Shopmade Luthier Tools #6: Brass hair gauge

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 01-04-2017 02:41 AM 1733 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Tiny knife/scraper Part 6 of Shopmade Luthier Tools series Part 7: Pick »

What’s a hair gauge you ask?

When a luthier re-hairs a violin bow, or a bow of any of the other bowed instruments, they don’t just cram a bunch of horse hair into the little anchor holes. There is a certain yet indefinite amount of hair required for each type of bow. Greatly experienced professionals can pretty much gauge it by their hands, but some like to do it scientifically.

Hair gauges are available for purchase and there are several types. There’s even one available in brass! However they can be pricey and I’m on a perpetual shoestring budget. The most inexpensive one I found was $10.00 and consisted of a piece of wood with a kerf sawn into it with handwritten markings for the requirements of each type of bow.

I made mine from a piece of thick brass about 3 inches long by 1/2 inch. I sawed a kerf with a hacksaw as straight as I could. (I just now thought of a possible way to saw it straiiter, go figure.) Then I sanded the kerf to smooth it and attempt to straighten it as I made it a bit wider. I finally got it to the point where I could use my belt grinder. I put semi-accurate marks on it, centimeters on one side, quarter inches on the other.

Is it pretty? I can improve that. Will it work? I’m confident of it. Is it brass? YES!

I just need to calibrate it with a violin bow that doesn’t yet need re-hairing. My wife the musician says she can help borrow one for me.

Check out the other luthier tools I’ve made here:[link]

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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