A big one. A great bow is big enough to handle a violin of any size. You should have at least two to three feet of string at all times. This could be a large length of string with a thin cord, or perhaps a long piece of cord with an “A” to be tied to the bow. A short string that is too short to handle a violin and won’t break should be cut very short. There are ways to hold and adjust the bow so it doesn’t break. But we don’t get to do that here; instead we put our mind to the task of putting a violin bow together.
The basic shape for a violin bow is a rectangle of wood approximately 17″ by 17″ inches. The violin bow is always rectangular; if it is not, we usually replace a part of the bow. But this will cause some changes to the piece, like it will not look as nice on the bow.
You must have enough wood to support the bow and the string, which can be made with a solid piece of wood. If you want to make your own or have one left over from construction, buy two 3/4″ plywood boards that are the same weight as the bow at a local lumberyard. Cut and drill three holes and glue these together. This part takes the least amount of work and lets the work flow together. When making the part, remember to use solid wood. Wood made of plywood will not hold as well as the more flexible type of wood.
The first step is to cut the string. This is where we cut our piece. Most modern bows now come with metal string guides that will hold the string in the string guide perfectly, or you can buy string guides with rubber grommets. For the bow we will be using, we make two pairs of string guides. We must decide what part of the bow we want to make the string guide; we choose the guide for the top and bottom of the bow.
Make the guide with wood. The wood must be solid, like a long board. Measure the width of the middle and bottom of the body of your bow. Make the guide with 3/8″ wood strips. Drill the two holes at 3/8″ intervals and glue them. These also make the strings, to do that we need to use three pieces of 3/8″ wood each, glued together. Make the other pair of wooden strips using 3/8″ wood. This is the guide that holds
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