The secret to a professional bow rehair

The expertise needed to rehair a bow is sometimes underestimated, often with disasterous consequenses! Our method is set out as follows;

We select the best white Mongolian bow hair which we use exclusively for rehairs. The only exception to this is when bass players occasionally prefer the coarser black hair for their thicker strings.

After dismantling the bow and discarding the old hair, the stick and metalwork needs to be fully cleaned. After selecting the new hair, it must be very finely combed, ensuring that the individual hairs are not crossing one another which would cause the stick to warp. A violin bow needs aproximately 150 hairs, the hank pictured above lasts us around 2 months!

After dismantling the bow and discarding the old hair, the stick and metalwork needs to be fully cleaned.

After selecting the new hair, it must be very finely combed, ensuring that the individual hairs are not crossing one another which would cause the stick to warp. A violin bow needs aproximately 150 hairs, the hank pictured above lasts us around 2 months!

New wedges often need cutting, these hold the hair firmly in place. Three wedges are used on a bow; the frog, the head and the spreader wedge. The top edge of the mortice inside the bow head needs to be absolutely straight in order to acheive even tension throughout the length of the bow.

New wedges often need cutting, these hold the hair firmly in place. Three wedges are used on a bow; the frog, the head and the spreader wedge. The top edge of the mortice inside the bow head needs to be absolutely straight in order to acheive even tension throughout the length of the bow.

The hair is tied securely with strong waxed thread before being held in place with the wedges. The hair then needs to be slightly moistened, as it dries it shrinks, leaving the hair the correct tension when slackened.

The hair is tied securely with strong waxed thread before being held in place with the wedges. The hair then needs to be slightly moistened, as it dries it shrinks, leaving the hair the correct tension when slackened.

We are often asked how often a bow rehair is needed, this is difficult to answer as it really depends on how often and how much the bow is used. We'd say the player who practises on average half an hour per day should be thinking about getting one rehair each year. Some professionals have a rehair every six weeks!

We are often asked how often a bow rehair is needed, this is difficult to answer as it really depends on how often and how much the bow is used. We'd say the player who practises on average half an hour per day should be thinking about getting one rehair each year. Some professionals have a rehair every six weeks!

Russell Stowe