Trade Secrets: Making a custom cutter for a Parisian-eye ring

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A necessary piece of equipment to tackle an uncommon problem in bow repair

Replacing worn-out mother-of-pearl eyes on old frogs is a near-daily task for many bow makers. But the replacement of just the metal ring when the pearl eye is intact is a rarer operation. The ring often needs replacing because its channel in the ebony is too shallow to secure the ring in place properly. Degradation of the glue joint, rigorous handling and seasonal shifting of the ebony work the ring loose, and it is often lost completely. In the frog shown to the right, half the ring is paper-thin and lifted out of the channel. We have to deepen the shallow end of the ring channel to accept a replacement ring of sufficient height. To do this, we have to make a bespoke cutter that will cut the bottom of the channel deeper but not touch the sides, which would alter the eye’s overall aesthetic…

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