Tuesday 10 February 2009
Chris Pye discusses the advantages of this vice from Dick Fine Tools
This vice is a copy of an old European model and manufactured by a company in Taiwan. Compared to the original, the standards of casting is less exact, however, the function is not lost and it must be a fraction of the cost.
I get the sense that the original was well thought out - the name says it all. The nearest to this device is the traditional, wooden carvers' 'chops', which is still available but more expensive.
The jaws, heads, swivelling base and tightening handle of the Patternmaker's Vice are solid cast iron - this is a very sturdy piece of equipment. Although the opening and closing mechanism seems loose, the jaws clamp together firmly and accurately.
The vice sits on the bench top and is held by a bolt passing through it to a cast iron - so any 16mm diameter hole through your bench top and you're fitted! Slacken the very comfortable tightening 'fly' underneath and the vice will swivel 360 degrees.
BaseBetween the vice and the bench top is a sort of plinth - a base that raises the vice up - so the winding handle clears the surface of the bench top and lets the jaw section rotate.
The jaws slide in and out along steel guide rails and have 6in, 150mm capacity - this might not seem a lot compared with a carpenter's vice but this still represents a hefty woodcarving.
Each jaw can be independently swivelled to take odd-shaped pieces of wood. The polyurethane-faced jaw linings can be easily unscrewed and replaced with others of wood, specially suited to particular purposes.
The advantages of the Patternmaker's Vice over the carpenter's bench vice are as follows: swivelling - it is easier to reach all areas of your work; easy mounting on the bench top - this is a better level for seeing what you are doing; independently adjustable jaws; varying the shape of the jaw liners.
There is great adaptability here; you can hold a variety of shapes securely and see what you are doing well, or hold blocks of wood to which your carving is clamped or otherwise mounted.