recommended gouges for new guy


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Hello, this is my first post. I'm preparing to make my first violin and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on the selection of gouges (2 Cherries) I'm planning to buy for the top/back as well as the scroll. I found a very useful set of step-by-step instructions by William Bartruff here: http://www.bartruff.com/howto with a list of tools at the end. I like this source because he explains which tools he uses at each particular step. Regarding the gouges in particular, he recommends the following:

top/back channels: #8, 30mm and fishtail (doesn't mention specific fishtail though)

purfling: #3, 15mm and #7, 12mm

scroll: #3, 12mm / #4, 5mm / #7, 5mm / #7, 15mm / #8, 6mm

Any comments? I found another reference that used a sinking gouge (#7, 10mm) with a rough arching gouge (#8, 30mm)for the top.

Thank you,

Mike

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I know they are not the most popular gouges, and I have since moved on to bigger and better things, BUT, when I first started making I found that "swiss made" gouges were more then sufficient.

Not the best steel, but they are (relatively) inexpensive and easy to get. (And you'll get a lot of practice sharpening. ;) )

I made my first several violins using only 6 gouges, for everything. #3/8, #5/3, #5/20, #7/10, #8/7 and #7/20 bent.

It's nice to have a lot of tools, but more important is just jumping in and making an instrument.

And yes, you really should buy the book mentioned above. You will find it more useful at this stage then really nice, expensive gouges.

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Thank you for the replies. I should have mentioned that I did buy the three Strobel books and I plan to follow his method. I also bought and watched his how-to video, but it was specific to the cello. I'm sure most steps are easily transferable to the violin, but the tool sizes do not (I assume). Also, the violin making step-by-step book does not mention the specific tools at each step. I will look back to make sure, but I believe that's why I started my internet search. Thanks again,

Mike

Here are some posts I found helpful when deciding what goouges to buy:

Violin Making Gouges

Which Gouge to Get?

What gouges do I need for carving a scroll?

Gouges for scroll carving.

And one more vote for buying the Courtnall and Johnson book, as well as perhaps a few of the Henry Strobel books....

http://www.henrystrobel.com/

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After looking through the links suggested and further internet searching, I have compiled the following list of gouges, chisels, files that I am considering and organized them versus application. The scroll gouge set is admittedly more than I need...there is a 5-piece set that I am considering instead. Does anyone see any issues?

Thanks,

Mike

SCROLL/NECK

scroll gouges: 9-piece #6 set (6,8,10,13,16,20,23,27,31mm) - Dastra (http://www.diefenbacher.com/luthier2.htm#Dastra_9_pc._Violinmakers_Scroll_Carving_Set)

scroll chisel: 3/8" straight

pegbox chisels: 7mm, 14mm

1", 3/4" half-round Bastard file

flat file

TOP/BACK

rough arching gouge: 1-1/4" Uchimaru - http://japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=07.070.130&dept_id=12715

channel gouge: 20-deg bent spoon #8, 3/8" Takahashi - http://japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=06.108.090&dept_id=12707

channel gouge: 20-deg bent spoon #3, 5/8" Takahashi - http://japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=06.103.150&dept_id=12707

arch smoothing gouge: 3/4" fishtail Uchimaru - http://japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=07%2E130%2E418&dept_id=12713

flat and arched Ibex finger planes (8,10,12mm)

OTHER

Norton 1000, 4/8000 combo waterstones

Courtnall and Johnson book

I know they are not the most popular gouges, and I have since moved on to bigger and better things, BUT, when I first started making I found that "swiss made" gouges were more then sufficient.

Not the best steel, but they are (relatively) inexpensive and easy to get. (And you'll get a lot of practice sharpening. ;) )

I made my first several violins using only 6 gouges, for everything. #3/8, #5/3, #5/20, #7/10, #8/7 and #7/20 bent.

It's nice to have a lot of tools, but more important is just jumping in and making an instrument.

And yes, you really should buy the book mentioned above. You will find it more useful at this stage then really nice, expensive gouges.

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The three gouges that Ernie is selling on the "Luthier Exchange" look like handy sizes for arching/fluting, and are possibly all you'd need apart from a scroll eye gouge and a couple of flatter ones.

If I were you I'd buy Ernie's if they're still available and buy additional ones as and when you need them. You look like you're preparing to spend an eye-watering amount of money on gouges and I bet you'll find a lot of it will be wasted.

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Yeah, I think I was well over $1.3K without considering some other ancillary, but pricey, tools such as violin calipers and peg shapers. I don't mind spending the money, however, if I know I'll use at least most of what I buy. Of the tools I've listed, I agree the 9-piece scroll kit is overkill. The 5-piece seems much more reasonable. I looked at Ernie's gouges. Their sweep matches that of the scroll kit, and I had earlier been leaning towards 2 Cherries. However, I wasn't thrilled with the handles for scroll carving. Although I have no experience carving anything, let alone delicate scrolls, there was something very apparent as I perused through the link from David: almost everyone who showed links to or images of their scroll gouges were partial to pear-shaped or otherwise short, meaty handles. I will also look to see what Stubai has, as I have very good comments about them.

I saw some discussion about roughing gouges that was interesting. Someone...maybe Darnton...commented that they preferred a narrow (maybe spoon-shaped???) gouge to a more standard 30mm because it was difficult to push the latter through the maple. I'm hoping/assuming the 1-1/4" Japanese roughing gouge I listed will be a good choice.

Mike

The three gouges that Ernie is selling on the "Luthier Exchange" look like handy sizes for arching/fluting, and are possibly all you'd need apart from a scroll eye gouge and a couple of flatter ones.

If I were you I'd buy Ernie's if they're still available and buy additional ones as and when you need them. You look like you're preparing to spend an eye-watering amount of money on gouges and I bet you'll find a lot of it will be wasted.

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Yeah, I think I was well over $1.3K without considering some other ancillary, but pricey, tools such as violin calipers and peg shapers. I don't mind spending the money, however, if I know I'll use at least most of what I buy. Of the tools I've listed, I agree the 9-piece scroll kit is overkill. The 5-piece seems much more reasonable. I looked at Ernie's gouges. Their sweep matches that of the scroll kit, and I had earlier been leaning towards 2 Cherries. However, I wasn't thrilled with the handles for scroll carving. Although I have no experience carving anything, let alone delicate scrolls, there was something very apparent as I perused through the link from David: almost everyone who showed links to or images of their scroll gouges were partial to pear-shaped or otherwise short, meaty handles. I will also look to see what Stubai has, as I have very good comments about them.

I saw some discussion about roughing gouges that was interesting. Someone...maybe Darnton...commented that they preferred a narrow (maybe spoon-shaped???) gouge to a more standard 30mm because it was difficult to push the latter through the maple. I'm hoping/assuming the 1-1/4" Japanese roughing gouge I listed will be a good choice.

Mike

if you bought the scroll set, or ernie's set, the biggest one would make a perfectly serviceable rough arching gouge.

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For the last few years ive used a scroll set (very expensive now but alot cheaper when i bought it by Karlsson,Sweden),1 roughing gauge and a few japanese flat miniature chisels.Thats all i need for violins,violas and celli. I use the scroll gouges for all the fluting on the body ,etc...Also a few handmade knifes , 1 or 2 rasps and files. A couple of small japanese saws. Large and small plane.Fingerplanes.

Theres no need to spend a fortune,many tools you can make yourself and save a fortune.You can buy excellent cast steel gouges for a few/pounds/dollars off ebay and customise them to your own spec.s.

Finger planes are expensive but easily made very cheaply.

I find the more tools you buy the more lay around unused.

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Theres no need to spend a fortune,many tools you can make yourself and save a fortune.You can buy excellent cast steel gouges for a few/pounds/dollars off ebay and customise them to your own spec.s.

Finger planes are expensive but easily made very cheaply.

I find the more tools you buy the more lay around unused.

This is very true. I think for beginners it is easy to look through catalogues and compile a huge long list of unnecessary tools, in reality you can get away with surprisingly few to make a violin.

My first 10 or so instruments were made using only 4 gouges, these days I push the boat out and use 5 ;)

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This is very true. I think for beginners it is easy to look through catalogues and compile a huge long list of unnecessary tools, in reality you can get away with surprisingly few to make a violin.

My first 10 or so instruments were made using only 4 gouges, these days I push the boat out and use 5 ;)

I agree. Do not buy a whole slew of tools. Buy a few. Learn how to sharpen them and use them. I would be too intimidated with too many tools at one time. But of course we are all different. Some people can handle a boatload of information and manage many things at once. Not me.

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As a techi player dabbler:

I got a set of 70 odd chinese unfinished chisels-gouges.

It has been good fun learning to take a

-fresh from the blacksmith -

rough gouge, take the edge from 0.5 mm to sharp,

make a handle, clean and polish the tool.

And if I screw it up, I have many more to

play with, and the cost of the loss is smal!

The metal seems decent, tho I have not done

any serious work with them yet.

The tools supplied are mostly small, many very small,

some nice socket tools, many not, mostly very shallow

gouges, two V tools, several flat.

I am having fun!

The tape at the top is in inches.

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I got a similar set from eBay for around $100-150 US. I am in the process of putting handles on, grinding the edge, and sharpening. I don't have particularly high hopes for them, but for my skill level they should be serviceable. The sharpening experience is also well worth it.

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