Friday, July 23, 2010

Where's the rust?

or Call Me Stupid.

So I might have gone for a dig in the dusty corners of some sort of tool/junk shop outfit very local to me, mightn't I? And I might have spotted some weird thing shrouded in a dusty bin bag, bound up with duct tape so ancient the adhesive has said goodbye about three years ago, right?

It looked kinda promising, so I enquire of the old trout who owns this joint if I can haul it out for a look. She doesn't say much, but the response could be summed up as "It's your funeral".

It was heavy.

Although in comparison to The Vice, it was something along featherweight lines... I ripped off its plastic wrappings and revealed a rather nice 10 1/2" Paramo No.63 face vice.

Little bit of paint missing, but she runs very smoothly. No quick release or such fanciful stuff, but a quality bomb-proof vice.

Best of all, there's a whole heap less rust than I remember.

Er, I mean than the old trout who runs this tool and junk warehouse could remember...


Yeah, okay, so I didn't hunt fresh rust. Truth is that pretty much every time I go in the workshop these days, I find a tool or tools I have no memory of whatsoever. It's not unlike stepping into a tool shop with an unlimited budget; anything you see, you can have. Yes, it is a tad embarrassing and does demonstrate that I have altogether too many tools (like that's news), but it's also damn good fun. Apart from the curmudgeonly old trout who runs the joint, that is... ;)

The stupid bit was going and looking for that vice in the first place - it was lurking behind the box of cat litter, as it turned out. I told myself it wouldn't hurt to look, vaguely remembering it as a battered old thing with beaucoup de ferrous oxide and very little evidence of paint. One look and I would rightly blench at the thought of doing up another hunk o'arn. Instead I'd offer it up to the old man to replace the wrack-fest that is the front vice of his Sjorbergs, and he could let it quietly finish rusting into component flakes as is the fate of everything that ends up in the garage.

But don't get me started on his Tyzack back saw that I cleaned and sharpened for him and that I found, a mass of rust, a couple of weeks ago. I may cry and I'm saving that for much later in this project...

Where was I? Oh, right. Well, as you can see, the vice is not a battered wreck. It's not in its first youth, granted, but it's in pretty decent nick.

And it spoke to me, gentle reader. It said "Use me. Effortlessly spin my handle with one finger and watch my jaws dance to and fro like Nureyev and Fonteyn. Rejoice in my English castings and sturdy threads. Counter-balance that stonking great 'Murrican thing with my simple, stout, Sheffield s-... s-... er, splendour. And don't look at me like that; I'm a vice, not a thesaurus."

At that point I decided it was probably a bit hot in the workshop and went for a lie down in a darkened room until the voices stopped...

But it has made me wonder a few things, and most of them utterly contradict everything I said yesterday. I will address the Designated Bench Area with tape measure yet again, and see if maybe we can't sneak a tail vice wannabe in there after all.


  1. I think that if you build your relatively short bench with a three inch top and put an EMMERT vise! on one end and your face vise as a shoulder vice on the other end, you don't need to lag bolt the top to the legs. Hence no need for cross strechers at the top of the legs.

    If you are worried about racking while planning then make the leg mortices go right through the top. A three inch long mortice that would be something like 3 by 2 inches (multiplied by 4 legs) is not going anywhere even without glue. I built a knock down bench with 4 x 4 legs and 5 x 2 strechers held in place by 1/2 inch bolts. When I bolted the base together, nothing could move one of those legs even without the top on it. I had more room than you so I did use a cross stretcher and lag bolted the top to the base but it wasn't really necessary.

    Remember, keep it simple

    A Canuck lurker

  2. Hi Alf,

    Just a thought - the top stretched doesnt necessarily need to go at the very top of the legs.


  3. You won't need any other kind of face vice. That Paramo is par excellence. Not a Q/R? Not to worry. Get it running sweet and you'll hardly not never-ever notice!

    Fit it to your bench . You won't regret it.

    John :)


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