Even if you already have a shop set up, you’ll need some specific tools to get started in the art of making stringed instruments: lutherie. Here are five of the most important luthier tools to get you started:
In lutherie, this jig attached to a workbench is most useful for jointing (for example, creating and gluing the joints for the soundboard and backboard). There are many different sizes and ways of building these using plywood or MDF. Check out some YouTube videos to help you decide what is most appropriate for your needs.
Japanese Fret Saw:
Even though it’s called a fret saw, this tool has multiple uses in lutherie: crafting the dovetail joints on instrument necks, cutting channels for butt strips, and, naturally, making the fret slots. StewMac sells an affordable model that matches the tang of their fret wire.
You need to keep your project still, but heavy clamps could damage it. Keeping a set of around 24 spool clamps on hand will keep you covered. They are available to purchase online for around $7-10/clamp, or you can easily make them yourself.
This is used to shape the sides of an instrument by heating up a pipe via flame or electricity and using the steam produced to bend the wood. Purchasing side benders can be expensive, but you can also make you own.
A coping saw is an affordable (starting at around $15 for a Stanley Fat Max) way to cut curves. It is able to do the jobs of a band saw, scroll saw, and jig saw combined. Obviously, if you have these tools, use them, but this is a great way to get started without a huge investment.
Patience. This is free, but can be obtained more easily with regular breaks, long walks, and remembering that mistakes are opportunities to learn.
You can learn more about the above tools by watching my YouTube video: 5 Tools You Should Have to Get Started in Lutherie.