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Luthier Tools

Luthier Tools Used in the Book & Video

Radiused Sanding Pads

Almost every luthier must make at least some of his or her own tools. I developed these guitar making tools for the shop out of a need for a better solution to a particular problem encountered in the guitar making process.

For cutting rosette channels, a see-thru, adjustable device that would mount on a laminate trimming router seemed like an ideal solution, and the tuning machine drilling jig was an excellent way to resolve the problem of drilling the tuning machine holes without removing the headpiece template. And the radius sticks and pads make dishing the work boards a breeze.

All the guitar making tools shown here are get used in this shop every day and reliably produce good results. They will no doubt help you with your guitar building efforts.

Adjustable Tuning Machine Drilling Jig

The adjustable tuning machine drilling jig is used to drill 13/32" holes for classical guitar tuning machines with rollers that are 35mm on center. This jig was designed to be used in conjunction with the template set when cutting and drilling the headpiece. Typically, the headpiece is cut out, then shaped using a router to trim along the template. Next, the holes have to be drilled before the slots are cut out in order to avoid tear out. This normally would require removing the headpiece template drilling the holes, then putting the template back in exactly the same spot in order to remove the wood in the slots. This jig is designed to fit right over the template so it does not have to be removed. The jig comes with two spacers for 16mm and 17mm wide base plate tuning machines (bronze leaf and stippled brass respectively). Using the headpiece veneer stack as described in the 10-DVD box set Making a Concert Classical Guitar these spacers will work for the Sloane leaf bronze or stippled brass tuning machines sold by Stewart MacDonald. The jig can easily be adapted to drill for any size baseplate or veneer stack by simply creating new spacers.

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Glue Bottle & Roller

The glue squeeze bottle and roller are the same as those used in the guitar making book and 10-dvd box set. The best way to apply glue neatly, evenly, and in the correct amounts for any glue up. The glue bottle is great for getting just the right amount of glue on small or narrow surfaces.

The roller is great for quickly applying glue to large surfaces. you can easily control the amount of glue applied by wiping roller on paper towel then roll over glue surface again. This will remove glue from the surface by picking it up on to the roller.

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Radiused Sanding Pads

These sanding pads are just like the ones used in the classical guitar making book and video series - only better! The bottom of the sanding pads have been shaped to the 15 and 25 foot radius necessary for creating the dish in the back work board and lower bout of the solera. Both are covered with 80 grit sandpaper for quick cutting action. A comfortable yet sturdy hardwood handle is firmly attached with hardwood dowels that go clear through the pad. These pads will make sanding your work boards to final easy. The 25 foot radius pad may also be used to shape the underside of the bridge to make sure it accurately fits the top. If you are creating your own sanding discs these pads will be a great help in getting the final shaping accurate.

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End Mill Bits for Rosettes

In order to get clean crisp edges on your rosette you need to make the direction of your cuts in line with the grain of the wood, and use the right router with the right bits. These three flute end mill bits are the best I have found for creating the rosette. The smallest bit at 1/16" diameter is difficult to find yet crucial to installing rosettes in any type of acoustic guitar. The complete set of bits include 1/16", 3/32" and 1/8" diameter bits. You want to use all three so as not to dull the small bit. It is also time consuming to work with a small bit. With the whole set you can fit the bit to the size of the channel and greatly reducing the number of passes you will need to do the job. The 1/8" bit is indispensable in cutting out for the center ring, and a center wheat section if you dare.

Use these bits with the 2-Pi Cutter Router Attachment and a variable speed laminate trimming router like the Rigid R2400. This combination will yield great results.

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Radius Sticks

In order to build the guitar in the book or the DVD box set you will have to make some work boards. Minimally you will need a solera and a back work board. Both are domed either fully or partially, the back work board to a 15' radius, and the lower bout of the solera to a 25' radius. Drawing these radii accurately is difficult at best . Now available by customer request are both the 15' and 25' radius sticks. The sticks are made of rugged hardwood approximately 1/4" thick and stamped with the appropriate radius. The time saved in creating these yourself makes these sticks a real bargain. Also be sure to check out some of the guitar making kits that include these radius sticks free.

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Blades & Breaker Assemblies

The blade and breaker assembly for the compass plane are custom made for us by Ron Hock. The straight blade for the bench plane is a standard 1 1/2" wide Hock blade. These blades and breakers have been designed for use in these types of hand planes and are the finest quality blade and breaker assembly available. The curved blade has an 8" radius cutting edge. Both blades are 1-1/2" wide and 3-1/2" long and are 3/16" thick to eliminate deflection and chatter.

These blades are made of high quality high carbon steel to hold an edge longer, yet are not difficult to sharpen. Both the blades and breakers require some preparation before use. This preparation is explained in detail on the Plane Making DVD and on the sharpening plane blades page on this site.

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