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Novice Notes

Novice Notes

by Donald Curry

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Newsletter Vol. 4, #4, 1976

Tools are a prerequisite to any art or craft and so it is important for the beginner to have a thorough knowledge of tools and their proper applications before purchasing the first one. The quality and types of tools available to the luthier will have a direct effect on not only the finished product but also on the ease with which the work progresses. It is for these reasons that the amateur or novice luthier should have thorough knowledge of the tools utilized by the craft before beginning the work. It is also a good idea to know exactly what type instruments (violin, guitar, etc.) you wish to construct before you purchase tools. This will enable you to buy only those you specifically need avoiding the purchase of non-essential and duplicative tools.

Tools of the luthier may be divided into three broad categories:
(1) General woodworking tools; those tools used by all types of woodworkers such as carvers, cabinet makers, joiners, etc.
(2) Special tools manufactured specifically for building or repairing one type or another musical instrument.
(3) Special tools the luthier must either modify or adapt from an existing tool or fabricate from scratch.

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