By Zachary Dillinger
While studying Gerrit van der Sterre’s “Four Centuries of Dutch Planemakers” (Primavera Pers, 2001), I ran across what the author calls a “raamtang” – Dutch for “window pliers.” As you might guess, it is a joiner’s tool used originally to hold narrow window sash bars for moulding.
The similarities between this entirely shop-made wedge-powered vise and the screw-powered “Moxon” vise led me to make and try a raamtang with great success for other work.
There is a lot of force exerted on the jaws of a raamtang – so much that they often bend in use. To counteract this, I chose to make mine from strong white oak.
The version of the raamtang presented here is long enough to hold up to a 24″-wide panel and stock up to about 11⁄2″ thick. Feel free to make modifications to suit the scale of work you do in your shop, but this size works well for most furniture tasks.
Prepare your 3⁄4″-thick wedge blank and mark out the angle, then saw the pieces apart and plane the sawn edge to a smooth surface.
I like to use about a 15° or 20° angle, but the exact angle of the wedge is unimportant because you will lay out the shoulder cut from the wedge. Just remember – a shallow angle will hold with more strength than a steep angle.
Web: Visit the author’s blog and gallery.
Blog: Read a roundup up of our many Moxon Vise posts.
In Our Store: Go “Beyond the Vise: Workholding for Hand Tools,” a webinar hosted by Steve Branam.
To Buy: “Jigs & Fixtures for the Hand Tool Woodworker,” by Graham Blackburn.
From the October 2015 issue