Knife and Tool Sharpening for Instrument Making and Repair

'Sharp tools are safe tools’ and are essential to working in violin craftsmanship and instrument repair. In this 2-day course, you will learn how to make and keep your knives, chisels, plane blades, and scrapers sharp. Learning the proper use of sharpening stones, grinders, and/or diamond & honing stones will give you the confidence needed to build and repair instruments without the frustration caused by dull tools.

*This class is a prerequisite for Violin Setup Foundations, Level I.


Tools & Materials


Knife and Tool Sharpening for Instrument Making and Repair

Tool-up list for this course:



Diamond “stones” (coarse = 220 grit)


Grinding wheel 

Honing stones (medium and fine grit, MUST BE FLAT)

Burnishing tool (for scrapers)



Metal files (medium and fine tooth)

Honing guide

Diamond hones, finer grits


Instructor Bios


Knife and Tool Sharpening for Instrument Making and Repair

  • Charles Wolf

    Charles Wolf is a retired Music Educator from California, after 35 years teaching Instrumental music in San Diego County, Orange County, and the Los Angeles City public schools. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in both Music Education and Music Performance, Master of Music Degree, a Clear-Life California Teaching Credential, and a Tier 1 Administrative Credential.

    Charlie found that his passion for teaching music to students quickly called him to service, and the rewards of his students’ success are many, including his ensembles being invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall in Chicago, the Hawaiian Invitation and many more. Having been honored with Teacher of the Year three times in his respective school districts, the City of Chula Vista (CA) three consecutive years, named “Orchestral Director of the Year,” and twice Band Educator of the Year in San Diego County, Charlie’s awards are representative for his devotion to the Music Education of his students.

    Charlie was administrator for the Summer Arts Academy in San Diego County. For 10 years, he brought together eight individual Visual and Performing Arts components for an intensive and comprehensive session for top honor students within the Visual and Performing Arts with some of the highest-rated VAPA Educators in San Diego County.

    Now, Charlie enjoys conducting honor bands and orchestras as a means of helping young musicians receive another perspective and higher-level skills within an honor ensemble. He is a “Head Judge” in the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association where his critiques of festivals and marching band field tournaments allow him to coach and assist other music educators.

    While still in high school, Charlie became the stringed instrument and bow repair technician for one of the largest music stores in Orange County, CA. The store serviced many of the surrounding schools and school districts, and Charlie soon became proficient in expedient and quality repairs - a specialty he enjoyed (and still does) was to re-hair bows.

    Always wanting to return to one of his first passions, Charlie owns and operates a highly successful Orchestral String Repair & Sales business called All Four Strings: selling and repairing violins, violas, cellos, and double basses, along with their bows and accessories.

    He is a student of Lynn Armour Hannings, George Rubino, Francis Morris, Paul Wiessmeyer, Jay VandeKopple, Chuck Sazone, Mike Dadonna and Robert McIntosh and returns each summer to UNH to further his depth of understanding and techniques with repairs and restorations from the amazing teaching staff. Charlie is often invited to schools, school districts and conferences to help music educators understand how to maintain a healthy orchestral instrument and to identify when there are issues that should be addressed for repair.

    He also enjoys woodworking projects at home and has his beautiful wife Magdalena to thank for her love, understanding and constant support.

  • Robert McIntosh

    Robert McIntosh is a native of Lynn, Massachusetts, and graduated Lynn English High School in 1969. He studied architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, class of 1973, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in the Building Sciences.

    In 1977, He married Bliss White, who had built a house on her family’s farm in Cambridge, NY. They have two daughters, Annika, and Helen. In 1993, when Annika was 14, she said she wished she could play the bass.

    At the time Robert was a cabinetmaker. A friend, fiddler George Wilson, gave him a wrecked bass that was in his woodshed. His violinmaker friend, Geoffrey Ovington, offered his guidance, which carried Robert as far as setting the neck, for which he would need the advice of a bass expert. Geoffrey introduced him to John Feeney who was in town to play the Dvorak Quintet. John urged Robert to call Lou DiLeone, the master bass restorer who had worked on his own bass. This serendipitous introduction was a turning point in Robert's life. Lou DiLeone was the teacher that his 20 years as a cabinetmaker had prepared him for.

    For 25 years Robert's clients have included local high school students and the bass section of the Met. He just completed his 12th handmade bass. He received a Certificate of Merit for Tone at the 2015 ISB, a Silver Medal for Tone a the 2016 VSA, and an Honorable Mention Convention Favorite at the 2017 ISB.

10:00am - 04:00pm
Live Online (USA Eastern Time)
Charles Wolf
249.00 PDT-Workshop