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius.  BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.

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BillyG
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Oh - so THAT'S why the back of my fiddle neck was stuck to my left hand when playing in the hills this summer  !  ( LOL - kidding - I don't smoke any more - but I do keep a carton of smokes with me on the hills and light one up when the little Scottish-midge blighters (aka your mossies, I guess ) just get too-much to put up with ) - but yes - beware the bug-sprays and alcohol-based hand-wash-sterilization rubs if you plan playing fiddle in the hills !!!!

[ Hmmm - it may be a generic term - the "midge" we suffer from is certainly not a "mosquito" as I understand the term - the "Scottish midge" does not (and cannot - it is a different beastie) carry malaria as I understand "tropical mosquitoes" can do - but nonetheless it is a vicious little so-and-so - for something scarcely larger than a printed full-stop - they are a sodding MENACE ... grrrrrr....  LOL ]

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes.  

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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