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Woodworking blog entries tagged with 'lutherie'

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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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Shopmade Luthier Tools #25: More spool clamps

08-09-2017 09:56 PM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

I continue my acquisition of toolls for repairing cellos and contra basses. These add to the orignal dozen that I need for bssses and get me closrr to the two dozen I want to have for cellos. FYI the dowel pieces for these were salvaged from an old snow shovel handle. Never throw a wooden handle out. It’s just a big dowel after all. They cost $$ if you have to buy them! [Below] Witness that my daughter’s animals tend to cause trouble if left to themselves.

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #24: Brass sound post plier

08-07-2017 10:57 PM by Dave Rutan | 7 comments »

This is a tool that is used to adjust the position of a sound post in a violin. A sound post is like a length of dowel that is wedged between the top and back of a string instrument to help transmit the sound from the strings to the back (little more complicated actually, but that explanation will suffice.) I bought one of these that is about 8 inches, but discovered during use on the smaller violins that a more petite model would be handy. I used two 6 inch brass rulers, $1 each on...

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Adventures in Lutherie #13: Bass-ic Clamps

07-28-2017 01:36 AM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

Lately at work I’ve had to venture upwards and do some work on Double Basses. It’s mostly been just restringing and such, but today I graduated again. Today I cut my first bass bridge. It was just a 3/4 size bridge, but it was still a bass bridge. The other thing was that I had to glue an open seam in the bottom of a 1/4 size bass. I discovered that my cello size spool clamps were too short and had to improvise as seen in the photo above. Below you see two of four ba...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #23: Violin Crack Clamp

06-21-2017 09:19 PM by Dave Rutan | 5 comments »

Last week I found a violin in the bone pile that looks like it’s trying to crack in half lengthwise. Not having any appropriate clamp to hold such a thing together for gluing, I put my mind to it and came up with this clamp. I made it out of 3/4 inch mahogany, using two pieces on each side. I did that so that I could easily create the groove on the inside of the curved parts to engage the lip on the edge of the violin. The groove is shallow so the clamp body won’t press...

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Adventures in Lutherie #12: A few shots from my day

06-13-2017 09:04 PM by Dave Rutan | 0 comments »

I’ve been going through the ‘bone pile’ in the shop, looking for specimens that I think I have the ability to repair. The best way to learn is to do, and since these were actually already in the scrap box, how could I possibly goof anything up? My boss once said to me that if I goof something up, we’ll just take it apart and fix it. These first two shots are of a 3/4 violin that had a missing corner on the upper left C bout. The top of violins is spruce, IE the same...

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Shopmade Luthier Tools #22: Rotary File/Hole Chamfer tool

05-23-2017 12:16 PM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

In looking around for the best buys on the tools I actually have to buy versus make to repair bowed string insytruments, I encountered a tool that I haven’t missed having—yet. Seeing that it’s looks like a counter sink bit on a handle, I made one. The handle is a turned spindle that I saved from a piece of furniture for just such a use. I just had to shorten it and drill a hole in one end to accept the counter sink bit on one end. I glued it in with epoxy and...

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