Check out the video of this process at the end of the post!
The old tip plate is removed before a new one is fit. Heat is used to weaken the bond of the old tip plate and liner material and then carefully sheared off with a knife. In this video you will notice how brittle the original tip material is. The tip plate being replaced was made out bone, and I will be replacing with a much better alternative, fossil ivory. Once the tip plate is removed, any residue of glue is carefully removed with a file to allow for a good clean bond of the new tip plate.
I don’t like having excessive material to remove while the roughed out tip plate is on the bow. The head is traced onto the tip plate material and I remove the bulk with a jewelers saw and file. Using a drill and needle files, the hole for the mortice is roughed out as well. Less carving and shaping you have to do on the bow the better. The roughed out tip plate in this case is glued on with yellow wood glue. Depending on the tip material, I will use different glues such as yellow wood glue and cyanoacrylate.
Electrical tape is used to protect the head as the roughed out tip plate is carefully filed flush. Half-round files are used around the beak and I like to use a knife at the back of the head for the chamfers. These steps must be executed very carefully as just one extra stroke of the file or knife can deface the bow. Delicate hands, patience, and a keen eye are necessary for this job. It is important that the shape and thickness of the tip plate is up to the original intent of the maker, i.e. it would look silly to do a Hill-styled beak on a German bow.
The head mortice is finished up with small bow makers chisels. I then like to polish up the tip plates up with Micro-Mesh so they have a nice shine. Once completed, the head is cleaned up and French polished. The bow is now ready for hair!