We Try Rehairing a Violin Bow

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We Try Rehairing a Violin Bow

We Try Rehairing a Violin Bow


Hello guys! Welcome to another episode of TwoSet Violin. – Might be wondering…
– Hi. …why there’s a third person here. Don’t worry. This guy is really important. His name is Olaf, and he’s a violin restorer and maker. Hi! So, today we’re gonna learn how to rehair a violin bow. For those of you who don’t know, rehairing is basically… We have this, a bow, and there’s this horse hair on it. And… depends how much you practice… (that’s right) …means when or when you should rehair the bow. Olaf, can you explain briefly to everyone… – …the processes of rehairing?
– Yes. Okay. So, the hair sits inside the bow, just with little wedges that go in the top here and into the frog, which we haven’t taken this frog apart yet. We’re gonna do that. So we’ve gotta fit like these wedges, then we’ve gotta tie the hair together. Once the top wedge is in, we have to comb it for a long time, to make it really straight. And then, at the bottom end… Yeah, we’ve got to tie it up again, and then we’ve got to put it all together and there’s a little wedge that goes right at the end called the spreader wedge. Did you get that, Brett? Yeah, I got it. I remember everything. Olaf: So this is one of the wedges – Eddy: Yeah.
– Olaf: I have previously fitted. – Brett: Oh yeah. Yeah.
– Olaf: So it literally sits in the top here. Brett: Yeah. – Olaf: And wedges the hair in,
– Eddy: Whoa! Olaf: and the hair actually pulls this way. It actually pulls the wedge tighter. We’ve got to take one apart first, because that’s really where it all starts. Olaf: So first of all, I’ve got to take the wedge out of the top here, and now I’m gonna dig this one out. Olaf: Well, this is good. It’s like picking out… teeth. Olaf: Just putting some leather around here, so I don’t damage it. I’m just wiggling that loose at the moment. – Olaf: There it goes.
– Eddy: Whoa! Olaf: This is a little spreader wedge, – Olaf: I’ll be taking that out as well.
– Brett: Okay. Olaf: Okay now, the next is the slide. Olaf: So this is called a slide. – Brett: Yeah. ‘Cause it slides.
– Olaf: That’s… because it slides. Olaf: That makes sense. Olaf: Very logical with the name. Olaf: Except for frog, why’d they call it a frog? This is a knot, the way it was sitting in there. – Brett: Ohh, so it makes it in the knot.
– Olaf: And… Olaf: Yes. Yeah, it sits around like this. Eddy: Mhmm. Olaf: And it actually, because it pulls that way, it actually pulls the knot tight. – Olaf: So now I have to clean the frog.
– Brett: Mhmm. Olaf: …bit of leather, and you literally try and slide it along like this, and it kind of cleans all the gunk off. Eddy: Why leather? I don’t know. It just grabs well, I think, and I’ve got a bit of – Olaf: …silver polish on there.
– Brett: Magic. Olaf: Also have to clean this. Someone else wanna have a go with this? Eddy: Do you wanna go? Brett: Ah, look at that! Eddy: Whoa! Nah, that was already cleaned. Olaf: See the mortise here? This is not actually quite the right shape. It’s too straight down, So it’s supposed to like go back that way. – Eddy: Mhmm.
– Olaf: So I’m actually gonna… – Brett: Ooh!
– Olaf: Actually gonna… – Brett: Ooh!
– Olaf: …reshape it. I just realized something. If you wanted to be a musician, but your parents wanted you to be a doctor, just be a luthier! (all) Yeah! Olaf: That’s it. Perform surgery on bows. Olaf: Violinists are smarter… Olaf: Just… OHH! Olaf: Studies on what have— Not so much whether it’s a violin, if it’s a musical instrument in general, but when you play a musical instrument, you have a lot more neural connections in your brain. – Brett: Oh, okay. That looks more like it.
– Olaf: If it fits in like this… Yeah. Olaf: Just slightly… Let’s just have a… That should work nicely there. Olaf: That is the first part. Olaf: It’s not everyone does this, but this is how I learned it from my day, and a lot of the English bow makers do the same thing. The way I’m hollowing this out makes the bow hair sit really firmly, where it’s supposed to sit. Olaf: And even the way I’m rounding it off here, it allows the hair to kind of spread out, – like fan out from here.
– Eddy: Ah, yeah. And the other thing I do on really good bows, I actually put a little bit more hair on the playing side and then I put a little bit more tension on the other side. – Oh, yeah.
– To counteract so it doesn’t –
– The tilt. Yeah, so it doesn’t twist the bow. All right. Now, do you want to try… Winding some hair? – Yeah, okay.
– Okay. So then the quantity, I always do this by feel. – Olaf: I literally take out
– Eddy: Whoa! – Olaf: a small quantity of hair,
– Brett: Oh, okay. Olaf: just by feel. What?! By feel, wow. If you were to count these, you’d probably get to around like 120 to 130 hairs. This is rosin, like powdered rosin. Olaf: And I put that in between because it sticks the hair together. Olaf: So I get a string. Olaf: So what I do, I literally wind the string around this really tightly. Olaf: So like, I’ll do one turn and do it really tightly, do another turn. Olaf: I look at the hole, and see how big it needs to be. – Eddy: Tie a knot?
– Olaf: And then tie a double knot. Olaf: Now. Who’d like to have a go at this? Oh, yeah. Olaf: What I’ll do is I’ll actually cut this one out. – Brett: Yeah yeah, yeah.
– Olaf: So you can go again. – Olaf: Yeah, yeah.
– Brett: So we’re not using too much hair. Olaf: Yeah. My good Mongolian hair. Slowly disappearing. Olaf: Grab this into this hand. Olaf: That’s it, and hold it nice and firmly together. And then you need to get the string around it. – Brett: Eight. …It’s good enough?
– Eddy: Detail.
– Olaf: Yeah, that’s heaps. Olaf: Yes, that’s heaps. Now you gotta do a… You gotta do a knot. – Brett: Oh, I do a knot.
– Olaf: That’s why… – Brett: Oh… Do I use this one?
– Olaf: That’s why you use a third hand. Brett: With the knot? Olaf: Yeah, that’s the… – Brett: I’m just gonna hold these together.
– Eddy: Hold that. Yeah yeah, uh-oh. – Brett: That’s it, there we go.
– Olaf: There we go. Olaf: Now we got it. Okay. – Eddy: Boom!
– Brett: One. – Brett: Double knot, double knot.
– Olaf: Beautiful, yeah, a double knot. Olaf: Lock it in. Eddy: Lock it in! Brett: Okay, lock it in. Olaf: Beautiful. – Olaf: Okay.
– Brett: Oh, my god my hands. Okay. So now… Okay, so next step is you actually cut it off with just a little bit to spare, so… Olaf: So you want to just have, like I have about, like… Olaf: You cut it off of that here. Brett: Oh, the horse hair? – Olaf: Yeah yeah, it’s like— But,
– Brett: All right, good luck Eddy. Olaf: …the short end, please, not the long end. – Brett: Go go go! Ohh!
– Eddy: Ohh!
– Olaf: Yeah! – Brett: It’s like a firework.
– Olaf: Nice. – Brett: Well, it’s not perfect.
– Olaf: Okay. So the next step, um… It’s a bit worrying. Do you wanna… A bit worrying? Olaf: We’ll just cut off the string as well. Okay, this is a shortcut. The next step’s kind of burning the end of the hair off. So you want it to… – Olaf: I might see—
– Eddy: (whispering) Fire! Olaf: Yeah, yes. Olaf: So we gotta be careful here, because the whole… The whole thing – You’re doing that! He just touched the flame! Olaf: So what I’ve done, by burning this, the tips of the hairs swell, like they get bigger. And that stops the knot from slipping out. Got this. I don’t… I’m running. I don’t even know how to use a lighter, man. Oh right, okay. Can you hold the lighter? Brett: You’ve never even—?! Brett: Now you just go, (makes lighting noise) Olaf: Okay, you just gotta make sure you hold it sideways – – Dude I’m panicking.
– It’s a— – It’s a childproof lighter.
– Dude you’re going too quick. So you gotta— Yes! – Now what?
– Okay. Olaf: Not yet, no. Eddy: What if it burns? Can you help me if it burns? – Olaf: Yeah, so we’ll just try it.
– Eddy: I might just drop it onto the ground. – Brett: Nah, nah.
– Eddy: Onto the wooden floor. – Olaf: Ooh…
– Eddy: Like that? Olaf: Yeah, that’s it. Eddy: I’m scared it’s gonna catch on fire, – Eddy: and like, burn…
– Olaf: Yeah, a little bit of a breeze. Olaf: That’s actually quite good. I saw that! Yeah! I can smell the smoke! – Yeah, I know.
– Emergency. Um, I think – Oh my— Ow! – Are you all right? It gets hot, yeah.
– Yeah, yeah. I might… Can we shorten this down, just a tiny bit? I’m sorry. Okay, so the next step I’ll show you on this. Hold on to this one, I’ll grab the lighter. Olaf: So I put some rosin on here now, and I just kind of heat that up, – Olaf: and I put a bit more rosin on,
– Eddy: That’s cool. Olaf: So you just do this, and… – Brett: It’s like, um…
– Eddy: It looks like toffee. – Olaf: Yeah yeah, that’s it!
– Eddy: Whoo! – Olaf: Nice. Okay!
– Eddy: Nice! – Brett: Master.
– Eddy: Well done! – Olaf: Now…
– Brett: Master of fire and rosin. Now this is the fun part. Olaf: I lean it against there, and I kind of press it down. See how it’s kind of bending? Brett: Yeah. Olaf: Then you get the wedge… – Eddy: Wow…
– Olaf: Put the wedge in, Olaf: and you’ve got to press it down a bit harder. Olaf: Now you can do that with your hair. – Olaf: Yeah, that’s…
– Eddy: I’m scared to push.
– Brett: Wow. – Brett: An operation.
– Olaf: Yeah, push. Olaf: Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. Olaf: And now you put it— Olaf: Hang on a sec, you don’t— Don’t twist it. Olaf: Don’t twist. Olaf: See if you can press it down again. Olaf: Let’s see if we could… – Olaf: Push that in.
– Brett: Push? Olaf: Yeah, yeah, that… Olaf: And now all you gotta do is – – Do you wanna put the wedge in?
– You put this… – Yeah, I’ll put the –
– Put the wedge in. Olaf: You put it in this way. Yeah, just push it up. That’s it! We’ve got the hair and the tip, that’s beautiful. And now we’ve got to wet the hair and comb it. Brett: Okay. So how long does it— – …did it take for you to learn this?
– Rapunzel! – Olaf: It took me ages. It took, um…
– Eddy: Like how many years of training… Olaf: Well, to get good at it, it probably took me… Took me a year or so. – Eddy: Oh wow.
– Olaf: I mean, it took— My first rehair took me about a month or so – Olaf: …to learn.
– Eddy: Mhmm.
– Brett: Okay. Olaf: But I was forever redoing, and redoing steps. Olaf: I don’t know how many, like, how many hanks of hair I… – Olaf: I ruined in the process.
– Eddy: Wow. Olaf: So we’re just gonna put that in here now, and we’re gonna do some combing. Olaf: Literally just start combing through this. Olaf: I’m gonna let you guys have a go at this. Olaf: So, do you want to also wet it again? – Olaf: You wanna like,
– Brett: Okay. Olaf: like, do the whole thing. Olaf: Lift up the bow. Yeah, that’s it. Olaf: And then we’re gonna, like… Olaf: Yeah, beautiful. Olaf: Yes, that’s it. – Olaf: Nice.
– Eddy: It’s like washing your hair. Brett: Oh, we gotta do the other side. Olaf: Yeah yeah, just go right up to the tip. Olaf: It doesn’t matter if it gets slightly wet, but yeah… Brett: Touched it! Olaf: It’s fine. So I usually do this about 20 to 25 times. – Eddy: 25 times!
– Olaf: Yeah.
– Brett: Here you go. – Brett: One…
– Eddy: What does that achieve? Olaf: It means that the hair is totally straight in the rehair. Olaf: If you were to pull a rehair apart, Eddy: Mhmm. Olaf: …the hair is just in a perfect— In a straight line, and it doesn’t cross over. – Eddy: Oh, okay.
– Olaf: Because when it crosses over, Olaf: …it affects the tone. Olaf: We want it to go all the way to the end, that way it’s straight. Olaf: See how straight that actually is? – Olaf: Like…
– Brett: Mhmm. Olaf: The knot’s gonna sit in, like it’s gonna wrap around like a back, and then back around here. Olaf: So I actually have to start… Like uh— I’ll draw a line. Olaf: So it has to be… The knot has to start about there, – Brett: Mhmm.
– Olaf: …to get this right. Olaf: How would you feel about me doing this knot? Yeah, skipping the process. – Leaving it to the professional.
– Yeah. Olaf: Some people also use a type of glue to stick these knots together. Olaf: In the end it doesn’t matter, like it… Olaf: As long as… As long as the knot sticks together. Olaf: It’s all fine. If I combed it a certain way, I would have, um… put more tension on one side of the rehair than on the other side, so if I comb it to one side, Olaf: then this side would be shorter. Olaf: Well actually, do you guys want to do this again? I know how much you… – Olaf: You love… You love doing this.
– Brett: Yeah, Eddy loves this. Eddy: I’m getting good at this bit. Olaf: Mmm, better. – Olaf: That’s enough now.
– Eddy: Oh, that’s hot. Olaf: Perfect. Yeah, okay. Olaf: We have this again, so we’re gonna pop it here. Olaf: So you just dip it. Olaf: So the next step is going to be to… Like, we’ll have to comb it another couple of times. Olaf: And we’ll be putting it in the frog. We’re gonna go around from this side. Olaf: Grab it that way and you turn it around, and put it in this way. Olaf: But before that, there is one thing missing, and that’s the ferrule. Olaf: Just slip it all the way through, and just put it towards the tip. So what we’re gonna do now is we’re gonna recomb it about four times. Olaf: Fantastic. – Olaf: Perfect.
– Eddy: Alright. Olaf: Okay. So now you’ve gotta lean the edge on here. – Brett: Push it in?
– Olaf: Yeah. Olaf: And now you grab the wedge. Olaf: Just slide it with your fingers forward. Yeah that’s it. Olaf: And now you’ve gotta move it, pressing down. Olaf: We’ll give it a couple more combs. Eddy: I wonder who invented this. Olaf: I know. Yeah, I know. Eddy: What is this? Olaf: So that’s called the slide. – Olaf: Just gently slide it on, that’s it.
– Eddy: Whoa! Olaf: And now you get the ferrule, and… Brett: All the way on. Olaf: See how that the bow is— – Olaf: The hair is really narrow right now?
– Brett: Mhmm. – Eddy: Oh yeah.
– Olaf: So the last thing is called the spreader wedge. Olaf: So you just push it in that way, that’s it. Olaf: And now, if you can just carefully – Brett: You trust me? Olaf: I do trust you. Olaf: Yeah, that’s– That’s really good there. Olaf: And maybe one more. Olaf: I’m gonna do this bit. – Eddy: Ohh, that’s what it is!
– Brett: Ohh, that’s how it works!
– Olaf: So there you go. – Olaf: And now you can…
– Brett: And now it’s all spread out! Olaf: Yeah, so now you grab it and put it in there. Brett: Nice! – Olaf: Okay, so this is the rehair, done.
– Brett: Is that it? Wow!
– Eddy: Done! Olaf: I think we’ve even put a tiny bit more hair on the playing side, that’s good. It’s fairly straight, um. Now there is a bit, there is a bit that’s not. Olaf: So this is nice and straight, and here is just a little bit where – Olaf: it’s not quite as straight. Yeah.
– Eddy, Brett: Oh… Eddy: It crisscrosses. – Olaf: The goal is to actually have it all straight,
– Brett: Everything straight. Olaf: …the entire length. – Out of 10, how do you think we did?
– Yeah, yeah, Oh look, you guys did really well – – Eddy: Really well out of 10.
– Brett: It went really well. – Eddy: Really well out of 10.
– Olaf: Really well, you guys. Yeah!
– Brett: We’re not on the scale anymore. Brett: We’re just really well out of 10. So that’s it, guys! That’s how you do a rehair. Special thanks to Olaf. If you’re in Brisbane, Australia, definitely check Olaf out. – The Violin Studio.
– Yes.
– Yeah. – Awesome, thanks so much!
– Thanks! No worries.
– Thank you. Thank you so much.

100 thoughts on We Try Rehairing a Violin Bow

  1. When I was learning how to rehair bows my teacher told us that it's called a frog because before the screw/eyelet mechanism was invented, baroque bows had a frog that sort of clicked into place and if it slipped it would spring off the stick thus "jumping" like a frog

  2. Not saying I could do better, but there was a bunch of hair at the end that wasn't the same length – I've had bows rehaired that came back that way. The last rehair I got, he did an amazing job, there are no longer hairs splayed out when the tension is off!

  3. Wait is this the same place…. I mean, Twoset is in love with Ray
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-F8LujUfeU

  4. Why are the hairs on the bows all the same color? Is it only a certain type of horse hair? Do they have to bleach it? I'm a horse girl and most of the horses I've met have black tails or red/orange tails.

  5. Anybody else wish Olaf had his own channel where he talked people through violin repair? And/or violin making? It's fascinating to see the process.

  6. naaaw sweet olaf teaching twoset how to use a lighter haha. next: twoset learns to light a barbecue and grills their own food before concert.

  7. You should really upgrade the camera get and get some RT stabilisation going because as soon as you move the camera it just smears all over the place. Very hard to follow the detailed work you're showing.

  8. Can you guys do a sound test between gut and synthetic strings? I’ve always wondered if it really makes a difference.

  9. It is so awesome of Olaf to take the time out of his day to show you guys (and us) these things. Pretty cool guy

  10. "Violinist are smarter."
    (couple of minutes later)
    "Burns hand with lighter."
    Yep….definitely cream of the crop. Love these type of videos though, bravo!

  11. I finally placed his voice! Olaf sounds like Korg from Thor: Ragnarok.
    (No disrespect meant. I deeply respect this man's craft and the skill he possesses.)

  12. It’s good to see Olaf explaining rehairing almost exactly the same way I was taught. The main difference is we stretch the hair while it’s still damp and then put the spreader wedge in after it dries. It looks like he puts the wedge in first and then lets it dry.

  13. For comparison, here's the complete procedure for trumpet maintenance:

    Step 1: add a drop of oil wherever the problem is.
    done.

  14. I think it's a good idea to practice on cheap, crappy bows, especially if you don't have expert guidance like Olaf.

  15. love you guys but the camera work here is just the fucking worst.
    this is very interesting and we can't see anything

  16. This is one of the videos they got that explains why violins and the bows are quite expensive. It's literally art made out of blood and sweat.

  17. watching this violin bow repair while hearing Dvorak American in the background is making me want go camping and giving me a strong urge to go bowhunting. Fucking semantic networking loll

  18. These two classical music geniuses make me feel so inferior, like I miss out on so much life not knowing what they do. That is, until I see that Eddy doesn't know how to light a lighter.

  19. Karloff showing off his new all on 4 Hollywood smile you all paid for!
    he must have to much business you do not put a link to his work shop??

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