wooden vice -- how used

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dannyr

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awoodenvice.jpg


This is for sale on auction site at present - I also have one and I have seen three pretty much exactly as this, and one or two close but not quite the same.

I know that the flat bar with holes is to adjust for parallel action, but I have two questions --

1. How is it designed to be used/positioned? all examples have the same bolt hole on the rear jaw, mostly with a long bolt in it - this one with a block of wood on the other side - doesn't suggest use in the manner of a regular wooden leg vice (and is shorter than such) - is it designed to lie flat on the bench with the bolt through the bench, or in this example with the block held in a fixed vice? Or held in place at the end of the bench? Or?

2. The three exactly the same - ie prob commercially produced - all have steel faced jaws with a central slot. Again - what is the reason behind steel facing and the slot? The other two have the bolt hole but were a little smaller and no steel jaw - probably (skilfully) home made?

Wood is oak in all cases.
 
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Jacob

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I'd guess they are for a particular job in a particular trade - boatbuilding?
 

TheUnicorn

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more photos would be good.

Am I right in saying there is metal on the left hand side of the mouth? also looks like that metal might have some kind of groove or pit cut in? cant really see. The metal faced jaw makes me think it for holding small metal parts, does the bolt that goes into the bench allow it to pivot on that point or have I misunderstood?

is there a local specialist industry near you that might give some clues?
 

dannyr

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more photos would be good.

Am I right in saying there is metal on the left hand side of the mouth? also looks like that metal might have some kind of groove or pit cut in? cant really see. The metal faced jaw makes me think it for holding small metal parts, does the bolt that goes into the bench allow it to pivot on that point or have I misunderstood?

is there a local specialist industry near you that might give some clues?


Yes - both inner jaw faces are steel lined, with a central slot as I mentioned - right through the 3or4mm thickness of the plate, but no groove in the wood behind - all of the commercial versions I've seen have this. And I've never seen anything fitting in this (eg a soft or shaped inner lining).

I have seen two in inland E. Yorkshire, a farming county, (including the immaculate one I bought for £0.99p plus petrol - no other bidders) but the other far away, likewise the 'finely home-made' examples. So somewhat less likely boat-building - what about wheelwright or cartwright? or to fix on farm machinery -- wild guesses. Totally different - I could also see use for carving.

I have seen plenty of old wood tool catalogues, but not with this vice.

Very busy this w'end but I'll photo after -- the photo above was pinched from a still on-going ebay auction which you could see, with other pix - I don't like to steal too many of another's pix w'out asking (!?).
 
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Jacob

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Not in Salaman, though there are plenty of other varieties of clamp/cramp, many for particular puposes/trades. Nearest is a coach builders clamp.
 

Jacob

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Or maybe to clamp coach leaf-springs up tight whilst being fitted? They look powerful, more than just a G clamp.
 

dannyr

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Or maybe to clamp coach leaf-springs up tight whilst being fitted? They look powerful, more than just a G clamp.

mmmmm, sounds poss, Jacob,and maybe those slots in the steel facings to the jaws somehow grab the ends of spring leaves/leafs.

have also to bear in mind why they all seem to have that hole for a single crosswise bolt - usually supplied with the vice; and however it's used there's a long tommy bar - many poss placings would interfere with this

but still looks more like a medium-sized woodworking vice to me somehow

I've finished my busy w'end now so will try to photo my two examples tomorrow.

Thanks John, I see the auction example is v similar - but not exactly the same - oak, steel facings w slots, that bolt hole - they seem v firm in their belief that it is a 'coachbuilders vice/clamp' - wonder if this one from Lewes had good provenance, eg from a known coach, carriage or wagon builder/cartwright? And not all of them are horsedrawn - quite a few older wood craftsmen round here and Derby, Doncaster etc were coachbuilders, and in their cases it meant the many wooden fittings in railway carriages.

Looks like we're getting close to a name for it. --- Now, how used? --- not just curiosity, I do feel it could be a useful tool for present day hand wood working.
 
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Blister

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I noticed a small chain / lanyard holding a pin , looks like the pin is adjustable into any of the holes in the bar
 

Jacob

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mmmmm, sounds poss, Jacob,and maybe those slots in the steel facings to the jaws somehow grab the ends of spring leaves/leafs.

have also to bear in mind why they all seem to have that hole for a single crosswise bolt - usually supplied with the vice; and however it's used there's a long tommy bar - many poss placings would interfere with this

but still looks more like a medium-sized woodworking vice to me somehow

I've finished my busy w'end now so will try to photo my two examples tomorrow.

Thanks John, I see the auction example is v similar - but not exactly the same - oak, steel facings w slots, that bolt hole - they seem v firm in their belief that it is a 'coachbuilders vice/clamp' - wonder if this one from Lewes had good provenance, eg from a known coach, carriage or wagon builder/cartwright? And not all of them are horsedrawn - quite a few older wood craftsmen round here and Derby, Doncaster etc were coachbuilders, and in their cases it meant the many wooden fittings in railway carriages.

Looks like we're getting close to a name for it. --- Now, how used? --- not just curiosity, I do feel it could be a useful tool for present day hand wood working.
It's just a clamp, an early alternative to the G clamp. If you wanted to give it a name I suppose "H clamp" would fit.
 

dannyr

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Thanks all for an interesting discussion - not quite the full answer yet, I feel - what I'd love is to hear from some one who used such a vice/cramp/clamp/chops, these are obviously not just a one off, so there must be reasons for the puzzling details.

So - I promised some pix - firstly 3 of the bigger one (99p, sale price and he was surprised when I said I couldn't take it for less than a tenner), which like the first example , looks commercially made
aawoodvice.JPG

aawoodvice2.JPG
aawoodvice3.JPG


As you see, it's pretty big, dwarfing the 9in Parkinson quick release set into the low, sit-on bench I keep outside - in fact bigger than some bench leg vices, and could easily be adapted as such, but again it has the single big bolt. no other obvious means of fixation, and those steel plated jaws with notch and steel plating at the other end. Note - I file tested the steel, it is fairly soft, so not an engineering-type use. When I said the 'commercial' versions were identical, I hadn't looked closely enough, they share the basic design and the puzzling (to me) single fixing bolt hole and plated jaws with slot, but have slight differences in size, shape etc.

In the second and third pix I show how it could possibly be mounted, still operate the tommy bar, and be useful for detailed work by swivelling on the single bolt (probably through a block of wood), eg for detail spokeshaving or carving - then maybe the slots would hold in position whatever block you'd make to hold the workpiece. but I have no evidence it was used like this.

Then this pic shows a smaller (user made? but well made, example).
aanothwv2.JPG

Again the single bolt hole (again came with bolt and running through a block of wood) but in this case I now see that the bolt is on what I'd call the moving jaw - my mounting suggestions wouldn't work so well here.

I have looked again in various books etc, the nearest I got was in Percy Blandford's book on country crafts, which showed a wheelwrights vice but it was wider than these and standing vertically from the middle of a very low bench - not a very clear drawing.

ps thanks blister - I think the staggered holes and pin on chain are probably quite well-known to the above contributors - this is an arrangement to keep the jaws more or less parallel if required, still available today on some (v expensive) wooden leg vices.
 
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dannyr

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did bing and google searches and saw a few more pix of these vices with the metal jaw face with slot - none had the explanation of why - one more suggested wheelwright and one shoe last maker, the only 'clue' to use I could find was the below example where it seems to have been fixed against a bench with jaws protruding for a fair while (see the un-darkened/spattered strip), also maybe seen some varnishing/painting action.
anotherwvotherside.jpg


It looks like there are also a number of look-alike (minus the slotted steel facing and the large bolt-hole) new-make shorter wood vices like this which users clamp into their regular woodworking vice to hold work such as carvings above the bench. One big difference is that for carvings users usually add a soft face such as cork or leather, not steel - unless those slots should take a soft face inner jaw?
 

Fergie 307

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Have seen much smaller versions of the same design used to hold metal panels onto wood frames in making car bodies, so Im guessing a similar task, just on a much bigger scale. Boatbuilding does seem to be the favourite.
 
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