The most important thing is to get your bow back to its former condition. Rehairing the bow often goes by various names: “Razor sharp,” or “sharp edge,” or “sharp shaft.”
The reason a bow is considered “unsharpened” is that of course when the bow is used for playing, it will have a lot of force attached to it, so that the sharp end is more likely to chip the hide of the animal you’re shooting, or it may even damage the blade. For that reason, a sharpened bow is not ideal as you may need to sharpen it, or you may actually need to replace the bow at some point if your arrow starts to chip away.
The best way to sharpen a bow is by cutting some thin pieces of wood using a knife (or sharp edge if you have it). It then has to be held over the flame to heat up, but the process is really fast if you start early enough in the afternoon – you know, like before I go to bed!
I have learned in the past to use a flat file to clean the tip of the bow – but don’t use that as a rehair method as that causes the bow to become dull.
However, when I’ve received a “sharp arrow tip” and it’s not sharp, I can use the sharpen bar to remove that. It’s quite effective, but the idea is to give the bow a fresh look, so you want to keep the wood as sharp as possible. If you think that’s difficult and don’t want to risk damaging the bow, you can use a razor blade or razor to edge, but I’m more of a guy that wants to take it home.
And if you’re just starting out, maybe you do want a good new bow, but it will cost you, right? If so, you should have access to re-sharpeners as I outlined at the beginning of the article.
A Reharpener’s Thoughts
I’ve been working with re-Sharpeners pretty much since I started my violin playing back in the 8th grade. I believe it helped me a lot, and I’m glad that the industry is starting some major moves that will help many more violinists. And that’s what really is most important, is making sure that the violinist is not paying any more for gear that is designed for the violin itself, but is not actually helping in violin performance.
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