The Fallibility of Carbon Fiber Bows

This was a $200 carbon fiber bow that was used in a middle school. It was never abused, always loosened, and given the appropriate care. It played and sounded well until it’s demise. It lasted a few years.

3 comments

  • I’m no carbon fiber expert (although I’ve been looking into it for a while, and have at least a bit of experience with some car and mountain bike parts) but that doesn’t look like a very well designed bow, at least from a structural stand point…

    The correct layout process (and cause of strength) with carbon fiber is to wrap it in opposing directions in many thin layers… This causes the “grain” of each layer to work in opposition to the ones surrounding it, giving it some massive resilience…

    On inspection of your photos it appears that this company veneered a single layer of the material over a stick. Any flaws, or air bubbles in the core material would most definitely overcome the strength of that outer layer over time…

    I could only hope that the “higher end” versions of this use the correct manufacturing process, and take advantage of the materials true strength…

    And, since I’ve been looking into building an instrument with carbon fiber at some point, this has led me to think I may need to spend a little more time in the “drawing board” stage as the pressure from the strings is just a BIT more than that of the horsehair in the bow…

    Thanks for the pics!

  • Excellent observation. I’ve heard and always had great experiences with carbon fiber. EXCEPT a good pernambuco bow always sounds better – to me anyway.

    Have you seen these instruments?

    http://www.luisandclark.com/

  • I’ve seen some of the Luis and Clark’s… I figure I’ll offer about 1/10th of the quality at 1/2 the price with mine…

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