William A Mackay Interview 9 Luthiers material investment to start
For anyone starting out in Luthiery a minimalist tool kit to start with I’d suggest would have planes, bench plane and apron plane.
Knives of as many shapes and sizes as possible.
Variations should include single bevel, double bevel, straight blade and curved though you’ll find what’s relevant when you come across certain jobs.
An assortment of chisels and gouges, again it’s going to be relevant to what you work on. Rasps and files. Measuring devices, rulers, squares and possibly a straight edge.
Also thickness calipers if possible though it’s possible to construct devices that will get you by.
Clamps, you can never have enough but you can get by with a few well chosen.
Cam clamps are great in a luthiers workshop, g-clamps of various sizes always useful and if sash clamps for gluing tops, back or the like (You can build jigs for this purpose quite easily if working to a tight budget).
The guitar world in particular is full of jigs and devices, some are handy and some pure gimmick.
I personally feel many of them are clever marketing launched on the market by a perhaps one time struggling luthier but they can be useful.
These jigs and devices shouldn’t be used to make up for a lack in hand skills. It may take a while to gain control over your abilities with tools but that’s such a large part of offering a hand made instrument for sale.
If you intend spend a lifetime involved then buy as high quality a set of tools as you can and also learn to sharpen them well.
A few jobs may be better performed with a duller edge but the ones that aren’t become so much more enjoyable with a surgically sharp edge.
We invite you to consult the 2 personal pages of William A Mackay by clicking on the link below :
You can find him on Luthiers at this address for his work on Bowed String Instruments: https://luthiers.com/listing/william-a-mackay-luthiery/
And here for his work on Plucked String Instruments: https://luthiers.com/listing/william-a-mackay-luthiery-2/
In the coming weeks, as for all the others luthiers for plucked string instruments, luthiers for bowed string instruments, amps & effects makers, wood & supplies dealers, lutherie events, jobs, schools & teachers registered on our website, you will be able to follow our series of mini-interviews dedicated to the fascinating universe of luthiers.
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