Carver’s Vise

The Carver’s Vise is a near copy to a vise made years ago by the French company La Forge Royale.  The hardware is made by Benchcrafted and was offered as a limited run.  We were able to secure a number of these hardware sets to build the complete vise for our customers.  The hardware is of excellent quality with most pieces treated with a black oxide finish.  The mounting screw and cast handwheel are unfinished.

The rear jaw is the part that moves, keeping the front jaw fixed in the same position.  It can be unthreaded all the way and removed easily from the base.  The sliding brackets on the moving jaw have integral lips to key the jaw to the base.  The action is smooth and does not rack.

The mounting screw has a square head that slides up into the mortise in the rear of the base, and holds the vise down on two 1/8″ thick steel bearing plates inside the mortise. The entire vise can rotate 360 degrees, and can slide in and out over six inches, allowing it to cantilever off the edge of the bench.  There is a dust cover to prevent shavings and dust from fouling the mounting screw.

The cast handwheel cinches the vise down with significant pressure, making for a rock solid mount.  A thick steel washer distributes the clamping pressure. A 3/4″diameter hole is needed through the benchtop for mounting.  By mortising a square hole around the bench hole to fit the square end of the mounting screw, and making it a bit deeper than the head, the hardware can stay on the bench. Mounting thus is quick and easy.

We chose 12/4 quarter sawn black cherry from the heart of the Appalachian mountains in central Pennsylvania.  Each vise is made from a single piece of stock except for the cover plate, which is plain sawn for nice figure.  No stock was glued up to make these vises. The fixed, front jaw is attached to the base with a large dovetail joint. The top cover plate is held in place with four dowels, and can be removed to access the screw. The jaws are lined with cork-neoprene gasket material for exceptional gripping power. There is a ball detent in the end of the vise screw that can be adjusted to hold the handle in the center for nice balance while opening and closing the jaw.

Maximum clamping capacity is about 9 inches, with jaws that are 4 1/4″ wide. Overall length of the vise is just under 20 inches. Each vise has well over $500 in material costs alone, and tip the scales in excess of 20 pounds. (We paid full retail price for the hardware kits.) Mounting hardware is included, along with jaw liner for replacement, if needed.  A vintage looking Benchcrafted sticker is also included, along with a user guide.

As stated earlier, we have a limited number of these hardware kits, and while we do have enough for a couple more runs, when they are gone, they are gone. There is no guarantee  that Benchcrafted will do another run of them, and it went 10 years between the two runs that were made.

The beauty of this vise is the ability to change the orientation of the jaws quickly and easily.  This is a big advantage over a traditional high vise that is fixed in one place. The user can always face the workpiece to suit the task.

Price is set at $1150.