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Hand Tools for Guitar Making

Recommended Hand Tools for Guitar Making

Quality hand tools are essential in guitar making. When buying tools it always pays in the long run to buy the best but this doesn't always mean the most expensive. Some older tools such as saws, chisels, and planes are made of superior steel than the tools being manufactured today and really good buys can be had a local flea markets and estate sales. Old saw blades for instance are generally too thick for our purposes but the steel in the blade will make a great scraper and other cutting tools.

Tools for Guitar Making

Below is a list of tools I use for guitar building. Each person will have his or her own reference as to what tools they are most comfortable with so this is just a starting place to give you an idea of what you can expect to get for guitar making. Tools are listed below in categories. Some categories have their own page and a link to that page will be provided.

Measuring & Marking Tools

  • A long flexible ruler at least 700mm long in mm and inches
  • 36" Rigid ruler
  • 24" straight edge
  • 12" ruler in mm and inches
  • Small 6" ruler
  • 3" adjustable T-square
  • 12" adjustable T-square
  • Bevel gauge
  • 4" or 6" calipers in mm and inches
  • Exacto knife
  • Flat edged Japanese marking knife
  • Flat chip carving knife
  • Silver colored pencil
  • Compass

Planes, Scrapers & Saws

Chisels, Carving Tools, Knives, Files & Sanding Tools

  • Good set of chisels including 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", and 3/4" chisels
  • Carving tools such as a large 30mm #1, 3 and 5 gouges, 12 mm skew, and a 12mm #7 gouge
  • Small knives for carving
  • An assortment of files and sanding tools

Fretting Tools

  • Fret leveling kit
  • Fret hammer
  • Diagonal cutting pliers
  • End cutting pliers
  • Long nose pliers
  • Small triangular file
  • Fret beveling file

Set Up Tools

  • A set of nut files
  • An awl
  • String winder crank
  • An chromatic electronic tuner

Miscellaneous Luthier Tools

  • Small roller for applying glue (found in most art supply stores)
  • Glue brushes
  • 15-minute Kitchen timer
  • Scissors
  • An artist brush
  • Double sided tape
  • 3M blue masking tape: high and medium adhesion
  • 0000# Steel wool
  • Hygrometer
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