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My Education in Hand and Power Tool Use: I built my first violin entirely with hand tools. As an impatient twenty-year-old who barely understood the use of fine hand tools and knew nothing of power tools. I felt that power tools would help me work better and faster. My fellow apprentices felt the same, so we learned to use both hand and power tools.
We carefully rebuilt and tuned up power tools. Much to our disgust, in every case but that of the band saw, even carefully tuned power tools didn't allow the precise, fluid, creative work of well-tuned hand tools.

A band saw works better and faster for me than a bow saw, but I still occasionally use my bow saw. I find most other power tools noisy, dusty, dead weight for anything other than building forms, jigs, and fixtures.

I find pleasure in using hand tools, except those few cases where I do finer work with power tools. In the future, I may explore CNC milling and laser cutting, but I now enjoy the open-ended creativity afforded by simple, high-quality hand tools.

Violins: The finest ancient violins are expressions of sophisticated sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century technologies. They were created entirely with hand tools. I create my violins, violas, and cellos using similar techniques.

Mandolins: Carved-plate mandolins are expressions of the industrial revolution. Some of its parts (most notably the truss rod areas of the neck) are best created with power tools. I create most of a mandolin using hand tools.

Use the menus, Violin Images and Mandolin Images, at the top of this page to view photo essays of my current building techniques.

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
     
Go to my home page. Discover the violin family instruments I build. Discover the mandolin family instruments I build. Read a short description of my background. Read a description of my guiding philosophy. Discover how to buy one of my instruments. Read published articles I've written. Find my contact information. Go to a page containing links to others' web sites. Find both my Copyright and my Web Page technical contact information.