New Sliding Bevel from Chris Vesper Tools | Popular Woodworking Magazine
 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Marking and Measuring

Though I need another sliding bevel like I need a goat in my living room, I recently ordered one of the new sliding bevels from Chris Vesper Tools in Australia and have been putting it through its paces.

I reviewed Vesper’s sliding bevels in the April 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking. I also wrote about Vesper for the Fine Tool Journal , you can read the article for free here. Yes, Vesper is that young. (One female editor on our staff has used the word “cherubic” , not “Cherubinic.”)

If you are too lazy to click though the link above, let me boil down the story: Vesper makes the best sliding bevel I’ve ever used. This is both very difficult and very easy to do. It’s easy to make a really good sliding bevel because almost all of them on the market suck eggs. They don’t lock well. Or when they are locked, the locking mechanism won’t let the tool lay flat on the work.

Do the manufacturers not actually use this tool?

Vesper’s bevels use a locking mechanism based on an old patent. And it locks down better than anything else I’ve ever used. And the locking knob never , repeat, never , gets in your way.

So what’s new about this particular bevel? There’s no wooden infill. Instead, Vesper added a nice engraving on both faces of the tool. This actually reduces the cost of the tool a bit. And in my opinion, it looks as nice as the one with the infill.

These don’t come cheap. The 7″ bevel cost about $160 U.S. , what with the sorry state of the U.S. dollar compared to the Australian dollar. But I like Vesper’s work, and was more than happy to open my wallet in the name of a bevel I don’t have to worry about every time I reach for it during a project.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 10 comments
  • Bill Taggart

    You seem to be implying that a goat would not be an extremely useful addition to your living room. Strange.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    Chris,

    The Shinwa locks pretty well, but the lock knob (of mine) interferes with the work at times.

    The Lee Valley is ingenious, but it doesn’t lock anywhere near as tight in my experience.

    Chris

  • Ed Furlong

    Chris:

    Beautiful bevel. I seem to remember that sliding bevels were reviewed in Woodworking a while back and the theme of poor locking mechanisms was noted then. I use some old all-metal and infill Standley models and they work well for me.

    By the way, is "Cherubinic" a synonym for "Reubenesque"? I couldn’t find it in my handy Webster’s 2nd International.

  • Derek Cohen

    I consider Chris to be a mate of mine, so I am biased 🙂 His workmanship is right up there with the very best. I have one of his infilled sliding bevels (in fact the first 7" one he made), and it literally stands out from the others I own and (now rarely) use.

    While a good tool like this costs more than others available, it is not an extravagence once you use it. The bevel has a definite presence in the hand. It has heft. Adjustments are silky smooth, precise and stable.

    Chris, it is great that you showcase the small, independent toolmakers as you do. We, the hobbiests, want great tools, and the only way that we will keep these coming is to make sure that the toolmakers stay around.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  • John Cashman

    I have the Shinwa also, but I forget if it’s the larger or smaller version. It’s a good price, locks more solid than any other bevel I’ve tried (I haven’t tried Chris Vesper’s), and it is well made. I could wish for a nicer knob to replace the bent steel-rod adjusting piece, but it doesn’t affect it’s use. It also uses the same 135 year old patent that Chris’ beauty does. I wish I could afford one.

  • Chris F

    ChrisS, have you used the Shinwa? (Available for $20 or so.) It looks a lot like the older one in your picture. It’s not nearly as nice-looking but it seems to lock down fairly well…I can move it but not easily. The blade is a bit long at 10".

    What about the cam-actuated Veritas? I’ve never used one, so I have no idea how tight they lock down.

  • Danny G--Toronto

    Hi Chris

    Are you going through another animal phase? First the monkey references were flying around, and now I notice a preference for goats. Just wondering whats coming up?

  • Jozef Babjak

    Very nice tool. By the way, how the locking mechanizm with end screw works? I cannot imagine easy way how to clamp the blade firmly.

  • Carl Joseph

    So wonderful to see such a talented Aussie featured here. Thanks Chris, and Chris.

    I met Chris recently at the Working With Wood Show in Melbourne and his tools are really wonderful. And he’s a great guy too!

  • David Gendron

    This is great, one more oustanding tool made with pride and that work, I mean, realy work!
    Thank you Chris, not you Chris the other Chris;)

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