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John Norwood Lee



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About John Norwood Lee

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I make a lot of copy bows. There is a challenge in making a new bow look, and hopefully play, like a bow made by one of the great masters of the past. For me the hardest bows to copy are Sartory bows. Making the button on them is a great challenge, especially the gold copies. Also the heads of Sartory copy violin and viola bows are extremely difficult to make look like a real Sartory. I think this is why they are the most popular; I have done something and I am being punished for it. I don’t know what I did, but people keep ordering Sartory copy bows!

My favorite bows to make are Tourte copies. The greatest Tourte bows were almost all octagonal and I think that the planing of an octagonal bow is one of the best ways to see the level of craftsmanship of a bow maker. Planing a skinny piece of wood that’s so long and getting it to look good is no easy feat. This is obscured when a bow is made round. Not that round bows don’t have their own beauty, they do, but it doesn’t show the craftsmanship nearly as well.

I also like making Peccatte copies. More than most other makers D. Peccatte used beautiful wood. Beautiful wood that might be rejected by many makers as too difficult to work with is perfectly suited for Peccatte copies. Unfortunately it is the defects in many pieces of wood that make us consider it beautiful. Peccatte had a knack for using wood with more depth, figure and motion in it than his peers. When you make a beautiful bow that also then can make beautiful music it is Art on several levels. It can be very satisfying.

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