Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For want of a nail

I promised you bonus vice hardware, did I not? Well, whilst delving about in the innards of The Vice I spotted the end of something nestling amongst the front jaw tilt adjustment gubbins. "End of a spring?" I wondered, not being quite up to speed with exactly how the tilt mechanism actually works. No, not a spring. A glance from the rear of the jaw and I identified a 2 1/2" nail. Crivens!

Evidently been there some time, and seemingly very determined to stay there. After a good deal of debate over whether there was an outside chance it was a lead-washer-a-like bodge to make something actually work, I decided on some surgery. A cut-off wheel in the Dremel dealt with the head, and some needle nose pliers pulled the rest.

I have a love/hate relationship with the cut-off wheels and the Dremel. When they're working, I love them. When I've just broken the third in a row without actually yet turning on the damn tool, I hate them. Was there ever a cutting tool so susceptible to shattering into a million tiny pieces simply because the user has the impudence to actually try to fit one ready for use? For future reference, gently nudging the robust castings of an Emmert vice with one gives it the life expectancy of a mayfly with a fascination for trout. You won't need to ask me how I know that, I'm sure.

Oh, and nothing fell apart when the nail was removed, so I'm assuming I'm not going to regret removing it. Probably.

Meanwhile, the clean up and as much paint removal as I can stand is pretty much complete. As you can see, even not taking the whole thing apart it's still ended up as one helluva pile of bits. All of which need brushing off, degreasing, masking as required, and then painting. Two coats. Oh joy, oh rapture.

As you can see, the Tilt Adjust Knob, minus lead retaining washer segments, is a little bent. A result of the presence of the nail? I know not. If the mood comes upon me, I may replace the Main Handle with something a bit more Emmert-looking. The originals have wooden ball ends and appear to be almost as long as the jaws are wide.

Surface of the front jaw. Pretty clean, but as you can see, lots of casting voids. I assume this is the kind of thing - on a lesser scale - that results in large bins of rejected planes in places like Lee Valley.

The rear jaw, and the area where the hub rotates was the greasiest, filthiest, nightmare-ish article you could ever hope not to have in your woodworking workshop. I felt like an... engineer. [shudder] That reminds me, at some point I'll be picking brains on preferred lubricants for vices.

The Hub and Hinged Mounting Plate. Ideally it would have been nice to separate them, but not a hope. After much deliberation I removed the Tilt Adjustment Handle (directly to the right of the hub) and just hoped to goodness the spring it works agains wouldn't ping anywhere. It didn't and made the job of cleaning both the hub and the handle 100% easier.

So there we are. Progress. Still a way to go, but as I keep reminding myself, it'll be worth it in the end. All being well.


  1. Nice! If the parts you want to lubricate are airtight, and I doubt any of them would be, you could use ordinary grease. It comes in a tub like margarine. Also lithium grease.

    What I've been using lately for non-high-speed moving parts like eggbeater drills is paraffin wax. If you add sawdust to it, it won't gum up like grease will. It lubricates moving parts like that sufficiently, and really, when you think about it, you're not providing lubrication for babbit bearings on rail road carriage wheels going 230 km/h. To get a nice even coating you could heat it up--it melts at about 120 degrees fahrenheit. That's about what, 50 C? You could just melt some and dip pieces in it.

    Anonymous Comment Leaving Person

  2. ALF,
    Try the Dremel metal cut off wheels: Model: EZ456 | Internet/Cat # 906250. Also for serious bolt cutting try a Rotozip, or the Bosch Multitool. the Fein is too expensive for my budget.

  3. I have heard, but not had any reason to try yet, that you take the dremel wheels and let cyanoacrylate (spelled wrong I bet) glue wick into them and harden. This is supposed to vastly increase their service life. When I have occasion to try if it works I will let you know.



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