Good Guide to Ivory Ban


Very comprehensive up-to-date guide to navigating the ivory ban for musicians.


Ivory Alternative

photo 2(1)This is a bass bow by Reid Hudson belonging to a CSO member who brought it into the shop for a new headplate due to the recent ivory laws.   In this case I decided to try a material known as G-10 for the replacement tip.  This material is created by impregnating layers of a woven glass fabric with an epoxy resin, binding the whole into a laminated mass.   Traditionally it was used for circuit boards because it is not electrically conductive and is quite strong.  Other attributes of G-10 are its resistance to water absorption, lack of shrinkage, and stability when subjected to high temperatures.

Another benefit of this material is that upon close inspection, it is clearly not ivory or any other animal product for that matter.  The grid pattern is only noticeable up close and does not distract from the aesthetics of the bow.

G-10 is very cheap and comes in many colors, the only draw-back being that it is not available in pre-cut tip blanks and must be milled into shape for fitting.  One may cut G-10 with a jewelers saw, but it is slow going.  A band saw fit with a fine metal blade would probably work too.  It seems to adhere strongly with CA glue and works well with a file and knife.  The side edges of the material are prone to absorbing color from older sandpaper or dirty files, so I recommend using fresh paper or very clean fine files to finish.

This particular bow had a very flat surface for the headplate, so it is still unclear how well G-10 might flex or bend for more curved applications.


More Ivory Problems…


Seven bows owned by members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra were confiscated by customs officials at JFK under suspicion that they contained ivory.  While the orchestra itself had flown into Newark, their instruments and bows were shipped as cargo to JFK.   Despite the fact that the bows had the appropriate Hungarian paperwork, the US officials still took the bows and members had to borrow sticks for their performance at Lincoln Center.  Although there are not multiple sources to cross-check this information, what we now have are at least two incidences related to ivory and bow confiscation – one in the US and one in the EU.  This problem is getting worse.  Be careful out there.

6/5/14 UPDATE: