Discolored violin bow hair can typically be treated. However, if individual hairs become loose or torn, there is no need to rehair the violin bow right away. Bowstring breaks are not uncommon in archery and you’re fairly safe if this happens to your bow. They have no effect on the performance of the bow in any way, shape or form.
It’s important not to think too hard about cutting the hair, because sharp scissors or a razor should be enough. The clipper is pulled backwards and hair is cut out.
- How to Rehair a Violin Bow
- Rehairing A Violin Bow: A Complete DIY Guide
- What Does the Rehairing of a Bow Consist of?
- Things you Will Need
- Removing the Old Horse Hair
- Buying Horse Hair and Storing It
- Replacing the Horse Hair
- Cost to Rehair a Violin Bow
- Why do I Have to Rehair my Bow
- What are the Risks When a Bow is Not Rehaired
- How Often Should a Bow be Rehaired
- How to Recognize When the Bow Hair is Worn
- How to Maintain and Clean your Bow
- FAQ for When to Rehair your Bow
- How often rehair a violin bow?
- How tighten the hair on a violin bow?
- How get broken hair off a violin bow?
- What tools are needed to rehair a violin bow?
- What is the cost of repairing a violin bow?
- What are the signs that indicate it’s time to rehair a violin bow?
- What materials are used for repairing a violin bow?
- What is the average lifespan of a violin bow?
- Do a violin bows have an expiration date?
How to Rehair a Violin Bow
You will need to rehair the bow of your violin if you have one. This can be a difficult task, similar to changing a string. Bows can be damaged easily and are expensive to replace if they are accidentally broken.
Many violinists pay someone to rehair the bow. It’s safer and easier. It’s a great idea to hire a professional if you have the means. It is possible to do it yourself. You just need to know what you are doing.
You will be able to understand what you are doing by the end of the article. Both beginning and advanced instrumentalists make the same mistakes. These mistakes are easily avoided if you follow the right procedure.
You will be guided through the process of rehairing your bow and I will provide you with my instructions to ensure that you don’t cause irreversible damage.
Rehairing A Violin Bow: A Complete DIY Guide
Before we get to the relocating instructions, let’s take a look at the tools you need to relocate your violin bow. Many are things you probably already have around the house.
What Does the Rehairing of a Bow Consist of?
Rehairing a bow is the process of replacing worn horsehair that is ineffective in playing a bow string instrument. Rehairing your bow is important regardless of its value.
A bow is made up of several elements, including:
- The bow stick is the carbon or wooden part that holds the bow hair.
- The bow hair, which is made of horsehair, will rub the strings on the violin.
Rehairing your bow’s horsehair will be necessary if it is damaged. The procedure involves removing the old hair and replacing it by a new one. This must be done by a bow maker, or a luthier. Ask your local violin teacher for recommendations. You will be able to tell which professional they should contact because they must have had their bow rehaired.
Things you Will Need
- Horse hair (such as this great, affordable pack on Amazon)
- Needle-nose pliers
- Sharp Scissors
- Gauge (this is an excellent one).
- Thin wire
- These are wire cutters
- Clips for hair or hair slides
Removing the Old Horse Hair
You must first remove any old hair before you can attach it to your bow. Simply use your scissors to cut off the hair, leaving a few inches at each side. This will give you leverage to move on to the next step.
Use your needle-nose scissors to grasp the end of the hair that is left on the plug side. The pliers should be rolled into the hair so that they wrap around the hair.
Continue rolling the hair onto your pliers and pulling it out of the plug. Some plugs allow hair to be released more quickly than others. Be careful not to damage the plug.
To remove hair from the heel of your bow, first loosen the screw at back of the frog-wedge by twisting it to its left. This will release the ferrule.
Before the ferrule becomes loose, you’ll likely need to rock it back and forth. Be patient. It is not your intention to do any harm to the wood.
Once it is free, take out the small wedge of wood at the bottom. Next, use the same technique with the pliers that you used to remove the plug side.
Buying Horse Hair and Storing It
When looking at hair, the general rule is: the lighter it is, the better. If you can afford it, get hairs that are more lightweight.
There are many different ways to store hair, so that it doesn’t tangle or get unusable. However, for this specific task, you must gather your hair together in a neat looking way so it doesn’t get tangled and difficult to manage. A great way to do this is by grasping a bunch of hair with ordinary hair clips at the top, bottom, and middle of your head.
Replacing the Horse Hair
The gauge will help you determine how much horse hair you need. It should be the same width and length as the ferrule you took out earlier.
Take the cut hair and tie it with simple clips or hair sliders. This will ensure that your hair doesn’t become tangled as you work on it.
The wire can be used to tie the hair at each end. The glue can be used to attach the hair at the end where it protrudes slightly from the place where the wire was attached. This will ensure that the hair fits together neatly and doesn’t stick out. Allow the glue to dry completely.
After the glue has dried, place the hair in the hole at the top of your plug.
Once you are satisfied with the positioning, place the wooden wedge in its final position to ensure that the hair remains where it belongs. The plug should be flush with the bow’s tip.
Attach the hair to either the heel or frog sides of the bow. Before you do this, take out the clips and use a small brush to remove any tangles. The hair should form a ribbon-like shape, not a bulky rope.
After you have combed the hair, remove the clips to prevent future entanglement. You can tie the hairs with wire or glue.
Slip your hair through the ferrule. To give yourself a bit more room, remove the bow from your frog.
From the top, place the hair in the tiny hole in the frog. Before you place the wooden wedge back into its proper position, use a screwdriver or stick.
Last, slide the abalone back while keeping your hair away from the rail.
After you’ve reattached the last wedge, you can apply light heat quickly to the hair to allow the strands to fuse a little for finer play. Use a little rosin to primp the bow. Gently rub the rosin all over your hair.
It’s done! Your bow is now ready to make beautiful music again after it has been successfully rehaired. Nice work!
Cost to Rehair a Violin Bow
Do it yourself. The cost of your time and the cost for the replacement hair is the same. Good quality, low-cost bow hair can be found for as little as $10. Even high quality hair should not cost more than $20.
You can expect to pay between $50 and $80 for a professional luthier if you don’t have the time or desire to do it yourself. This includes the cost for the horse hair and labor.
To ensure that your instrument is well taken care of is a good investment. Even if you are buying the cheapest bows, this is especially true if your violin bow is made of the finest wood or carbon fiber.
Why do I Have to Rehair my Bow
Rehairing your bow is essential as the quality of the bow hair can have an impact on the sound it produces. The quality of your sound will be affected by the condition of your horsehair! The quality of the sound can be affected if the bow’s horsehair is worn out.
The horsehair on a bow’s bow will eventually wear out due to playing and changing climatic conditions (oxidation). Horsehair is just like wood. It changes according to the weather conditions. They can lengthen or decrease depending on the temperature and humidity. These multiple changes are likely to cause them to become weaker.
What are the Risks When a Bow is Not Rehaired
You could endanger your bow, or your violin, if you don’t rehair it. Here are some possible outcomes:
- Sound quality can be very low
- Permanent bending is the act of forming your bow stick (permanent deformation).
- Friction on the stick will cause it to become weaker
You may not have to worry if your bow has a low value. However, if your bow is worth a few thousand Euros, it will undoubtedly have an effect on its future performance and price!
How Often Should a Bow be Rehaired
Variable wear can occur to the hair of the bow. The hair will always fall out, regardless of how often it is worn or how well it is kept in its case. What you wear will depend on:
- The quality of the horsehair you use on your bow hair
- The frequency at which you play
- The type of strings that you use
- The type of playing that you do (the bow attack will vary depending on the music being played).
- Storage conditions (changes of temperature or humidity)
- Your bow and hair deserve the best
Professional violinists will have their bow rehaired every 4-6 months. It is unnecessary to rehair your violin if it is not your primary profession. It’s fine as long as it doesn’t cause you any discomfort when you use it. Only do it when absolutely necessary.
How to Recognize When the Bow Hair is Worn
The bow’s hair can break after repeated playing sessions. It is not uncommon for horses to break while they play.
Your bow’s hairs change with time, just like strings. It won’t be protected by a case. Horsehair oxidation can be expected. Bow horsehair is also a favorite of mites. They will eat them, making them even more brittle.
These are some things that will help you recognize a worn-out hair bow:
- The hair looks blackened and greasy at certain places. It is easy to notice this dark color. This is due to a buildup of dirt and rosin on the bow’s hair.
- Horsehairs break one after another. They are already worn out. They will eventually break every time they are used.
- To make your hair stick to the string, you feel the need to increase the amount of rosin. The horsehair will not stick to the strings because it has been rubbing against them.
- It is either not tightening correctly or the hair loosens during the play session. The hair is damaged and it is futile to insist. It should be replaced
These are all signs that your bow is not functioning properly.
How to Maintain and Clean your Bow
Always untie your bow after you have played. This is the first rule. It is best to not store your hair with its tension. This can cause hair to stretch out and break. This can also cause the bow stick to bend and stop you from practising. It is difficult to fix a bow bend that has lasted a long time, even if you are a professional.
Your hair will live longer if you take care of it. To remove any rosin residue, it is recommended that you brush your bow hair with a damp cloth after every use.
Your fingers should not touch the horsehair! Your sweat acts as a glue to fix dust and rosin residues and create a black, greasy mass. To remove fingerprints, the bow stick should also be cleaned.
You don’t need to use chemicals to clean your bow. Chemicals can damage hair and alter the varnish on your bow. A soft, dry and clean cloth will suffice. You should consult your luthier before you engage in any other maintenance.
FAQ for When to Rehair your Bow
How often rehair a violin bow?
It mainly depends on how much you use your violin. If you play 4 or 5 hours every single day, you will likely need to rehair your bow 3 or 4 times a year. If you’re not quite that dedicated, replacing it once or twice a year is usually enough.
How tighten the hair on a violin bow?
There is a screw on the end of your violin bow. Turn this screw to tighten (or loosen) the hairs on your bow.
How get broken hair off a violin bow?
If you have a few loose or broken hairs, there is no need to replace all the hair entirely. You can just remove the offending hairs and continue playing with the bow.
If you have a loose hair, cut it at the loose part, which makes it the same as a broken hair. For broken hair, pull the hair(s) away from the rest of the bow and then cut it carefully at both ends. Cut close to the frog and the tip.
You do not want to pull the hair out. If you do that, the grip on the remaining hairs loosens a bit and it make it easier for more of them to become loose or to break. Always cut the hairs, leaving the ends still attached at the frog and the tip.
What tools are needed to rehair a violin bow?
There are four main tools that are needed to rehair a violin bow: rosin, hair, clamps and glue.
The rosin is applied to the hair at the end of the bow. The clamps are then used to hold the hair in place while it is glued.
What is the cost of repairing a violin bow?
A violin bow is a stringed musical instrument that is used to produce sound. It is similar to a violin, but it has a shorter neck and bow. Violin bows are generally made of wood and are usually strung with horsehair. The cost of repairing a violin bow will depend on the condition of the instrument, the quality of its materials, and the type of repair required.
The cost for repairing an average-quality violin bow can range from $20 to $40. A high-quality one can be as expensive as $250 or more depending on what needs to be repaired or replaced.
What are the signs that indicate it’s time to rehair a violin bow?
When a violin bow is not properly cared for, it can become dull and less responsive. The signs that indicate it’s time to rehair a violin bow are when the bow hair starts to fray or fall out.
What materials are used for repairing a violin bow?
Bows are made of wood, and are most commonly made from pernambuco or brazilwood. These woods are chosen for their flexibility and strength. They can be made of other materials, such as carbon fiber, fiberglass and plastic.
There are a variety of different glue types that can be used to repair a violin bow. These include animal glue, hide glue, and synthetic glues such as polyvinyl acetate emulsion (PVA).
What is the average lifespan of a violin bow?
There are many factors which can affect the lifespan of a violin bow. These factors include the type of wood, quality of the wood, and how often it’s used. The average lifespan of a violin bow is around 10-15 years.
Do a violin bows have an expiration date?
Some violin bows have an expiration date. This is generally a date that the bow was made, or a date when the bow has been played for a certain amount of time.
There are some violin bows that do not have an expiration date, but they are more expensive and more difficult to find than those with one.