Bow Health - Part 1 of 3 - Inspecting for Cracks

Checking Your Bow for Cracks

As students get settled into the new school year, now is a good time to take a good look at your bow and get any needed maintenance done. Give your bow a thorough examination from the tip to the frog using these guidelines to help you identify some common problems and make the best decision for you and your bow.

Cracks can have a variety of causes. The most common ones are over tightening the bow, leaving it tight for long periods of time, or forceful impact (e.g. hitting or dropping the bow.) Start by looking at the tip--the tiny white piece that helps to secure the bow hair into the head of the bow. A cracked tip may need to be replaced as leaving it cracked can affect the structural integrity of the rest of the bow. It can also lead to difficulties with the bow hair remaining securely fastened to the tip. After looking at the tip, look just below the head of the bow. This is the most common place for cracks, especially in student bows, due to over tightening or blunt force trauma. A bad crack in this location can cause the head of the bow to break off due to tension. A bow that has had the head reattached will typically be worth half of its previous value at best. Next, look along the rest of the stick for cracks. It is unlikely that you will find cracks here unless the bow has been hit repeatedly along the stick or has had some other sort of forceful impact. Finally, check the frog and the area around it. The most likely cause cracking in this part of the bow is, again, due to blunt force trauma or, even more likely, over tightening the bow.

An Important Precaution:

If the screw becomes difficult to turn, do not keep turning it. This is especially important if it has recently been rehaired. If the hair is too long it is tempting to keep turning the screw to make it the right tension. But, once the eyelet has run out of space inside the screw mortise, you will be placing extreme amounts of tension on some more delicate pieces of wood, potentially ruining the bow by cracking the stick or by cracking the frog in half.

This is Part 1 of a three part series on inspecting your bow for repair issues. Stay tuned for more!