An Updated Tools List: Page 1


I've had lots of people email me, either because they can't easily locate just where on my site (it is quite a large site!) they saw a description of a particular tool or jig, or because they want to know more details about the tools or jigs I mention on the site. So, I thought it might be a good idea to update my list of tools, so they're all in one place!!!

These are the most-used tools and jigs I've come to accumulate over the years of my amateur lutherie hobby. When I started, I had barely anything. As I experienced a need for a particular tool, I added to my collection. Now, you don't really need all of these tools to build instruments — but they sure do make certain tasks easier!!!

Most of these tools are available at any hardware or woodworking store; the ones I've marked with an * are specialty lutherie tools and are usually available only from places like Stew-Mac, LMI, or such places. (By the way, "SM" means "Stewart Macdonald".)



Delta 14" bandsaw
Porter-Cable router
For routing truss rod slots, template-routing
Delta 4”/6” belt/disc sander
Pedestal buffer
1100 rpm, $99 from Caswell Plating (stand extra)!!!
Performax 10-20 thickness sander
I love this tool!!! Makes thicknessing tops, backs, anything extremely easy!!!
Craftsman benchtop jointer
My newest tool — it made squaring up a 3" by 4" neck blank very easy.
Delta 12” drill press
Drilling tuner holes, inlay dot cavities, etc. Also used with the "Luthier's Friend" for thickness sanding small parts or template-sanding small parts.
Delta miter saw
Delta 1”/4” belt/disc sander
Delta 8” drill press
My old drill press
Dewalt 10” benchtop table saw
Campbell-Hausfeld 4-gallon pancake compressor
Used to run my HVLP spray gun
Campbell-Hausfeld HVLP conversion spray gun
For use with waterbase lacquers
Dremel Moto-tool
For inlaying, soundhole/purfling rings, saddle-slotting
* Electric bending iron
For hand-bending sides, binding
Tormek sharpening station
I'm no good at other methods of sharpening chisels, etc. This makes it easy.


* SM 24” precision straightedge
* SM notched fingerboard rule
For checking fretted fingerboard straightness
* SM string action gauge
For checking string height above fret
Dial caliper
Measures both in 1/64” and .01” increments
* SM string spacing rule
Equal spacing between strings for various nut widths
Incra rule
Invaluable for precise fingerboard slotting measurements!!!
6” rule
Inches (down to 1/64” & .01”) and metric (down to 0.5mm)
Center-finding rule
Machinist’s squares
4” & 6” sizes
Combination squares
Bevel gauge
French curve
Profile gauge
Great for checking neck profiles!!!
InchMate Pro calculator
Very handy for converting metric to inches (and vice-versa)!!
Scribing pen
Marking gauge
Thickness Gauge


Guitar-holding vise
From an article in the GAL Lutherie Tools book
Cam clamps
I have 8 large and 8 small ones.
4” C-clamps
Just right for gluing on the bridge
Jorgensen clamps
I have 8 regular-size ones and a couple of long ones.
Spring clamps
Both the metal and plastic ones (1”, 2”, and 3” ones)
Stationery clips
Small ones --- great for clamping kerfed linings
With a rubber band for increased pressure, also good for clamping kerfing

Swivels 360° and tightens as you close the jaws. The original red Versa-Vise is no longer available, but several places now sell a similar vise — the Shop Fox "Parrot Vise".


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