One Final Day of Vise Gawking


The final big day of vise-gawking took me to southern New Hampshire in the morning and Boxford MA in the evening.

After making my way from Nashua NH heading west to the shop of BillT I encountered two nearly identical yet dramatically-different-from-the-rest vises, which were not connected to benches just yet.


The truly fascinating thing about these vises was that while their general configuration matched the rest, the moveable jaw and the moving platen were not a unified casting, but rather the jaw was attached to the platen with bolts.


In addition, there was a fixed rear jaw, whereas each of the other vises used a metal plate screwed to the bench itself. It was a thunderbolt, a thunderbolt I tell you!  This manner of construction is technically immensely easier than casting the movable unit as an integral whole, and I had been noodling this design in my fertile (or is it fertilizer-filled?) brain for some time yet is the first hint I have seen of this design being manifest in iron.

Like others on this quest these vises were beasts, with the wheel cross-section of 1-1/2” pushing the total weight up to the 85 pound region.

Again, these vises have a probable lineage to a piano factory in Peterborough NH, even though they were purchased when an old box factory closed some years ago.

On leaving Bill’s shop I was so energized at the possibilities that I barely noticed the drive to Boxford.  There I met up with Freddy Roman to visit the shop and home (and vise) of DanD, whose glorious wife prepared a meal that had us waddling for the rest of the night and into the next day.


Dan’s vise was very similar to Philip’s, and due to time constraints I did not have time to photograph it properly.  We also spent probably too much time touring his homestead and shop, ogling his pile of superb oak lumber for an upcoming Roubo bench, and picking up a great many inspirations and good ideas during our visit.  Instead Dan volunteered to let me bring his vise back home with me on loan to study further, which I will do over the coming months.  Even better, he volunteered to carry it to my truck for the ride home.  Now that’s a classy guy!