From the Workshop

December 22, 2009

Purfling cutter photo gallery

Filed under: Specials — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:01 am

A purfling cutter that I designed myself many years ago.  It is in stainless steel and gunmetal with rosewood handle.  Note the handle rotates and can be locked by twisting.

Looking back I offered this tool at a ridulously low price and got little interest at the time.  Now I am NOT interested in making it again.


purfling cutter 3


purfling cutter 2


purfling cutter


  1. Fascinating,I was wondering if you had made any other tools…
    I would also be interested in seeing the furniture that you started out making?

    Comment by Adrian Baird Ba Than — December 22, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

  2. Go on, I’ll bite. What does it do?

    Comment by Tom (wizer) — December 22, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  3. Hi Black

    Didn’t have digital cameras in my furniture making days so no library of pictures. If I remember right you had to have a massive camera on a tripod and put your head under a shroud. The furniture I liked making was campaign furniture. I do have a coffee table in the military style (I know they didn’t have coffee tables!) but it is buried under a steam loco.


    Comment by admin — December 23, 2009 @ 8:47 am

  4. Hi

    Purfling is “a narrow binding inlaid into the edges of the top and often bottom plates of stringed instruments. Purfling serves to reinforce the plates and prevent cracking along their edges”. This tool cuts the groove for the purfling.


    Comment by admin — December 23, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  5. Thanks Karl.

    Comment by Tom (wizer) — December 23, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

  6. Karl,

    I don’t know if you remember, but I emailed you about your purfling cutter a few years ago. You made one for Zachary Taylor and he showed it off in a book he wrote on box making; I wanted to know if you were still making them.

    I think you said back then even that it wasn’t something you would probably ever make again.

    Still looks like a beautiful piece of work.



    Comment by Ethan Sincox — December 24, 2009 @ 2:51 am

  7. Hi Ethan

    Yes this is the purfling cutter I made for Zachary Taylor. There doesn’t seem to be a market for high end tools amongst the luthiers, so it is not economically viable and I have to try and make a living!


    Comment by admin — December 24, 2009 @ 9:52 am

  8. I found your resource via Google on Thursday while searching for taylor made and your post regarding Purfling cutter photo gallery « From the Workshop looked very interesting to me. I just wanted to write to say that you have a great site and a wonderful resource for all to share.

    Comment by Taylor Made — January 21, 2010 @ 7:30 am

  9. Thank you for your nice comments.


    Comment by admin — January 28, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  10. It is such a shame that your experiences trying to make tools for luthiers was not great, I’m just starting out and looking for good quality tools. It seems to me that a good modern approach to a purfling cutter is desirable, like this one, and also an elegantly designed rosette cutter, with the ability for fine adjustments.

    Love your planes, truly creations of beauty.

    Best wishes,


    Comment by Chris — October 15, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  11. Hi Chris

    There may be some news in the near future on the purfling cutter but it is a little bit too early for me to give any details.

    I have been promising a violin maker friend of mine some finger planes so I will have to do something about it soon.

    So keep watching the site.


    Comment by admin — October 17, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  12. Hi,
    I’m a classical guitar maker and googled ‘purfling cutter’, and it came up with this beautiful example – wish I could afford to commission one. Looking around your site, it made me wonder whether it had ever been suggested to you to make classical guitar machine heads/tuners? The standard has risen in the past few years, but in my experience even the best ones are not yet ‘perfect’ – completely consistent feel all the way through the turn, with just the right level of stiffness.
    These are the best makers around at the moment:

    All the best,


    Comment by Oren — December 6, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

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