Posted tagged ‘Emmert’s pattern makers vise’

Extraneous decoration or Cautionary Tale?

August 4, 2012

In times past, carpenters, joiners and masons alike, dated and signed their work.  Farmers who built their own buildings often left a great deal of information on posts and beam ends.  And many times, some appropriate admonition would be carved into any number of finished products.  So I thought it only appropriate to not only date the new workbench under construction, but to also include a reminder to myself to not waste time.  It is one of the most valuable things we have.

The base is substantial, but is made in such a way that the entire bench can be dissembled for transport.  The routed areas are required for the mounting of the Emmerts vise.  Had I realized how heavy the Emmert vise is and the amount of stock that must be required, I may have designed a base with three trestles.  I’m anticipating some deflection problems with the 2 15/16″ top sometime in the next 100 years.  I’m planning to hang a drawer under the bench to hold bench dogs, temporary jaws etc.  And there is the possibility of installing a small antique vise on the right end to act as a tail vise.  More weight…but in a workbench, heavy is a good thing.

Underside of bench inletted to receive Emmert’s Vise

Another two to three days should put the bench into operation.  Then I can get on to more profitable exercises.

Oh!  For those of you who are too young to have had classical Latin “beaten into you”,

“Tempus Fugit – Memento Mori” means time is fleeting – remember you will die.  In other words, get past the “white paper” syndrome.

Stay tuned for when the vise goes into action…and I’ll close with one other “classical” bit of wisdom…

“Enough is abundance to the wise” – Euripides

Big Walnut slab + Emmert’s style pattern makers vise = just one more distraction

July 22, 2012

The poor little lowboy is sitting there, dry-fit, in-the-white, just waiting to be finished.  It should be my priority.  Then again, I should be turning out some bowls or anything else for the marketplace.  But what am I doing?  I’m screwing around with yet another workbench!  But, this one is really going to be special.

Remember that big slab of walnut that Charlie dropped off a couple of weeks ago?  Well, I planed it up in a previous post and I believe  I mentioned that I had something very special in mind for it. 

It just so happens that I was lucky enough to buy one of the last of the Emmert’s style pattern makers vises that Woodcraft discontinued a few years ago.  I can only guess that the vise was just too expensive for most pocketbooks.  Lee Valley manufactured one called the “Tucker” vise, which was discontinued about the same time.  It’s a real shame that these vises didn’t get the attention they deserved.  Anyone who has used either of these vises, or one of the originals, knows what wonderful tools they are.  And, if you’re a woodworker who does any carving or shave work, these vises are really without peers.  Authentic Emmert’s can sell for $1500 +, so the several hundred dollar price tag on the Woodcraft or Lee Valley version was a real bargain. 

The WC version weighs in at 55 pounds.  So a heavy-duty bench is in order.  Also, I’m contemplating another antique, cast-iron vise for use as a tail vise.  So the combined weight of the vises and bench could (easily) be in the range of 250-300 lbs.  Ought to be good and steady.

Trestles are made from 3 1/2″ square Ash.  Stretchers are of 1 5’8″ x 5 3/4″ Ash and cut with a half dove-tail tenon.  The stretchers will be held in place with a wedge that will complete the dovetailed connection.

Lay-out is critical.  You’ll note any number of matchmarks and “surface messages” to myself.  (It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve cut a mortise on the wrong surface.)  So tomorrow I’ll finish up the stretcher mortises in the legs and with any luck at all, the base should be ready for glue up and assembly by mid-day.

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