Christophe Mineau

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Thickness Punch

Thickness Punch

2-Minute Read

Thickness Punch

Thickness Punch

Here is a tool not so common, originally designed for instrument making, but that can also be used for any kind of precise woodworking.

This tool goes back to the golden age of violin making in Cremona, and could be found in Stradivari’s shop. It is very accurate, far better than the common way used nowadays which is to use the drill press …

It is a punch with a hardened steel point, that is intended to be used after roughing out, to mark the wood to the desired thickness, in order to guide the planing and scraping to final thickness.
When the marks disappear, you are at the good thickness.

My version has some personal touches :

Some brass and ebony turned knobs.

A flat “anvil” base for flat pieces, like this violin side (must be calibrated to 1.1 mm)

and also a rounded one for curved surfaces like violin plates. You just need to remove the flat cap.

On the handle side, I have added a couple of steel stops, with a rounded face, it gives a clear “clap” when you reach the desired depth, and you don’t have it if the wood is too thick.

This knob is a lock nut that stops the needle in position. The brass part goes through the ebony and is tapped. It is pinned in the wood.

The thickness gauge is used to setup the depth of the needle. (see this article)

An example of the marks it leaves on the wood.

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Older readers comments

Hello from Bob
By Bob    On 2014-11-07T07:41:00+01:00
Another lovely tool! I love classic perfection done well. I thank you, mine is rough wood, so I am examining designs like yours with great interest! Bob _________________________ Hi Bob, Thanks for the message, it's very kind of you. I will recommend also to all my visitors your wonderful site, very resourceful for authentic, hand woodworking, always inspired by the traditional woodworking knowledge. I will add your link in my Links section. Looking forward to read you. Christophe

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