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under construction 1-27-10- 52 scanned page in omnipage, starting at 1885

See also Spokeshave

selection of scrapers

Steel Scraper, a tool used for smoothing flat and curved surfaces on wood. One of the oldest tools used by man, a type of stone scraper was used in the Stone Age. Historically, prior to the invention of sandpaper, almost universal as tool for smoothing wood, the final preparation of the surface prior to sanding. Whether held by hand or in a frame, the scraper works by cutting, not -- as does sandpaper -- abrading the wood. Also known as the "Steel Scraper", this tool consists of thin rectangular piece of metal with straight or curved, whose sharpened long edge is pushed and/or pulled over the surface of wood to smooth it. Alternative versions describe below, "Cabinet Scraper" and "Scraper Plane".

steel scraper edge

Similar to good saw steel, Steel Scrapers are made of a high-grade flat steel, specially tempered. It is . In fact, old handsaw blades cut into pieces make good scrapers. Scrapers are usually rectangular. However, they may be curved for scraping curved surfaces, such as those on cove moldings

Below are examples taken from the Oxford English Dictionary designed to show how the term is used in a variety of sources. Our research below, however, shows a much earlier usage than 1909.

1909 Percy A Wells & John Hooper Modern Cabinet Work

A carefully sharpened scraper frequently permits of about twelve resharpenings in all.

1924 H. G. Phillips Cabinetmaking i. 14

A very fine shaving is taken off with the scraper, which leaves the surface ready to be glasspapered.

1970 Canadian Antiques Collector Jan. 27/2

The only satisfactory method is the use of a cabinet scraper.

1977 Reader's Digest Do-it-Yourself Skills & Techniques

Cabinet scrapers give a satin-smooth finish to hardwood. ... If a scraper becomes hot and produces dust instead of shavings during use, it needs resharpening.


Since beginning this website on woodworking history about five years ago (I'm writing at the beginning of 2010) I have acquired "woodworking heroes", that is, people who, throughout their career, have toiled in promoting woodworking. Most are teachers of woodworkers, and in this case, I have in mind Herman Hjorth. Read more about Herman Hjorth here . Below is a passage from Hjorth's wonderful manual, Forty Pieces of Fine Furniture, a book in which Hjorth first covers in 55 pages some rudimentary skills that -- if they have expectations of creating projects of which they can be proud -- woodworkers should begin to master: veneering and inlaying, simple carving, and wood finishing. It is in the chapter on wood finishing that Hjorth discusses "scrapers", and also includes several useful illustrations. In the section directly below I have adapted several paragraphs from Hjorth's book that, for me, capture an insight into the idealism that guided Hjorth through a long career in woodworking education in the first part of the 20th-century.

On Scraping

31. Scraping is not well understood by many woodworkers and especially not the sharpening of these tools. Two different kinds of scrapers are used in cabinet­work, the cabinet scraper and the hand scraper. The cabinet scraper ... does the coarsest work and should therefore he used before the hand scraper. ...

The cabinet scraper is useful when a good deal of material has to be removed, as, for example, on cross-grained wood, which cannot be perfectly smoothed with a plane. It works well on hard and semihard woods, but not on soft woods.

In most cases it is well to follow the cabinet scraper with the hand scraper, which does finer and smoother work and takes a smaller shaving. In many instances the work with the cabinet scraper may be omitted.

Source: Herman Hjorth, Forty Pieces of Fine Furniture Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1939, pages 44-45.

Steel Scrapers in History

Intentionally, we selected the following four sources -- Peter Nicholson's The Carpenter's New Guide, 1826; Charles Holtzapffel's Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, 1843; George Dodd's British Manufactures in the 1840s, 1840s; and Paul Hasluck's periodical, Amateur Mechanics , begun in 1883. All four -- each in his own way --produced classic guides to woodworking practices in the 19th century.

And all extoll the virtues of using scrapers as a means of achieving fine finishes on the surfaces of furniture.

(My colleague Stan Klonowski reminds me that violin making -- or, to be more inclusive, musical instrument making -- has for centuries employed scrapers for smoothing the fragile surfaces of the parts of wooden instruments. I did a "quick and dirty" search on google books and found a set of letters written in the 1880s, where violin makers testify to the use of scrapers inconstructing violins. Click here for the actual page on the Web .)

Below are several paragraphs from a larger article, Nicholson's obituary

At the age of twelve [the young Nicholson] assisted his father, but took a disrelish for the business, and was bound for four years to a cabinet-maker at Lintoo, after which he went to Edinburgh, and worked for a short time as a cabinet-maker. He then left for London, being in his twenty-fourth year, working at his business, and teaching with success at an evening school in Berwick-street, Soho, London, which ultimately raised him above the necessity of following his trade as a journeyman, and afforded him leisure for bis inventive faculties, which he employed in engraving with his own hand (the plates for his first publication, The Carpenter's New Guide , 1792, which contains an original method for the construction of groins and niches of complex forms, where curves of double curvature exist. This publication was followed by the Student's Instructor, The Joiner's Assistant, and The Principles of Architecture, in 1797.

Mr. Nicholson returned to Scotland in 1800, and stayed a few months at his native village, and thence went to Glasgow, where he practised as an architect until 1808.

Among his works at Glasgow are a Wooden Bridge over the Clyde?Carlton Place?Additions to the College Buildings?and the Town of Ardrossan in Ayrshire, designed for the Earl of Eglinton.

He next removed to Carlisle, where, through the recommendation of the celebrated Mr. Telford, he obtained the situation of architect to the county of Cumberland, and superintended the building of the New Court Houses.

In 1810 he returned to London, where he again commenced the labours of authorship, and produced The Architectural Dictionary, Mechanical Exercises, and The Builder and Workman's New Director, all relating to the art of building; also, The Method of Increments, Essays on the Combinatorial Analysis, Essay on Involution and Evolution, Analytical and Arithmetical Essays, and The Rudiments of Algebra, pertaining to the science of analysis.

For the Essay on Involution, he was honoured with the thanks of the Academie des Sciences at Paris. During his stay at Carlisle he obtained rewards from the Society of Arts for an improvement in Handrailing, and for the invention of an instrument named " the Centralinear," and for its further improvement, the first in April, 1814, the Gold Isis Medal; the second in May, 1814, the sum of 201.; and the third in 1815, the Silver Medal.

Read more of Nicholson's achievements here

In his 1925 An Encyclopedia of the Violin, chapter 4, "The Construction of the Violin", Alberto Bachmann provides both discussion and illustrations for violin making. Among the illustrations are several types of scrapers, all of which look like scrapers common to woodworking in general.


An obvious implication exists that "steel scrapers" are a familiar tool in the early 1800s, otherwise the author of the noted woodworker's manual by Peter Nicholson,-- Practical Carpentry, Joinery, and Cabinet-making -- directly below, would have offered more info about the steel scraper and its uses. Notice, too, the practice of the day that Nicholson follows, i.e., numbering paragraphs (On Google Books Search, we found several instances of the use of this text about steel scrapers, as early as 1815.) Also bolded below is the reference to glass-paper, an early label for sandpaper .

from peter nicholson


93. Furniture is so much indebted to the finishing processes for its effect that we have classed them together, and treat of them under Cleaning, Stopping, Staining, Common Polishing, French Polishing, and Varnishing, with some remarks on the Management of old Furniture.

Cleaning off Wood-Work, efc.

94. The finishing the surface of wood-work is sometimes called polishing; but, to avoid using the same word in two senses, we shall apply the ordinary term of cleaning off. The mode of commencing this operation depends on whether it be a veneered or a solid surface that is to be cleaned off. In solid wood the surface is rendered as even as possible; first, by a finely-set smoothing-plane, and then by a steel scraper, to remove the marks of the plane. The surface is afterwards rubbed with glass-paper, finishing with the finest kind, so as to render the surface as smooth as possible.

If the wood should not be very compact, the surface thus obtained will become spongy and rough on being moistened with oil or other matter used for polishing. This roughness is what is termed the rising of the grain. To prevent this rising of the grain, as soon as the surface of the wood has been smoothed with glass-paper as before directed, let it be uniformly wetted with a wet sponge ; and, on its being dry, rub it a second time with glass-paper till the surface has the proper degree of smoothness. Or, while it is wet, with a flat piece of fine pumice-stone rub in the direction of the grain of the wood, keeping the surface moist with water; then let the work dry. On wetting it again, the grain will be less raised, and the process of rubbing being repeated, the surface will be found more compact and smooth, and will bear a better polish.

The fineness and evenness of the pumice-stone should be particularly attended to; and in using it, rub it in the direction of its fibres. The use of dry pumice-stone in finishing is also attended with so much advantage, that we are surprised to find it so little used, particularly in the country.

95. In cleaning off veneers, after the glue has been removed from the surface, let it be toothed in a diagonal direction, and in proportion as the surface is rendered even, give the plane less hold; and, finally, use a plane with very fine teeth; then remove the tooth-marks with the scraper, and finish the surface with glass-paper, or pumice-stone and glasspaper. Veneers are scarcely ever of so soft and porous a nature as to require raising the grain.

96. When veneers are inlaid with brass, the brass should be filed level with a fine single-cut file, and next rubbed with pumice-stone; then take fine powdered tripoli, and mix it with linseed-oil, and by means of a piece of felt, or hat, rub the brass-work with it till the desired surface be produced. When the ground is of ebony, or dark rose-wood, the brass may be brought to a still better surface with very finely-powdered charcoal.

Source: Peter Nicholson, Practical carpentry, joinery, and cabinet-making; being a new and complete system of lines, for the use of workmen: founded on accurate geometrical and mechanical principles, with their application in carpentry, to roofs, domes, centring, &c.; in joinery, to stairs, hand-rails, soffits, niches, &c.; and in cabinet-making, to furniture, both plain and ornamental; fully and clearly explained. London, T. Kelly by J. Rider, 1826, page 177.

Charles Holtzapffel's most famous work, Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, intended as a work of general reference and practical instruction on the Lathe, was designed to fill five volumes but only three, published in 1843, were completed in his lifetime.

cross-section for four-sided post

The first of these treated of "materials, their different choice and preparation"; the second, "the principles of construction, action, and application of cutting tools"; the third of "abrasive and miscellaneous processes which cannot be accomplished with cutting tools". The two concluding volumes, completed by his son, set forth "the principles and practice of hand or simple turning, and those of ornamental or complex turning."

However, the scope of the woodworking tools and techniques covered in the set is mush greater than simply lathes: for example, volume II -- probably the most famous volume in the five volume set -- covers as well as lathe knives such cutting tools as chisels and planes, boring tools, saws, files, shears and punches. Volume claims over 700 black-and-white illustrations, all of remarkable qualtity.

Holtzapffel was a member of council of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and was chairman of the mechanics' committee of the Society of Arts.

He died on 11 April 1847, aged 41, leaving a widow and family.

Read more about Holtzapffel's impact here

By clicking on this link.

George Dodd's British Manufactures in the 1840s

To illustrate the successive stages taken in manufacturing a mahogany table in London in the 1840s, George Dodd captures step-by-step minute details of this operation, and thus -- for us today -- gives a rarely seen window into operations practiced by cabinetmakers as furniture making changed from a craft to an industry. A prolific writer, George Dodd wrote or edited several single or multi-volume accounts of mid-19th-century woodworking: (1) Dictionary of manufactures, mining, machinery, and the industrial arts 1869; (2) British Manufactures 1845; (3) Days at the factories: or, The manufacturing industry of Great Britain ... 1843; (4) Cyclopedia of the industry of all nations 1851.

... We have said nothing yet of polishing : our table still retains the appearance which the many processes to which it has been subjected have given to it: the veneered table is, indeed, in a very unsightly condition; scratched, rubbed, and with ragged edges; the finishing and polishing are therefore important matters. The surface of the veneer is, when quite dry, worked carefully over with a scraper, which consists of a flat square piece of steel about three inches long, with both edges very straight and smooth; these instruments are generally made out of old saw-blades. With this tool the veneer is scraped until all the scratches produced by the veneering-plane are removed from the surface, and the -whole rendered level and smooth. This smoothing is further assisted by the use of glass-paper or sand-paper, .which is well rubbed over every part of the veneer; the sand-paper is wrapped round a block of cork or of wood, bv way of handle, and different degrees of fineness are used, the coarsest first. This process, to a smaller extent, is necessary for solid mahogany; but as it has not been scratched by the veneering-plane, a less degree of smoothing will suffice.

The table is now ready for polishing, a process which has, of late years, been done in a very beautiful manner.

Source: George Dodd British Manufactures London, C. Knight and Co., 1844-51,volume 2, page 215.

The 1880s: Paul Noonan Hasluck's Woodworking Magazines Appear

To contextualize Hasluck in London's woodworking circles, think of him coming out of the same milieu as Percy Wells and Charles Hayward

In connection with Hasluck's relation to a scraper, instead of showing his scraper -- one of the tools he used to construct this surprisingly rectilinear (for 1883) "kitchen dresser" -- I chose to show the finished project. Made of soft pine, this finished kitchen dresser demonstrates the versatility of a simple tool, such as the steel scraper, a tool mentioned by Hasluck in the article.

Remember, in 1883, electrification has not yet happened -- electrification doesn't happen until about 1916 -- so that, at best, what tools amateur woodworkers -- who comprise at least part of the audience of Hasluck's periodical, Amateur Mechanics , were using were hand- and/or foot-powered circular saws, lathes, and fret-saws, plus the whole complement of hand-tools (In both of Hasluck's periodicals, Amateur Mechanics and Work: An illustrated magazine of practice and theory for all workmen ..., the latter begun in 1889, all of these tools are widely reviewed and recommended for readers to purchase and use. For more on the technology of power tools in the 19th century, read this chapter.) Thematically, perhaps, the word was Every Man His Own Mechanic or, Mrs.Beeton, The book of household management ... London, New York Ward, Lock, & co., 1888; Ward and Lock's home book: a domestic encyclopædia forming a companion volume to "Mrs. Beeton's book of household management" . London : Ward, Lock, and Co., 1882;

cross-section for four-sided post

Types of Scraper

Steel Scraper

steel scraper

Usually, you should bow the scraper by pushing your thumbs against the back as you grip the sides with your fingers. This concentrates the cutting action. Although long strokes with the blade are sometimes used, more often than not, short rapid strokes are used to concentrate on a specific area you are trying to get absolutely smooth. You can work in any direction at all. If you feel that a given direction is not working well enough, simply work at a different angle to the grain.

Click here for brief details about steel scrapers (and other hand tools) used in violin-making and other wooden musical instruments

Cabinet Scraper

cabinet scraper

Designed to be pushed or pulled in operation the Cabinet Scraper is a finishing tool that takes a cut finer than a handplane. The Cabinet Scraper has two uses:

1) on flat surfaces it can remove marks left by a plane or

2) it can prepare the surface for painting or finishing.

On cross-grained, highly-figured wood, where planes tear-out, it produces smooth cuts. The Cabinet Scraper's blade -- which sets in a beveled positon in metal frame with two handles that project laterally -- can be removed for sharpening or for replacement by loosening the adjusting screw and the clamp thumbscrew.

Before using a Cabinet Scraper, the blade is adjusted so that it is even with the bottom of the scraper. Place it on a flat wooden surface and -- by pressing it down lightly against the wood -- adjust the blade. After tightening both the clamp screw and the adjusting screw, make a test cut on scrap wood. Continue to tighten the adjusting screw between test cuts until the blade projects far enough to produce a thin shaving.

To use the Cabinet Scraper, clamp the workpiece in a vise or secure it on the top of the workbench. Hold the tool in both hands and either push or pull it over the surface of the work. As a rule, it is pushed rather than pulled (Fig. 55).

For more hints on using a spokeshave see page 12 of "The Stanley Tool Guide"

Stanley Tools, The Stanley Tool Guide

Thirty pages of black-and-white diagrams and illustrations -- with brief text -- this is a WW II guide to hand tools for Americans -- engaged in the war effort on the home front -- who want an interesting and rewarding hobby while the combat in Europe and the Pacific takes its course.

Scraper Plane

label for source code

With a sole area 6-1/4-in long by 3-3/8-in wide, the scraper plane has two handles which project laterally of the frame. Rather than being pulled the Scraping Plane is pushed. The frog pivots, allowing the user to set the angle from 15-degrees to 90-degrees. Most have 2-in plus cutter. An adjusting nut allows setting the depth and angle of the blade.

Miscellaneous Scrapers

adjustable scraper, 1st view

adjustable scraper, 2d view


Below, the images on the left, are vintage, from Building Age, Fruary, 1980, page 44. In the text, below, is a section from Cunningham and Holtrop, Woodshop Tool Maintenance, 1974; also intend to add Paul Noonan Hasluck's 1903 account, and Herman Hjorth's account in his Forty Pieces of Fine Furniture, 1939, 44-48 all scanned, under "scrapers"

The Scraper's Burnisher

cross-section for four-sided post

A scraper burnisher is a tool for turning the cutting edges of a scraper. Use it for no other purpose. The blade, either oval or round, is made of fine tool steel mounted in a handle. It has an exceptionally smooth surface and is tempered very hard. The tool will give years of service and still maintain a smooth surface, if proper­ly used. When a burnisher is not available, the hardened end of a nail set or punch can be used satisfactorily, if the surface is properly polished. Al­though not finished to the same de­gree of smoothness as a burnisher, it is hard and smooth enough to serve the purpose. The disadvantage of us­ing either a punch or nail set in place of a burnisher is the shortness of the portion used as the blade and the smallness of the diameter.

Source: Beryl M Cunningham and William F Holtrop, Woodshop Tool Maintenance Peoria, IL: Charles A. Bennett, 1956, pages 69-72

how to sharpen a steel scraper

Hone the scraper with the side flat on the oilstone.

The edge of the scraper may be formed at right angles to the sides so as to make two cutting edges, or it may be beveled to form one sturdy cutting edge which can be turned sufficiently to make heavy cuts. In the latter case, it is usually filed at a 85-degree angle with the sides. The edge is made straight, with the corners rounding slightly to prevent their digging into the wood.

The sides of the scraper must he kept smooth and free from scratches. Side scratches extending to the cut­ting edge form a series of nicks which leave ridges on the scraped surface. For this reason the sides of the scraper are never filed, not even to remove the old turned edge during the sharp­ening process.

Burnishing is done by holding the handle of the burnisher with either one or two hands and firmly pulling the blade across the edge of the scrap­er with a slicing motion, using prac­tically the full length of the blade. When this motion is used, the blade will not become nicked or grooved, but will remain smooth. Never hold the handle of the burnisher in one hand and the point of the blade in the other and saw back and forth on the edge of the scraper. Such abuse will soon cut grooves and nicks in the blade so that the edges of the scraper cannot be properly turned, Although the blade may be refinished by grinding, stoning, and polishing, it is difficult to equal the original glass-smooth, hard surface.

A drop or two of lubricating oil on the burnisher will help keep both the surface of the burnisher and the edge of the scraper smooth.

The cutting action and process are the same whether the scraper is ma­nipulated by hand or in a variety of holders. When properly sharpened, it will cut a continuous shaving similar to that of the plane. When it begins to remove the wood in the form of dust instead of shavings, it is dull.

To sharpen a wood scraper

1. To remove the old cutting edge, hone the scraper with the side placed flat on a fine oilstone (Fig. 5-2) . Perform the operation on both sides of the scraper if the edge is filed at right angles to the sides. Do not file the sides of the scraper because filing scratches the surface and causes breaks in the cutting edge.

2. Place the scraper in a vise, prefer­ably a machinist's vise, with the edge to be sharpened projecting approximately 1/2" above the jaws. Be careful not to damage the sides.

3. With a mill bastard file, cross-file the edge straight and perpendicular to the sides, rounding the corners slightly.

4. Drawfile the edge smooth. Keep the surface flat to turn a good cutting edge (Fig. 5-3).

5. On a fine oilstone, whet the edge and sides of the scraper, using long, steady strokes until the edge is smooth and the wire edge has been removed. When whetting the edge, grasp the scraper firmly with both hands, being careful to keep the sides perpendicular to the top surface of the stone (Fig. 5-4) . Next whet the sides. Be sure to keep the sides of the scraper flat on the oilstone when they are being whetted (Fig. 5-2) .

6. With the scraper lying on the bench close to the edge, burnish each flat side, keeping the bur­nisher flat on the side of the scraper so as to draw the cutting edge slightly (Fig. 5-5) . This step is often omitted, but should be done carefully to obtain a bet­ter cutting edge. Put a drop of oil on the burnisher.

7. Place the scraper in the vise with tile whetted edge projecting ap­proximately 1 inch.

8. Put a drop or two of oil on the burnisher. Then place the burnisher flat on the edge of the scraper and firmly stroke the surface, each time lowering the handle slightly until the burnisher makes an angle of 85° with the side of the scraper (Fig. 5-6) . To keep the surface smooth, hold the bur­nisher firmly by the handle and make slicing strokes, using a large portion of the length of the blade. If the edge is beveled, start bur­nishing at a slightly less angle than that of the bevel and gradually drop the hand of the burnish­er until an angle of approximately 85° is formed by the burnisher and the scraper side (Fig. 5-7) .

For more hints on using a spokeshave see page 13 of "The Stanley Tool Guide"

Stanley Tools, The Stanley Tool Guide

Thirty pages of black-and-white diagrams and illustrations -- with brief text -- this is a WW II guide to hand tools for Americans -- engaged in the war effort on the home front -- who want an interesting and rewarding hobby while the combat in Europe and the Pacific takes its course.

The Scraper in Making Wooden Musical Instruments:--

Notes on Hand Tools Used in Violin-Making (and Other Wooden Musical Instruments)

violin anatom

The Saturday Magazine 1838, page 199

The reader is of course aware of the construction of the modern Violin. A curious and somewhat fantastically shaped box, with a handle springing from one end, is the first object that strikes our attention. Four strings are tightly stretched by attachments at each end, which strings rest upon a bridge placed near their upper terminations. The strings are vibrated by means of a bow, which vibrations are communicated along the bridge to the upper table of the instrument, then to the mass of air within the box, and again to the lower table by means of a sounding post, the ends of which touch both tables. This post is called by the French, l'ame du Violon, or, the soul of the Violin. The vibrations of the enclosed air are further assisted by a bar of wood enclosed within the box, and passing in the direction of its length, called the bar of harmony. Two apertures are made in the upper table of the instrument, of the form of an italian S, whereby the vibrations are more freely communicated to the enclosed air. The bridge is curved, in order to allow the bow to touch either of the middle strings separately, and a hollow on each side of the case, externally, allows a freer motion to the bow while playing upon the two other strings.

Source: Anonymous, "The Violin, No. II: On the Construction of the Violin", 1838, page 199

violin cross section anatoyt

In violin-making is demonstrated perhaps the highest phase of the art of the wood-worker. In no other branch of wood-working -- at least in no other branch known to the writer -- is the art brought to such perfection as in violinmaking. It takes a long time to complete the construction of a violin which will satisfy the tastes of the violin-maker and the violinist and perhaps no other branch of musical instrument making has so many admirers and competent critics.

Like wine, the value of the violin is not deteriorated but is improved by age -- that is to say in a great many instances -- and its tone becomes more mellow, broader and sweeter. There are greater varieties of tone quality produced by different violins of generally accepted excellence.

Each violin-maker as well as violinist has his peculiar tastes as to tone quality, though all agree more or less on a general standard of tone quality. The manner or style of the curves of a violin has much to do with the tone quality and by the violin expert the lines of a Stradivarius, Amati, or Guarnerius, are not easily mistaken, as a general rule. The outlines of an artistically constructed violin, as well as the convex curves of the belly, are of beautiful symmetry.

As we have already intimated, the modicum of perfection reached in violin construction is commensurate with the amount of genius bestowed upon its construction by the maker, who must labour long and patiently to attain the ideal which he mentally has before him. Violin-making is as delicate and rare an art as violin playing, and requires a high order of tone-appreciation on the part of both violin-maker and violinist.

It is not to be wondered at, that high-class violins command a high price among violinists and violin collectors. Almost every violinist is more or less a violin collector, but some men of wealth and leisure are specially fond of violin collecting, though, as musicians, they may be little more than amateurs. The age and maker of a violin, as well as its intrinsic tone-quality, have much to do with the price it brings. Sometimes a violin of comparatively inferior make turns out to be of excellent tone-quality by some accident in the construction of the instrument or else in the quality of the wood. But an exception like the foregoing only goes to prove the rule that violin-making, like Popí's "ease in writing", comes by art and not chance. The violin, if constructed and finished on the best principles of the art of violin-making, lasts for years, and is treasured up by its possessor as "a pearl without price", not to be parted with for any money whatever.

Source: The Violin times; a journal for professional and amateur violinists and quartet players. London: volume 1, 1894, page 170.

Sources: Jacob August Otto, A treatise on the structure and preservation of the violin and all other bow-instruments; together with an account of the most celebrated makers ... London, R. Cocks and Co., 1848; W. W. Oakes A Review of Ancient and Modern Violin Making - Music - 2009 - 126 pages Edward Heron-Allen, Violin-making: as it was and is: being a historical, theoretical, and ... - 1885 or 2005; Georg Gemünder, Georg Gemünder's progress in violin making: with interesting facts ... 1881; Walter Henry Mayson, Stansfield Mayson, Violin making: a practical guide,1909; Chris Johnson, Roy Courtnall, The art of violin making? 1999

hand tools used for wooden musical instrument making

The image containing the hand tools for making violins comes from Chapter IV of Alberto Bachmann's 1925 classic, The Encyclopedia of the Violin. Chapter IV and several other chapters are readable on line here.

notes from darin lawrence 2-2-10

don teeter guitar repair

Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans

Guild of American Luthiers

Stewart MacDonald Luthiers

Stewart-Macdonald's Guitar Shop Supply: P.O. Box 900, Athens, Ohio, 45701. Music instrument supplies, books, tools, parts. Web: Ph: 800-848-2273 (Toll Free), 740-592-3021.

Luthiers Mercantile: -- information-based catalog

CONSTRUCTION OF THE [Rebec a violin-like instrument that precedes the violin]

As mentioned above, generally the musicians themselves made their own instruments, and thus the number of forms and shapes is about as much as number of individual players. Some texts however did comment on the construction, materials and exact form of the instrument so that a few details can be known.

The main body of the instrument was carved out of a single block of wood. The body, neck, and (earlier on) the pegbox were all fashioned out of a single piece, though when the shape of the pegbox changed to the bent scroll, that was "attached," made from a different piece. The body was hollowed out until it had thin walls, and then a soundboard was affixed over the top to create a resonating chamber. Soundholes were cut through the soundboard, and then the pegs, tail, and, if present, fingerboard and bridge were added onto the instrument. Meister Konrad von Megenberg refers to the construction as always consisting of two parts, the "pauch" and the "poden", or the body and the soundboard. The whole of the body and neck, the pauch, was carved of a single piece of wood to which the soundboard, or poden, was attached. This indicates that the neck and sides were not separate pieces (this was true even of the vielles of the time).


Sources: Alberto Bachmann, An Ecyclopedia of the Violin New York: Appleton, 1925; Herman Hjorth, Forty Pieces of Fine Furniture Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1939; Beryl M Cunningham and William F Holtrop, Woodshop Tool Maintenance Peoria, IL: Charles A. Bennett, 1956; Jim Tolpin, Working Wood: A Complete Bench-Top Reference Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 1997, page 36