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Mystery tool


Janito
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I have seen this implement associated with a purfling pick, but I have no idea how it is used.

Can someone please explain how to employ this device.

Is it something all fashionable luthiers should have?

My guess would be it's used to widen the purfling grrove slightly by compressing the wood of the side walls. When the purfling is inserted and the moisture from the glue hits it the walls expand tight against the purfling making for a tighter fit.
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My guess would be it's used to widen the purfling grrove slightly by compressing the wood of the side walls.

That's what I thought, but if it is inserted vertically into the groove, the diamond-shaped 'head' is too long (24mm) and cannot negotiate the curves to the C bout corners.

I have never seen it illustrated in any book showing violin-making tools.

ps - If Bill Yacey's explanation is its intended use, then the diamond shape can be ground shorter to help with manoeuvrability round corners.

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I think the toolmaker's shipping department accidentally learned to associate this carpet making tool with a purfling pick when an ebay seller of carpet- and violin-making tools ordered both at the same time. (The stock-picker got fired for drinking on the job and the box-packager, now promoted, hadn't always read the pick tickets, you see...) They have since been shipping them together and the managers haven't paid enough attention to realize the problem.

Retailers pass on the package without understanding the second tool simply because that's how it came and they don't understand violin makers anyway so they're not surprised to find they are selling something incomprehensible. See? Simple. :)

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This is called "Caterpillar file"

post-5067-1248112171_thumb.jpg

and this is called "ants file"

post-5067-1248112213_thumb.jpg

Both tools are used by Chinese furniture makers in their crafts. The Caterpillar file is basically made of a few steel scrapers all slided into the slots of its handle. very useful in making straight cuts with hard woods eg, red-wood sticks, and violin fingerboard. The "ants file" is also very similar to the caterpillar file but it's all done in one piece of metal. You can modify you old files into that and use the tool shown in this tread to burnish its teeth.

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It is also small enough to carry to a cocktail party, and it offers the opportunity for the use of the following ice-breaker:

"Hi, would you like to see my strangely-shaped tool?"

Guffaw!

Oddly enough, I've used that exact same line before, thinking to capitalize on the other persons inquisitive nature - and much to my dismay, it never did produce the desired effect...

Go figure!

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