Hand Tools for Guitar Making

Recommeded Hand Tools for Guitar Making

Quality hand tools are essential in guitar making. When buying luthier tools it always pays in the long run to buy the best. 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. Below is a video on the different types of scrapers and how to create them.

Tool Tips: Scrapers

See a video on sanding pads...

Making some of your own luthier tools can be very rewarding. Not only will you get a genuine feeling of accomplishment, but you may end up with a very fine tool. The first project at the College of the Redwoods fine woodworking program is making your own hand plane. While at the school I made a number of planes which I still use to this day including a couple of round bottom planes, and a compass plane. J.S. Bogdanovich Guitars has produced a plane making video offered here on the web site.

Below is a list of hand tools recommended for guitar making. Whenever purchasing tools it is always wise to buy only top quality tools. With regular use lesser quality tools often do not work as well and will at some point probably need to be replaced. There is a usually a good reason the better tools are more expensive. It is difficult to produce quality work with inferior tools.

Measuring and Marking Tools

Here is a video segment on measuring and marking tools for guitar making. This three minute video describes the marking toos listed below.


I prefer Japanese hand saws to western hand saws because they cut on the pull stroke and this feels more natural to me providing greater confidence in every cut. They also make a very narrow saw kerf making greater accuracy possible.

Planing and Scraping Tools

Chisels and Carving Tools

Filing Tools

Tool Tip: Sanding Pads

Sanding Tools

Fretting Tools

Set Up Tools

Miscellaneous Luthier Tools