What tools do you find most useful, and what are useless?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
mlau
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:42 pm

What tools do you find most useful, and what are useless?

Post by mlau » Wed May 16, 2018 8:51 pm

A while back, I visited Stephen Faulk's shop in Oakland.
I was struck by how few tools he used (to make top shelf flamenco guitars).
I visited Brad Heinzen's shop in SF and was struck by how few tools he uses (I think one handmade plane and a small router plane).

What tools do you guys use most, and what do you think are somewhat silly?

I'm just a very much amateur and am even thinking of stopping building...however, I'd like any excuse to not stop building guitars.

-Matt



ps. In terms of not very useful tools-- LMI plate gluing jig, infill plane (so heavy!), specialized stewmac "thin" cam clamps.
Stuff I used a lot more-- sharp chisel, card scrapers, cam clamps, block plane...digital micrometer.

Stephen Faulk
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: What tools do you find most useful, and what are useless?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu May 17, 2018 2:37 am

Matt, I guess I never showed you the tool room down the hall from my shop. We shared the rent for the room between several occupants of my building. I had a 14" band saw with a resawing riser block a drum sander and a table saw.

The drum sander was nothing but trouble, a real POS, but I think a band saw and table saw are very helpful.

I had Gene Clark for a teacher and his philosophy was reductive:; move any non essential tools off the bench. Non essential is personal. We talked a lot about what tools a maker living 1550 or 1650 would have, and his idea was that he wanted to use that kind of speculation to clear off tools and to make small hand forged tools like special scrapers for clearing saddle slots etc.

We looked at a guitar supply catalog one day and I said it reminds me of what my grandfather said about fishing lures, most lures are made to catch fishermen, not fish.

Lots of makers are what I call 'tool sluts' they are just queer for tools. Myself, I'm a reductionist, I prefer less.

When I moved to Japan I took four banker's boxes of hand tools. Some other Maker here said because I lacked he told people I was unprofessional. Turns out a violin he 'repaired' was send to me, he had over varnished it with polyurethane. I made a tiny tool and scraper to flake off the thicker chunks, but he trashed the instrument. I took the fingerboard off, made a new bridge and managed to remove as much poly as possible, but the damage was done.

Later the flamenco guitar I showed him which he was jealous of sold in the US to a well known player who had a lifelong career in Spain as a pro.

How many tools you have is niether here nor there.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

CathyCate
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Re: What tools do you find most useful, and what are useless?

Post by CathyCate » Thu May 17, 2018 3:12 am

I am not a luthier but I do remember an observation by Matt Chaffin. When I picked up my guitar from his workshop, I was commenting on the impressive number of tools in view. It was even more amazing when he revealed that he could handcraft a guitar by using just 4 of them!
Cathy
Matthew Chaffin 2014 spruce/quilted maple
Andy Culpepper 2015 bear claw spruce/flamed maple

printer2
Posts: 466
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 9:20 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Re: What tools do you find most useful, and what are useless?

Post by printer2 » Thu May 17, 2018 3:21 am

I made my, 'Almost no tools guitar' here a while back and it forced me to build differently. Other than helping out with the accuracy and speed it doesn't take too much to build a guitar tool wise. A digital caliper gets its fair use. If I was better at sharpening and setting up a plane my drum sander would get less use. For now it is still one of my more useful tools since I make all my linings and bindings, take down my tops, backs and sides,evenly sands down the back side of my necks before carving. Band saw is up there, table saw not so much. While I have a bunch of routers as a minimum I would want a laminate router. Other than a few hand tools like a razor and fret saw, a couple of chisels and some files I don't need much.
Fred

printer2
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Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 9:20 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Re: What tools do you find most useful, and what are useless?

Post by printer2 » Thu May 17, 2018 3:32 am

Four huh? I'll give it a go. Fret saw, 1/2" chisel, drill press, plane. I think I would still want my bastard file to do the neck. Otherwise just consumables like sandpaper, I think I could do without most of my clamps but I would need a straight edge and a tape measure. No, I need about a dozen. Need a hot pipe to bend sides with also, I forgot about that.
Fred

Stephen Faulk
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 am

Re: What tools do you find most useful, and what are useless?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu May 17, 2018 4:52 am

I'm a clamp slut. I'll do anything for more clamps.
Patience at the bending iron pays in rounded dividends!

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