Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Emmert Vise

Edit: 12/19/2011: I have written up a more concise and better illustrated narrative on how to install the Emmert Pattern Maker's vise here

So, now that the top is flat, and the drawers are all re-built, one more major task remained... mounting this vise that I've been sitting on for so long. I got going on this last part of the bench project a few days ago. Once in a while, something clicks, and it all just works out.

There was a lot involved in putting this thing in, because I took the more difficult road. Most of the time, I see these vises mounted in the most simple way possible... which is still pretty involved... but the owners simple mount them to the front edge of the bench without trying to get the rear jaw flush with the face of the bench. I can totally understand why people do it this way: the vise needs a lot of clearance to be able to rotate and tilt and do all of the other things that it does. I'm still knocking down high spots that interfere with rotation at various angles.

Knowing what I know now, if I were to build a new bench that were going to have a pattern maker's vise on it, I think I'd use a hybrid method... glue up most of the bench top, mount the vise to the front edge, and make the last strip of the top thick enough to come up to be in line with the rear jaw once the vise were properly installed. I think it's important to be able to clamp things in the vise and against the front edge of the bench at the same time, which is why I bothered to go through the effort of mounting the vise the way that I did.

There are a few more small things to do to the bench. I'd like it to be an inch or two shorter than it is. And I have a few alignments that I need the make on the vise... the rear jaw is sitting a little bit high. But the grunt work of this detour from daily productivity is pretty much done.

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