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Woodworking blog entries tagged with 'lutherie'

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Tool Gloat: Brass Purfling Channel Cutter

10-18-2018 10:18 AM by Dave Rutan | 0 comments »

This is essentially a specialized cutting gauge that is used to cut a thin channel in the edge of a violin so that laminated purfling can be inserted. There are several types of these available, but I wanted this one made of brass. Even though I’m not even close to creating a violin, at least I have a tool to help spur me along on my journey. The tool above the cutter is a thin specialized chisel used to dig out the material after the cutter digs the path. This gives...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #32: Brass violin crack clamps

02-13-2018 02:06 AM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

This is my violin posing with a set of violin crack clamps that I made with brass rod and plastic cut from a 1/2 inch thick cutting board. These function like flexible, light-duty bar clamps. I’ll meed to make another, smaller set since many of the instruments I repair are fractional sizes. Oh, no! Not more clamps!

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #31: Brass F-hole cleat clamps

02-09-2018 11:37 PM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

Who doesn’t love clamps? I made these 5 light duty clamps so that I wouldn’t have to buy them. You can get the comercial variety for $16-$20 each plus shipping. Mine came in at about $5 each. I made them from 5/32” brass rod, 10-24 threaded rod, nuts, a 6mm t coupling for air lines, and some JB Weld to put it all together. The cleats involved are very very small, designed to simply bridge a crack which has already been glued together in order to add some strength to the mend...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #30: Scraper, well sort of

02-08-2018 01:15 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

I wanted a set of small scrapers on the cheap, so I made a set out of a dollar store saw blade. The quality probably isn’t like the ones made from real tool steel, but they do work. I’ve adjusted the shape of these since making them to reach certain areas of instruments.

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Adventures in Lutherie #15: Methusela

02-07-2018 06:48 PM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

I resurrected this 1/2 size violin that I pulled from our bone pile. It just needed everything aside from the scroll, neck, fingerboard, and body. I scavenged parts from our used items, including a set of strings.

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Adventures in Lutherie #14: Chipped cello edge

02-07-2018 12:22 AM by Dave Rutan | 5 comments »

Part of my job as an or hestral repair tech is to try and repair damage to the rental instruments. A chip like the one shown above is sort of dangerous since it presents a rough edge. This is repair though, not full museum restoration. In this case I took a piece of similar wood and cut it to fit in the gap, oversize. I carve the patch to match the level and shape of the missing piece as best that I can.Then I try my best to blend it in with the surrounding area. Sometimes I...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #29: Brass bridge templates and bevel gauge

09-05-2017 06:17 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

To badly mis-paraphrase a character from Babylon 5, “Zathras wants to have something nice.” A while ago I made a set of templates out of plastic for creating the arc that is on the top of violin and cello bridges. I was determined that eventually I would replace them with brass ones once I found a source for the brass. Well, eBay sells this 5-inch brass ruler that is an inch wide for less than $2 each… So I decided to start with a template for a full size viol...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #28: Violin and Cello Stick Clamps

08-20-2017 01:50 AM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

I have a project coming up, so I’m gearing up beforehand. I have a cello to repair in a fairly major way. The larger clamps are for the cello, though they may be long enough for a double bass, or at least not a full size one. The smaller clamps are meant for violins, though they may even fit on a viola. The sticks are 1/4” dowels and the heads are mahagony. There is a slight chance the heads might come off even though they are glued, so I may pin them before use. The cla...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #27: Small brass soundpost setter

08-10-2017 09:54 PM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

I was looking around for pictures of violin soundpost setters when I found one on eBay with a ram’s horn hook on one end (my term). Its uniqueness attracted me, so I went down to my workshop, grabbed a length of 1/4 inch brass strip. I split one end with a hack saw and cold chisel and shaped the ram’s horns with taps of a ball peen hammer. After I got that end to look satisfactory, I used files, my belt and disc sander, and a brass wire wheel to shape and polish the instrum...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #26: A few deep reach clamps

08-10-2017 01:18 AM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

I made one of these as an experiment and I ened up using it in the orchestral repair shop to hold two edges of a violin face crack. I figured it couldn’t hurt to make a few more. Sometimes I have to repair multiple instruments in a day. I made two sizes, 5 in. And 7 in deep with a capacity of 2-1/4 inches. Turns out this is a little small for a full size fiddle, but then most of our violins are 3/4 size and smaller. I’ll make a few larger ones eventually for full size v...

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