My first hair gauge [link] wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be so I kept an upgrade in the back of my head. The other night I spotted this string gauge [Below] and it inspired me to make something extremely similar to measure bow hair. I made this new hair gauge using brass strip 1/2 inch wide and about 2 inches long. I used a wood coffee stirer to space them apart about 1/16 of an inch and soldered a brass cleat along one edge on both sides. Then I cleaned it up with my benc...
I had two chisels without handles. The flatter one is from of old. It was from my dad’s stuff. It’s purpose when I was growing up was to pry open the old ‘extra’ refrigerator we had in the basement. The handle of the fridge had broken somewhere in my pre-history. The handle on the chisel was clear yellow plastic. The plastic broke some years ago when I was using the chisel to do chisel stuff. Surprise! It lived for some time in one of my tool boxes, handleless...
A violin opening knife is a very thin, semi-flexible wide-bladed tool used to separate the parts of a violin. The glue used to hold such instruments together is brittle and will let go under stress. Apparently that is a feature, not a flaw. For mine, I was too cheap and impatient to find a thin cheese knife, so I took a dollar store spackle knife and after removing the blade from the plastic handle and trimming it down, I sandwiched it between two pieces of mahogany with epoxy. Whe...
See more photos on my project page [link] A bow vise is used to hold a violin bow while replacing the horse hair that vibrates the strings. I started by looking up such a thing and finding photos of (mostly) the commercially available models. Then I printed out a few screen shots for the details. I didn’t absolutely duplicate the commercial model, but I got something that will work. The wood is oak throughout. A few bibs and bobs of the hardware will be replaced with brass once I ge...
If this looks like a screwdriver with the business end cut off, you’re not far off. One of the luthiers I watched used just that to push the little maple plugs/wedges in to secure the hair in the bow. I decided to make mine from scratch anyway. The handle is a scrap piece of mahogany this time with a ferrule attached. The push stick is a piece of rod from an old pendaflex folder frame. I just made sure I slightly rounded the business end and smoothed it so that it wouldn’...
In one of the videos I watched on bow re-hairing, it was sugested that a tiny rat tail file would come in handy. I happen to have a double set of tiny files, so I thought I’d put a handle on the one I apparently need. I took one of the easily discarded wooden handles from a used foam brush and drilled out the plastic tang that remained in the handle. Then I fit a copper ferrule on it and glued in the file. (The hole was just a bit loose for the file tang.) I did a bit of sanding...
This tool is made from the business end of one of those nut picks that come with nut cracking sets. In a video about bow re-hairing I saw the technician using a tool like this to push the abalone slide back over the hair on the frog end of the bow. I sad to myself ‘I can make one of those!’ After cutting the nut pick in two, I mounted it in a scrap piece of white oak and strengthened it witrh a ferrule. Even so, I learned that the hole you drill to accept the tool ne...
Call this a pick or a bodkin. It is chiefly used to nudge out the maple ‘wedges’ that hold the horse hair in at either end of a bow. I made mine from half of one of those nut picks that come with nut cracker sets. After cutting the nut pick in two, I chucked it in my electric drill (corded) and sharpened it on my belt grinder till it gained a nice long point. Then I mounted it in a scrap piece of white oak with a copper ferrule. The handle was finished with boiled linseed oi...
What’s a hair gauge you ask? When a luthier re-hairs a violin bow, or a bow of any of the other bowed instruments, they don’t just cram a bunch of horse hair into the little anchor holes. There is a certain yet indefinite amount of hair required for each type of bow. Greatly experienced professionals can pretty much gauge it by their hands, but some like to do it scientifically. Hair gauges are available for purchase and there are several types. There’s even...
While we’re on the subject of knives, this one, while it is a knife, will principally be used as a scraper in tight spaces. The blade began life as the awl in the cheap pocket knife that I mentioned a few posts ago. The handle is a scrap of white oak from the hardwood scrap drawer. (I have a hardwood scrap box as well.) The knife was finished with boiled linseed oil. Check out the other luthier tools I’ve made here:[link] Enjoy a few more pictures:
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