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Navyasw02

Getting started- sticker shock!

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I'm putting together my list of things to buy to get set up to make a violin at home and having sticker shock before buying a single tool. Between the bending iron, mold and templates, various calipers, cradle, glue pot, and other odds and ends I'm pushing nearly $1000 already. I found some alternatives for the glue pot, but anyone have feedback on the quality of these items from Chinese dealers on eBay? Some are a lot cheaper. I don't want to skimp on the tools, but looking for some savings where I can.

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Good stuff costs money, this is just a fact of life.

You could buy cheap things on eBay, some may work ok, others not.

Look on the luthier exchange forum from time to time. It's where people often sell off their unwanted/spare tools.

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Ooh, wait till you start buying wood,. and books! 
You could make your own mold, templates and cradle if you wanted. 
I use a hair wax warmer like this for glue.. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pro-Hot-Wax-Warmer-Heater-Pot-Machine-Kit-Salon-Spa-Body-Hair-Removal-Depilatory/333604330882?hash=item4dac5e1d82:g:yCYAAOSwUAVeq0Uv
It works perfectly fine and there are cheaper options as well. 
The chinese bending irons on ebay work fine for $100 or so. 
You only really need one decent thickness caliper. 
Old Stanley planes can be had for cheap if you don't mind fixing them up. 
In general though, don't skimp on the hand tools. Get the best quality knives, gouges, finger planes, rasps, files you can. 

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I've already spent about 500+ on books to get started. Bought a workbench that I'll put together soon and now I'm pricing out the basics.

 

I did find the wax pot after some googling, I'll give that a try. Everything else I'll just bite the bullet and buy instead of skimping. Definitely wouldn't skimp on knives, gouges, etc, but all the other "stuff" was starting to add up before I got that far!

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What about buying a kit as a jump start to see if you really want to go there. There is also a Facebook group for used tools.

OOPS!

 

 

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Tools are expensive -- no doubt about it.  You can save money by improvising on some things:

For a bending iron a lot of people heat a piece of metal pipe with a propane torch.  I once made a fire in my wood stove and bent guitar sides on the stove pipe.

You should be able to carve a cradle out of basswood or pine.  You will need the carving practice.

For 25 years my glue pot has been a shot glass in a sauce pan of water heated on a hot plate.

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" In general though, don't skimp on the hand tools. Get the best quality knives, gouges, finger planes, rasps, files you can. "

Ditto on that! Also sharpening skills are really important!

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4 hours ago, FiddleDoug said:

What about buying a kit as a jump start to see if you really wank to go there. There is also a Facebook group for used tools.

 

Which kit? I am in the UK, what do you suggest? 

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I'd suggest that you start by making a scroll/neck. You can probably get the tools /materials needed for this for less than £100, and it'll give you an idea whether you enjoy the process enough to invest further. If it doesn't work out you can aways stick it on your mantelpiece as an ornament. :D

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If you want to follow JohnCockburn's advice, there is a great video on Youtube by Manfio showing step by step how to make a scroll.

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Boy oh'boy just wait until you've been doing it long enough to find out no one wants to buy one for the amount of time you've put into it

if you do get into it, I suggest ALWAYS keeping the romantic fantasy alive and NEVER think of it as something that "I might be able to make money at" just think of it as a good clean hobby that will keep you out of trouble and give you something to think about.

There are only 3 money making job positions out of 6 billion people a year that come up, so you know,odds are slim.

I'm just kidding about the "3"people" ....it's more like 30

If you are not in a rush,I suggest trolling around violin forums and putting it out there that you are looking for tools, lots of people stop doing it and sell off stuff all the time

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I've got close to $600 in my first violin and still need varnish and strings.  I used one-piece front and back so I didn't need a plane.  I made my own form, calipers, bending iron, and purfling cutter.  I purchased 2 pfeil gouges, 3 Chinese finger planes, scrapers, various sharpeners, a couple books and wood of course.  It would be very difficult to do it much cheaper.

That said, buying nicer tools would have made it much easier and faster.  A wise man once told me, "Without the right tools, it's just work."

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Tools do add up in cost, but think of it this way: a lot of those tools are built to last a lifetime. If you do decide that you want to do more making, the tools will carry you a long way. Good tools cost more because they’re of better quality and materials, and that has an immediate payoff as you work. 
 

You can (theoretically) save money by making some tools yourself, but that involves investing a lot of time before you can get to work on making. 

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15 hours ago, Navyasw02 said:

I'm putting together my list of things to buy to get set up to make a violin at home and having sticker shock before buying a single tool. Between the bending iron, mold and templates, various calipers, cradle, glue pot, and other odds and ends I'm pushing nearly $1000 already. I found some alternatives for the glue pot, but anyone have feedback on the quality of these items from Chinese dealers on eBay? Some are a lot cheaper. I don't want to skimp on the tools, but looking for some savings where I can.

Avoid Chinese woodcarving tools, but Japanese hand-forged used chisels and gouges (bought direct from Japanese sellers) can be real bargains.  So are vintage Stanley planes, especially if you put Japanese replacement blades in them, which brings us back to learning how to sharpen your tools, and getting decent sharpening stones, before you splurge on anything else.

Being in the repair and set-up business, I find that my most used tools (after my whetstones) are sound post measuring, setting and retrieving tools, good small specialized knives for bridge carving (scalpels will do), peg hole reamers, a peg shaver. an old ceramic coffee cup that I melt glue in, glass syringes for putting hot glue where I want it, a couple of very sharp small chisels for shaping cleats, and lots of home-made clamps based on bolts, washers, and wing nuts. :)

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1 hour ago, Violadamore said:

Avoid Chinese woodcarving tools, but Japanese hand-forged used chisels and gouges (bought direct from Japanese sellers) can be real bargains.  So are vintage Stanley planes, especially if you put Japanese replacement blades in them, which brings us back to learning how to sharpen your tools, and getting decent sharpening stones, before you splurge on anything else.

Being in the repair and set-up business, I find that my most used tools (after my whetstones) are sound post measuring, setting and retrieving tools, good small specialized knives for bridge carving (scalpels will do), peg hole reamers, a peg shaver. an old ceramic coffee cup that I melt glue in, glass syringes for putting hot glue where I want it, a couple of very sharp small chisels for shaping cleats, and lots of home-made clamps based on bolts, washers, and wing nuts. :)

Yup, Avoid the Chinese woodcarving tools.

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2 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Avoid Chinese woodcarving tools, but Japanese hand-forged used chisels and gouges (bought direct from Japanese sellers) can be real bargains.  So are vintage Stanley planes, especially if you put Japanese replacement blades in them, which brings us back to learning how to sharpen your tools, and getting decent sharpening stones, before you splurge on anything else.

Being in the repair and set-up business, I find that my most used tools (after my whetstones) are sound post measuring, setting and retrieving tools, good small specialized knives for bridge carving (scalpels will do), peg hole reamers, a peg shaver. an old ceramic coffee cup that I melt glue in, glass syringes for putting hot glue where I want it, a couple of very sharp small chisels for shaping cleats, and lots of home-made clamps based on bolts, washers, and wing nuts. :)

Any Japanese brand in particular you recommend? I live in Japan so I'll see what I can find locally. I was doing most of my shopping via us sites so far.

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5 minutes ago, Navyasw02 said:

Any Japanese brand in particular you recommend? I live in Japan so I'll see what I can find locally. I was doing most of my shopping via us sites so far.

PM in progress.  :)

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40 minutes ago, Navyasw02 said:

Any Japanese brand in particular you recommend? I live in Japan so I'll see what I can find locally. I was doing most of my shopping via us sites so far.

How much money do you have lol ;)

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42 minutes ago, Navyasw02 said:

Any Japanese brand in particular you recommend? I live in Japan so I'll see what I can find locally. I was doing most of my shopping via us sites so far.

Tasai high dollar

Koyamaichi good midrange. I have several of his blue-steel and it’s good. Not as good as Tasai but cost way less too

several other makers are just as good. Talk to Tomohito-San, and he will show you good stuff. 
japantool-iida.com. 
 

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On the other extreme here is a flute (frula) maker doing his craft with a minimum investment in tools.  He also has a young helper.  He uses a homemade hand driven lathe.

 

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2 hours ago, Navyasw02 said:

Any Japanese brand in particular you recommend? I live in Japan so I'll see what I can find locally. I was doing most of my shopping via us sites so far.

Go to Miki City. Blacksmiths everywhere, tool manufacturers on every corner.

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On 5/26/2020 at 4:53 AM, catnip said:

On the other extreme here is a flute (frula) maker doing his craft with a minimum investment in tools.  He also has a young helper.  He uses a homemade hand driven lathe.

 

This is what means pravi Majstor - Master of craft. With few tools to have the best result. This is what old masters was able to do and what distincts the capable craftsman from the modern CNCed mechanic. The more with less is the rule for the maker with abilities. Or it may be a kind of talent. 

I had also to Iearn the hard way that cheap tools are never cheap. You pay them double when you find that are useless and you have done a bad job. 

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On 5/25/2020 at 8:56 AM, Brad Dorsey said:

Tools are expensive -- no doubt about it.  You can save money by improvising on some things:

For a bending iron a lot of people heat a piece of metal pipe with a propane torch.  I once made a fire in my wood stove and bent guitar sides on the stove pipe.

You should be able to carve a cradle out of basswood or pine.  You will need the carving practice.

For 25 years my glue pot has been a shot glass in a sauce pan of water heated on a hot plate.

If you use a propane torch and a pipe, use an iron pipe not a copper one.  Copper gets way to hot too fast.   

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