The more I study workbenches, the more I’m convinced there is no end to the clever vises out there. This week I have two vises that are worth a close look.
One is a ratcheting leg vise made by Will Myers, a woodworker who teaches at The Woodwright’s School and is one of the assistants at the French Oak Roubo Project. Will writes a lot for WKFineTools.com – check out his articles here. His article on how to make the ratcheting leg vise can be read in full here.
In the meantime, check out this short video of it on YouTube. The way it works is self-explanatory. While I’ve seen ratcheting leg vises before, I’ve not seen one with the lever that releases the ratchet mechanism. Many of the historical ones I’ve seen require you to put your foot in there and lift a bar with your toe to get it to release. Such as this one.
Like all of Will’s vise hardware, this one is made from off-the-rack components. I got a chance to use this one while down at The Woodwright’s School last year (I think it was last year). And it was smooth and sweet.
The other vise is a wagon vise that was spotted by woodworker Glenn Livingston at the website TheRetroFactory.com. It might be a Halyburton vise, as shown in this patent drawing. However, there were a lot of vises patented during the 1880s.
Why the wagon wheel is so high above the bench I’ll never know. A jointer plane would knock right into that. On some of these vintage vises the wheel was removable. So you would tighten the vise, remove the wheel and go to work.
Also curious: Why the dog holes were laid out by a drunk.
— Christopher Schwarz
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