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Violin making tools
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John Cadd
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Joined: 23 Jul 2009
Posts: 538
Location: Ellesmere Port

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:25 am    Post subject: tools Reply with quote

This is a late post but might help. Those tiny brass planes can be awkward to hold and control so I fitted a crude handle on the smallest ones.The handle is made from 15mm copper water pipe.Fit a right angle bend to rest in the palm of your hand. The working end is attached using an old fashioned heavy soldering iron.The sort Rolls Royce used to fit their radiator grills.
Cut away the copper tube front and back and smooth off edges before soldering so that all the adjustments are possible.Remove any screws or wedges that may not like the heat. Work out the angle of the sole before commiting yourself to soldering.Not at all pretty but excellent to use.
Some tools specifically made for carving can turn out to be utterly useless.(One cast iron curved plane). In contrast one small flat plane (painted green ) with a cable tie around the cross piece pressing down on the blade is a favourite and does exactly what I want it to.
Tools are like socks.Only buy one or two to check them out first before jumping right in.
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Chet Bishop
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 642
Location: Forest Grove, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm. New idea-- I never tried buying just one sock...
Smile
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CT Dolan
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Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Reedy you are correct, plane blades should not have any give, and gouges by their very nature will not. But a good flat chisel will have an ever so small amount, almost undetectable really, but nonetheless with a feel you cannot deny, all of which leads to a sense of feed-back I find invaluable. It also makes use of the tool far less tiring. The only way to accomplish this is with the right steel, forged by a skilled hand and taken to the appropriate temper.

It seems every object crafted by the human hand, from the lowly chisel to the lofty violin, has among its clan the very finest of their kind, brought into existence through the greatest of care, through assiduous attention to the finest detail (with a little luck thrown in for good measure). But as for those things which arise naturally, which spring into existence without any intervention on the part of humankind, well even the lowest of the lot, even something as simple as a common leaf, turns the greatest of our accomplishments into an exercise in humility. There is a lesson in there, but I haven't time for it now, other than to say it is sometimes a good thing to know our place, to know our limits, to know what we can (and should) do, and what we cannot.
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John Cadd
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Joined: 23 Jul 2009
Posts: 538
Location: Ellesmere Port

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 7:55 am    Post subject: Tools Reply with quote

Here again is an idea that is not really a tool but can help a lot.
A large magnifier fitted into a shaving mirror frame (to adjust angles) which is then attached to 3 plywood hinged sections to use while working on the violin when it lays on it`s "operating table".
The plywood sections are hinged (vertically) to the back of the bench upright section.A light is also on the magnifier so that all the light shines down and none in my eyes.There are commercial lamps made but they tend to jiggle around and are too clumsy.This arrangement stays put as soon as it is moved.It needs no bench surface and reaches from one end to the other. Specially made for me by Heath Robinson.
If you need an "operating table" I can tell you about that.
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ghammond
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Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a beginner starting out, what size and type of chisels would you recommend? Should I get a gouge chisel that is 1 1/2 inches in width for the rough beginning work where I'm trying to get the general shape of the violin top/back carved? Then for finer work would you recommend a different type of chisel?

Also, is there a website where a could purchase a good quality new chisel that is properly hardened, or am I better off purchasing antique chisels from ebay/craigslist?
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ghammond
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Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, I see a lot of the antique chisels marked "cast steel". Is this good quality steel or not? My apologies in advance for my naiveté.
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DonLeister
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Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 356
Location: Richmond, VA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think what you are describing would be called a roughing out gouge, I wouldn't go wider than that. Just be sure it isn't too shallow of a sweep or it will be too hard to push through the wood because it will be taking out so much.
A long handle or long gouge with a bend to it is good. The violin making gouges in the Japan woodworkers catalog are to shallow and not ideal, ask me how I know!
I have some Buck Bros gouges that are very good, I don't know about other makes.
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Michael Darnton
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, "cast steel" is junk. Put as much of it as you can find in a box and sent it to me, and I'll dispose of it properly and safely.

I'm not much into old tools, just ones that work, but the several old cast steel gouges I have never seem to need sharpening at all--the edges last forever. The only thing new that compares with them is laminated Japanese tools.

My roughing gouge is a #7, I think, with a long handle like Don describes, and for smoothing, a #3. My widest gouges are around 1" or so. A 5/8" #7 is handy, and those are the only ones I use for tops and backs. For scrolls you need five or six small gouges, from about 1/2" down to 1/8", getting deeper as they get narrower. Short ones are fine, and I chopped half the handle length off mine to make them balance better, since you won't be looking for power from them.
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ghammond
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Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great! Thanks for the info guys!

I always appreciate the "been there, done that" type of advice. It's worth its weight in gold.

I was just reading about Buck Bros. They have a very interesting history and it just so happens that they're located right down the street from me in Millbury, MA. That's strange. I've never heard of them before. Who knew! Smile

Thanks again!!
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DonLeister
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Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 356
Location: Richmond, VA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just measured my gouge and it is 1-1/2" wide, I don't kow what the sweep is but the radi is 15/16". It was an antique store find, with no handle and about 8" long. I put a handle on it and total it is about 19" long.
It says New Haven Tool Co on it, doesn't hold an edge quite like the Bucks though.
Next you'll need a hand crank grinder to properly shape your gouges and scrapers, after you find out what the shapes work. You may know this already so I don't mean to be sounding smart-elecky about it.
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ghammond
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Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Don,

Great! Thanks for the measurements. I'm going to try to get in touch with Buck Bros. and see if I can pick up a couple of the chisels that meet the dimensions that you've specified.

I am 100% new to this, so all this information is very helpful. Thanks a lot!

I was actually wondering how you guys generally preferred to sharpen your tools. I have this electric grinder that's bolted onto a work bench. It works OK for large rough tools like axes and hoes, but I am thinking that it may go too fast for sharpening finer tools such as chisels. Like you have stated, perhaps I need to invest in a hand cranked grinder of some sort. I have a multi-sided oil stone, but that might not be well suited to sharpening chisels either.

To be honest, I wouldn't say that my sharpening skills are too phenomenal. I've sharpened axes and knives in the past, but the edges always seem to come out a bit uneven. They're usable and sharp when I'm done, but I ain't gonna be bragging about my sharpening skills at the local watering hole, if you know what I mean. Smile

Perhaps, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. I probably need to just need to put in some quality time behind the ol work bench and figure out what works best.

-G
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ghammond
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Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I started doing some internet research about hand grinders and I am quickly learning that there's more to this than meets the eye. A field in-and-of itself, perhaps.

I found this forum which has a lot of good information:

http://www.woodworking-online.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10990&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15&sid=e98120ad4ced9674412a3b8585dc83e7

I am also seeing some potentially good vintage hand grinders on ebay for sale around 10-20 dollars (plus shipping). I'm not sure if a vintage hand grinder would be satisfactory or not. Although, from my brief internet searching it doesn't appear as though many companies are still making hand grinding wheels.

Also, according to the post, it sounds as though you may need a certain size wheel (4 inch, 6 inch, 9 inch) depending on what you're sharpening. I am guessing, for our purposes, perhaps we'd want to use a smaller 4 inch grinding stone. (Although, I am really just guessing here.) Also, I'm not sure if you can still actually purchase new grinding wheels from stores in our modern electronic tool age. I'm assuming it's probably not the best idea to use a vintage stone that has been used for decades. It would probably be better to get a new one, but maybe not.

-G
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ghammond
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Joined: 22 Jan 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking at the following site and they seem to say that they have a reserve of the older-style buck bros chisels (however, I don't see any gouges for sale unfortunatly):

http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/html_p/BuckBrosChisels.htm

Then I was looking at the following forum and they seem to be saying that there's a more modern type of Buck Bros chisel that is sold at Home Depot and is very cheap and not worth buying:

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/1398
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Michael Darnton
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 60s gouge, and it is indeed better than a modern one, but not as good as the really old ones. At that price, I'd be sure to buy one, but probably the only one you'll get much use from in violin making is a 1/2", and maybe a 1/4".
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DonLeister
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Joined: 29 Mar 2007
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Location: Richmond, VA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ghammond, Somewhere Michael has posted good info on hand crank grinders, and wheels, maybe this forum or maestronet a while back. I don't have any links handy.
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