Violin Building Tools

Those lacking woodworking skill, determination and patience need not attempt to make their own violin. The materials are expensive and highly specialized, as are the tools needed for the task. Violins are made from top quality spruce or sycamore, from specific sections of the tree that provide the best resonance and wood grain. Glue holds it all together. The main skill comes in creating the various parts.

Cutting and Shaping Tools

A sharp knife is used for cutting. Finger planes are used to measure off the arched surface and backing of the violin. A bending iron is used in conjunction with the strap to bend the violin's ribs, and bending strap is used with the bending iron. Peghole reamers are used to create round holes for the tuning pegs, while a peg shaper or shaver is used to trim the pegs and various pins precisely. A purfling router or scribe creates the purfling line, which still requires a knife or purfling cutter to create the channel; the purfling cutter is a more precise tool than a knife to carve purfling channels. A purfling pick is used to extract wood particles from the purfling channel. And, finally, a flush-cut saw is a narrow and elastic saw blade used for smooth, quick cuts.


A thickness (or "dial") caliper or gauge is used to measure the thickness of soundboards or backs. Soundpost gauges measure soundboard length and the violin neck angle gauge verifies the violin's neck alignment.

Clamps and Cradles/Miscellaneous Supplies

Spool clamps hold the body of the violin together as the glue dries. A violin cradle will steady the broad surfaces during carving and finishing details while the violin bridge fitting jig supports the bridge for precise contouring. Soundpost setters are used to place soundposts into the body of the instrument. The soundpost retriever is used to retrieve fallen soundposts from the violin's interior. An inspection mirror, which is similar to a dental mirror, is used to verify the soundpost's placement. The bow rehairing jig secures the bow for rehairing. A violin bridge marker is used to demarcate the bridge string notches with exactness and a string lifter (or bridge jack) easily removes the bridge to make adjustments without releasing the strings.

Keywords: violin craft, building violins, soundpost, purfling

About this Author

Tom Wagner, though primarily a fiction writer, has contributed to newspapers and magazines in the Los Angeles area such as "California Examiner," "World Reporter," the "Philippine Nurses Monitor" and most recently "Famegate Global News" since 2004. He has published articles focus on food, social issues, travel and medical matters. Wagner holds an Associates Degree in respiratory therapy from El Camino City College.

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