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My bows aim to combine the aesthetic and the functional. Each is different and has its own unique characteristics


I used my new bow tonight to play on Dear Evan Hansen, for string trio and very exposed; it was just beautiful to play on!

- Naoko Keatley, violinist, London Symphony Orchestra


"I wrestled for years with badly balanced bows and was delighted to discover Stephen's. Now I only use his bows and my playing has a new freedom, with the surety that my bow will do what I want it to do!"

- Frances Barrett, violist, Dulwich Symphony Orchestra

Pernambuco has been the wood of choice for bow making for over two hundred years. The combination of physical properties - its strength, resonance and capacity to be bent to shape - make it ideal for the modern bow. It was given the scientific name Caesalpinia echinata by the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785. However, it was renamed Paubrasilia echinata following taxonomic reassessment in 2016

In 2007, it was given conservation status on Appendix II of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. At the 19th CITES Conference of Parties in 2022 it was resolved that all exports of Paubrasilia echinata in planks, billets and finished items requires a CITES licence*

* Under annotation #10, any re-export of materials or finished items does not require a permit

"Thanks for letting me try your bow. I liked it so much I actually played a couple of concerts on it. It's a fine piece of work. Many congratulations."

- Paul Cassidy, violist, Brodsky Quartet


The pernambuco is graded by the speed of ultrasound along its length. The sticks are also selected according to their relative density, straightness of grain and grain orientation

I purchased a bow made by Stephen Thomson in 2018 and have used it ever since as my main bow for a variety of performance types including concerts with my piano trio. It is very well balanced and has a lovely ‘cushion’ for legato passages. It draws a lovely sound from my violin, surpassing the sound I can create with bows that are many times the price! I thoroughly recommend trying Stephen’s bows!

- Kirsten Wilson, violinist, Trio Taliesin

view how I work with these materials here


I use ormer pearl (Haliotis tuberculata) in my bows, sourced from the Channel Islands. This pearl is particularly iridescent, often sporting a ‘double flame’ running in two directions, and was favoured by many of the mid-nineteenth century French masters 


view how I work with these materials here

I love my violin bow that Stephen made. I had taken my Vigneron in for a re-hair and mentioned that I was looking for something a little lighter. 

Stephen suggested I try one he had made. It was a revelation! It was immediately comfortable, working well at all types of bowing and complemented my violin and style of playing perfectly.

I bought the bow from him in 2011 and soon found I was using it in preference to others. I can wholeheartedly recommend Stephen's wonderful craftsmanship!

- Judith Stowe, violinist, Britten Sinfonia

Stephen Thomson’s lovely bow certainly isn’t shy when it comes to getting to the absolute core of the sound. The beauty is, however the fact that it crisply articulates and is one of those rare beasts that also boasts great agility.

- Morgan Goff, violist, Kreutzer Quartet

"I use the viola bow that Stephen Thomson made for all my viola playing. I trust it absolutely to play with a fine tone and a variety of colours and dynamics. It produces crisp spiccato, lively ricochet, articulated martele and warm legato bow strokes. It is comfortable and responsive to play with and I love it! Stephen is a talented and honest bow maker and bow repairer/rehairer and I have happily used his services for many years. I recommend him highly for all aspects of bow business."

- Paula Tysell, violinist and violist, Dulwich Symphony Orchestra

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