Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Update: Carver's Vise

We have several new ideas on the drawing board here at Benchcrafted, but the one that has been the focus of our attention lately has been the La Forge Royale Carver's Vise.

We've been working out the details for this vise since last October. We're still a few weeks away from the first production run, but here are a few details we can share.

We'll be offering this vise in various configurations (none of which we can guarantee):

1. Metal components only. You provide the wood and build the vise. So start looking for some nice 12/4 stock now. This would be the perfect project for that odd chunk you've had laying around waiting for the right project. Got any big lignum vitae offcuts?

2. Metal components and enough wood to build one vise. Right now we're looking into sourcing some 12/4 stock for the vise. We have a lead on some beech that would work perfectly.

3. A limited run of complete vises, ready to go out of the box, and sequentially numbered. This won't happen for a while, but if it does, they will be special. We're thinking sinker logs of Honduran Mahogany. Don't hold your breath.

Here are some details on the components. All parts will be made from carbon steel, with an oiled black oxide finish. This is the best way to get the hand-forged look without having to rob a bank. The only off the shelf parts will be the wood screws used to fasten the brackets to the wood, and four square nuts. All other parts we're machining from scratch. We're going to use a mix of quick, rudimentary fabrication methods to suggest the hand forged look, along with CNC to keep the cost down and precision where its needed.

These vises were widely used all over Europe (and especially France) before WWII. And for more than just carving.

Here's three men working with their vises, carving parts for furniture. c. 1931

And here's another gentleman working with his carver's vise. This is at L'Ecole Boulle. c. 1912

For more clever uses of this vise, take a look at these videos, both very interesting.


  1. Looks great Jameel. I wonder if this same vise skeleton could be employed as a Miter Jack too. The side walls might get in the way of the 45 ramp so a separate block would need to be attached but food for thought as another use of this vise platform. Looking forward to it.

    1. Oohhh miter jack, yes please.... In sinker mahogany or beech! Make it so!


  3. Awesome Jameel - can't wait to get one. Thanks too for the video links - pretty amazing seeing a sea of people working in one room.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.