I prefer to work with tools that match my workmanship and teaching style in terms of quality and engineering finesse. Good tools make for a satisfying learning experience, and help my students get decent results with their first instruments. More details can be found below. Enrolled students are eligible to purchase their own tools at a student discount, depending on the brand. However, the school provides all tools needed to build an instrument.
Planes, chisels and other cutting tools
Our Veritas chisels and planes are all made in Canada, providing high-quality old school tools which have some very interesting modern adaptations. Our workbenches are built with very heavy cast-iron legs, providing a very stable surface for using hand tools in a controlled and precise manner.
A luthier’s specialty tools are often custom built. I use tools and jigs that I fashioned after traditional tools, but incorporating little modifications that improve the tool for my work style. The gallery below shows a joining jig (left) which is based on the traditional Spanish design. The combination of wedges and rope allows for a very fast clamping setup, which is very useful when working with hide glue. The bending iron (center) was initially powered with electricity, but I converted it to gas. This used to be the traditional heating method for bending irons among the luthiers of Markneukirchen, Germany. I am happy to keep my master’s traditions alive, especially since I believe the ancient method has many advantages over electricity. The jig built for the band saw (right) was developed by one of my students. He was building liners after the guidelines of my colleague Jeremy Clark (Montreal), and came up with this awesome jig. A luthier is definitely required to be inventive and build tools and jigs for special tasks.
Many colleagues recommended using glass as a sanding block in the past. Recently, I decided to visit my local glass shop and get a few pieces to try out this method. Matthew from Kamrose Windows was so kind to take me into his workshop and show me the whole process – how he cut the glass blanks, and cleaned up all the edges on the sanding belt after. After a few weeks of working with these glass sanding blocks, I am quite convinced. I will certainly order more custom-sized pieces for future specialty tools. Thank you Matthew!