all gouges

Over at the Maestronet forum I posted this photo of the collection of gouges I use, and I’m going to repost here what I wrote there.

It’s easy to want to buy everything, but then you have to keep it all sharp. Here’s the list of what I regularly use:

From the left:
30mm #7 for roughing, inside and out. The total length is 355mm
25mm #3 for finishing, inside and out.
19mm #7 for the edge around the c-bouts. Sometimes I use one of the scroll gouges.
21mm flat: a HSS knife blank with fingernail sharpening for where I need something almost flat
12mm #5 for as much of the head as I can manage
10mm #6 for when the previous is too flat
8mm #7 likewise
5mm #8? likewise
6mm incannel drill, probably #9 or so, for hogging out inside the pegbox

If you look at Cremonese scrolls you’ll see that they only used a couple of gouges to do the whole job, so that’s what I do too. They are all sharpened to fingernail profile. On the knife blank that lets me use it bevel up for flat paring (sides of pegbox) and flipped it acts as a very flat gouge (for part of the first turn above the pegbox, and the transition between the two).

The last one is sold as a violin tool. As with many violin tools, it doesn’t work very well (the outside isn’t really round and the walls are too thick to bore easily} and I probably should buy a 6mm #9 and sharpen it in-cannel.

I wasn’t thinking about chisels when I shot this photo, but my chisel set is relatively simple: a 1″ that I use only for fitting cello necks, a 1/2″ for most other work, and a 1/4″ that I use in tight spots, rarely. All of these are quite long, not stubby hardware-store chisels. I also have a very narrow hook/chisel that’s about 1mm wide, for clearing out purfling grooves.

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