Making Matters: Secrets of the sticks


New software, soon to be released as a free download, promises to help bow makers measure historical examples and adapt their own methods accordingly. Nelly Poidevin explains how it works

For some time now, I have been using a new kind of tool in my workshop. Part of it is visible near the workbench, but most of it is housed in my computer. It arose from a collaborative project called PAFI (Plateforme d’Aide à la Facture Instrumentale, or ‘platform to support instrument making‘) and is basically a system to measure the thicknesses of the bow stick, its camber and the stiffness of the wood. Each of these is something over which the bow maker has control (stiffness coming partly from the choice of wood). With this system I can record the data for every historical bow that comes into my workshop, and use it to guide my choices when making my own models…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.