The best violinmaking toolspublished Mar 17, 2021 by Edgar E. Russ
Today I will talk about my favorite tools.
Every craftsman has a special relationship with his tools, and finding the right ones is a very important part of creating your workshop.
One of the tools I love the most is the one I bough the first time I came to Cremona and was still making guitars. I was about 16/17 years old. I saw this nice and small plane, called Kunz. It immediately attracted my attention. When I bought it, it was shiny and green, now it is all used, but it has so much more character. I use it to do some rough work on the arching and adjusting the fingerboard, then I can also flip the blade so the angle is different and can be used to do other little adjustments.
I am kind of jealous of my tools, especially this plane. There are a lot of great planes, but this one is special. I don’t to everything with it, but it has a special place in my heart. It is MY plane.
Another tool that is very important is a knife that I bought when I was still living in Austria. The handle has changed over the years, but the blade is very short because I used it so much. Very soon I won’t be able to keep it in my handle. Probably it is 15 cm long, and now I consumed 6 cm over the years on saropening stones. It is slightly round, it is very handy and it allows me to work on the neck and on the scroll, purfuling.
It is very precious to me, I am already thinking about the day I won’t be able to use it anymore (look at the knife here).
Then I have a huge collection of small planes, of different brands. If you look at all of them, you would think I am a collector of them, but in a workshop with many people it happens that while I am working on an arching, somebody else needs a small plane… so we need more of them. In the beginning I bought two Morassi, which are my ultimate favorite. I made myself the wooden cone to stop the blade and I recognize the teethed one by drawing some stripes on the back of it (click here to check it out).
Is is a slightly rounded plane.
I then thought about having a screw on the blade, so I bought the next model from Morassi, but they are not the same as the last one.
I also tries Ibex, but they have a small mistake for me: the blade is too small and the body is too large. It is not very comfortable.
The ones that are the shinier, therefore the most used, are the first I talked about. I still love them so much.
Another tool that I think is very important is this very big plane. It looks like a weapon, it is so big and heavy. When I had to buy it, everyone else was choosing smaller ones, but I went for the bigger one (n. 7). I really took care of it, I changed the blade, with a Samurai blade, a Japanese one. It is a little bit thicker that a traditional one, because while using it the blade is vibrating a lot so the thicker it is the smoother it is to work.
With this one it is very quick to do the joint, even tho I spent a lot of time when I was younger learning how to use it properly.
The metal used for this plane is cast iron, a seasoned metal that warps and changes shape in the beginning. This one is more than 35 years old, and you can tell is well seasoned and it’s not perfectly straight.
Lastly, a tool I really like is a knife I use to take out wood when I make the purfling. This was an old file, the end part of a file, that I adjusted to create a particular shape. It is slightly sharpen on the front and on the backside is slightly round, so that when I am working on the C section, you can turn easily without getting blocked inside the channel.
It is not the only one I use, I also have a bigger one for the cello, and a small one made out of a nail that I use in the upper part.
If you want to see all of thee tools in action, check the video below and let me know what you think about them!
Directly from Cremona,