In the October 2020 issue of Wood News, Bob Rummer unpacks a collection of shop-made tools from his Great Grandpa’s toolbox, and it led him to reflect on the connection between toolmaking and woodworking.
One reason we make tools is to meet the special demands of unique projects. As a luthier, Grandpa Burnham made a lot of scrapers. Hacksaw blades seldom went in the trash, they were cut up and turned into tiny knives and scrapers for particular tasks. He modified his drill press to rough out body blanks and to precisely gauge the thickness of complex curves. In his shop there were drawers full of custom clamps made from dowels and bolts (you can never have too many clamps) as well as a special jig for re-hairing bows. In many cases these were not tools you could go buy at the store. Grandpa had an intimate knowledge of the woodworking tasks involved in creating instruments. He also had a knowledge of the principles of tool design and function. His specialized tools made his work more efficient and precise.
Click here to read the rest of Bob’s article on the making your own woodworking tools.