Re: Harmonica Maintenance Tools

Vince wrote:
> I plan on buying an old highschool desk and gluing a large, white, plastic
> chopping board to the surface. This will my work station. I will face it
> against a wall, facing a natural, 24" florescent light. 

I don't recommend using plastic, it isn't dimensionally stable enough for some 
of the things you are likely to want to do.  It's very likely not flat, meaning 
that sanding combs and the like will not be as accurate as you might like.  
Whatever you use, make sure you are able to replace it easily, because it is 
going to get marred by cut marks and nicks and other things.  I'll agree that 
your work surface should be white, this is the best way to make sure you see 
all the screws and springs and nails and bumpers and stuff that harmonicas are 
made of.  

I have a piece of 3/4" melamine (plastic surfaced particle board) about 18" x 
24" that I use as a work surface.  It has a 1/2" hole drilled in the corner 
into which I put the base of a small swingarm lamp.  I use a screw-in 
flourescent bulb in the lamp because flourescent is much cooler than 
incandescent (spend a few hours under a lamp on a Texas summer day with the 
fans off and it makes a difference).  I like this arrangement because I can 
move my work surface from one place to another with minimum hassles.  I've even 
been known to set it on the bed at night, so I can watch the tube while I 

If you do much harmonica work you will gradually accumulate lots of tools that 
you prefer for certain things.  The Lee Oskar toolkit is a good start, and I 
still use parts of it, especially the brass pick and the chisel.  I use the 
chisel to remove burs from the edges of reedslots and reeds when I'm working 
with narrowing reedslots.  I use the reed wrench from the kit if I'm working 
with Tombo harps.  Aside from that, I have a bunch of shims and jeweler's 
screwdrivers and things.  I bought myself a small 5-drawer storage cabinet from 
the Container Store which I use to store materials and tools.  You can put 
different configurations of inserts in the drawers to hold everything from 
combs and covers and reedplates to different sizes of screws and nuts and 
CATID=62561&PRODID=59995  It was expensive, but one of the best investments I 
made in getting organized.  

When I lived in Austin we used to go regularly to a large "flea market" east of 
town, where you could buy everything from live goats to truck wheels to the 
best piccadillo gorditas in town.  I was always on the lookout for harp tools 
there, and would frequently buy stainless steel dental tools and other things 
when I found them.  Micromark ( is a great source for lots of 
good miniature/precision hand tools, as is Small Parts (, 
though I mostly use the latter for materials rather than tools (no particular 

> I do NOT plan on doing this for any profit

Is ANYONE making a profit doing this?  

- -tim

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