A “Violin knife” refers to a traditional tool used in both violin making and in broader luthier and wood working. The basic violin knife is a long relatively narrow piece of tool steel sharpened with an angled ‘blade’ at one end, double beveled and inserted in a removal wooden sleeve handle. What the knife is used for varies on the width of the steel, the angle of the blade portion and the bevel angle.
The blade portion can be made by tempering any high carbon steel, or ready made blades can be purchased from suppliers like Pfeil or Hock. The handles typically are separate and can easily be made in the workshop.
The size of the knife describes the width of the stock. Because the blade can be moved forward in the handle it can have a very long working life, making it an economical tool.
Top to Bottom: For comparison a Flexcut Detail Knife and Pfeil Detail Knife #11, a 3/4″ mill blade in shop made maple handle, and finally 6mm and 3.5mm Pfeil violin knife blades in shop made ebony handles