Introduction to Violin Making Tool List

 Violin Kits are available from International Violin, Stewart MacDonald, Lark in the Morning, and others. I will be happy to help you choose a kit.  

 Product numbers listed below are from International Violin, but these and similar products are available from many vendors. You do not have to buy from them. Some items may be available for purchase during class.  

Contact me ( if you have questions. (Put UNH-VCI in the subject line, if possible.) 



pencil (preferably mechanical), and gummy or white eraser 

template material - thick plastic is good (plastic divider sheets work) 

soft chalk for chalk-fitting 


Violin cradle - not absolutely required but VERY helpful. If you don’t have a cradle, bring a carpet sample to put on your desktop and a towel or some other padding.  


Straightedge - 12-24”; a stout 12” ruler will do.  

Rulers - 15 cm (6”) and 30 cm (12”). It’s OK to have inch markings, but they must have metric as well.  

            Eventually you will want a flexible rule (Int’l T9702 or T9703). 

Metric dial caliper (plastic is best)  (Int’l T96)  

Small machinist’s square (2” to 4”) 

Compass dividers,  4”-6”  (often part of a drafting set). 

Angle ruler or sliding t-bevel  - helpful but not required.  

Neck height gauge (Int’l T72) - not necessary as you can just use 2 rulers, but it’s handy. 


Small back saw or dozuki (with about a 6”/150mm blade)The Handiwork Microsaw is a standard in the      violinmaking world, but an Xacto X75300 Razor saw will do.  

Block Plane - about 5-½ to 6-½” long.  Record, Stanley, Veritas, Lie-Nielson, Wood River, etc.  Stanley 60-½ or 9-½ are about 6-½” long; the Veritas “apron” plane is 5-½” long. Any are good but the blade MUST be sharp.  If you get a hardware store plane, consider getting a better replacement blade. 

Finger planes - helpful, not required. Come in different sizes, with 7 or 8mm, 10mm, and 12 mm blades. If you            get just one, an Ibex 30mm with rounded sole and a 10mm blade (T170) is good for our purposes. A    toothed blade (T175T) is nice to have but probably not necessary when making a kit.  

Palm (Squirrel-tail) plane - again, helpful, but not required. (T217) 


Gouge - sinking gouge (10mm x #7 sweep) or similar. Others sizes/sweeps may be useful.  

Chisels - small (6mm(¼”) or 8mm (⅜”)) and large (18 mm (¾”)). These should be for hand use; I prefer “palm” chisels with a short blade and short handle.  


Violinmaker’s knives - double bevel. Eventually you will want several. One brand is Hock brand small (¼”), med (½”), large (¾”). Int’l has them, and they also have bare blades in 3.5mm (T1001), 6 mm (T101), 9 mm (T201) and 12 mm (T301).  

HOWEVER these all need regrinding, shaping, and sharpening. Unless you already have sharp knives and are comfortable keeping them sharp, an Excel or X-acto style knife IS RECOMMENDED. (Int’l T1022). 

The “normal” X-acto blade is #11 but curved blades (#12, #25, or #22) are more useful for carving. 


Scrapers - I recommend the Carruth model (Int’l T236 or T237); as they are usable “out of the box”. Eventually you will want both cabinet and flexible scrapers, which you will have to sharpen. You will also want a burnisher eventually, but for now can borrow one. 



flat hand file, 150 or 200 mm  - Many brands are available. European files are generally grooved to the      end; American files often stop short of the end. You want them grooved to the end. Lower numbers are coarser cut. (example - Int’l T496 is a medium Swiss Made) 

bird’s tongue (also called crossing file) 150 mm or 200 mm. Either Coarse (Int’l T491) or Fine (Int’l T493).  

half round (Int’l T48 or similar) 

needle file (Int’l T4702, or a set from the hobby store) 


Clamps - you can never have too many clamps.  

Assembly clamps - if you have them, bring them. Garland clamps (T52) are good for new assembly. Herdim are best for restoration work (T530); spool clamps are a relatively inexpensive alternative. (T60) 

A top block clamp (T64) is useful.   

Klemsia-style cam clamps are also useful (small is sufficient; T58 with 20 mm opening, 110 mm depth)  

Small Quick-Grip clamps (6”) are very useful; so are lightweight c-clamps.  



soft wood for making clamping cauls 

sandpaper and/or micromesh (240-320 grit most useful) 

toothpicks and/or thin pin stock 

cheap paintbrushes for use with glue and for cleaning 

violin top protector (leather or fabric; a dishtowel works) 

you might want a spare bridge, nut, and/or saddle when it comes time for setup. 


Sharpening stones - If you have a sharpening system that works for you, use that. However, we only recommend waterstones, as oil residue can stain the wood and prevent glue from adhering. The Woodcraft “intermediate waterstone kit” has two stones, on 220/1000 grit, the other 4000/8000 grit.  If in doubt, a single 1000 or 1200 grit stone will be fine.  


Specialty tools: 

The following are not required for this class but you may need them in the future.  


FB cradle (Int’l T7245) - probably unnecessary; if the need arises, I have one.  

Purfling cutter - not necessary as kits usually have the channel routed except for the corners. If you find you do need one, you can borrow it. To do the corners, you will use a sharp knife with short, rounded blade, not a purfling cutter 

Purfling picker - do not buy one. You can make a better one from a nail, or use a tiny 1mm microchisel. 

Arching gouge (long handle, 20-30mm wide, 3-6 sweep) - you should not need this. 

Scroll gouges - you should not need these. You can clean up the scroll without the full set..  

Soundpost setter - if anyone gets that far, we have some. 

Peg reamer (Int’l T41) - probably not necessary. Can borrow if needed. 

Peg shaper (Int’l T33 or T39) - probably not necessary. Can borrow if needed.  

small drill bit for string hole in peg - can borrow.  

String lifter - (Int’l T74) - Optional. Won’t need it until setup, but it can be useful when neck-setting.