Bowmaker

Hi, 

Welcome to the website, my name is Michael Hemken.  I am in the process of updating things since I’ve been absent for a couple years, so I will thank you your patience.

I became interested in bow making in a round about way, beginning with woodcarving as a kid. I have been repairing acoustical instruments since 1974 I started making archtop guitars in 1976, which I displayed many years at the Healdsburg Guitar Show and the Montreal Guitar Show. Slowly my interest in violins  started to increase , so I investigated classes in violin making. I studied with master violin maker Michael Darnton two summers. It was a wonderful experience and I learned about the Cremonese way of building violins. In conjunction, I took another workshop in bow repair and re-hairing by Lynn Hanning which piqued my interest in adding  rehairing to my repair repertoire. My first workshop in bow making  a blow to my pride, I was taken aback by how hard it was and wasn’t sure I should continue. Steve DeCoux , who has been an invaluable mentor, was very patient and helped me salvage a difficult  situation. I persisted, out of fascination with the transformation from an unresponsive stick to a well playing bow. Master bowmaker Rodney Mohr was instrumental in helping me improve my technique and the importance of camber on the dynamic response  of bows. I am proud to call myself a bowmaker.