Ken Altman

Bow Maker

Finely crafted bows for violin, viola, cello and bass.
At the bottom of the page are links to pages depicting stick and button making.
violin bow frog 1
The two parts of the ferrule have been silver-slodered together, and have then been roughly fit onto an ebony "frog blank".  The "wings" of the bottom of the ferrule will be filed off flush with the top later in the process.
violin bow frog 2
Chiseling the channel for the pearl slide.
violin bow frog 4
Roughly shaped frog with the ferrule and pearl slide removed.  You can see the mortice inside the frog where the hair will be secured.
violin bow frog 3
Sawing out the "eyes" from a rough cut piece of mother-of-pearl, using a jeweler's saw.
violin bow frog 4
A roughly finished frog, ready to have the pearl "eyes" inlaid. After the frog is fitted to the stick, it will be sanded and polished until the silver, mother-of-pearl and ebony shine.
violin bow frog 5
Soldering the silver ring of a "Parisian eye"This ring starts as a flat piece is sheet silver.  It is bent until the ends meet, then silver-slodered into a continuous ring.
violin bow frog 6
After the eye ring is soldered, it is pounded on a tapered mandrel in order to make it perfectly round, and to make it exactly the right size to fit the channel that is drilled into the frog to receive it.
violin bow frog 7
The pearl eye and silver ring have been glued into their respective recesses in the frog, standing slightly "proud" of the ebony.  They are then filed flush with the surface of the ebony.
All photos and text copyright Ken Altman 2004