Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Production Update

Last week we completed the pattern for our new Glide handwheels and dropped the pattern off at the foundry. The foundry we're using has been casting iron for 100 years and is located in historic and picturesque Galena, IL. If you're ever in the tri-state area (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin) you should figure on spending a day walking main street in Galena. We've been visiting Galena since I was a kid, and return for a visit every few years. It's a bit touristy, but the old brick and limestone buildings make it worth it. The front office at the foundry hasn't changed much. It's filled with old newspaper clippings of the great Galena floods, and several of the old cast iron wood stoves the foundry once produced. These stoves kept the foundry going during the Great Depression.

Yesterday we picked up 1000 pounds of castings from the foundry and moved them to our machine shop where they will go into the lathe tomorrow. Then, they will join the first small test run of small handwheels (pictured below), which are nearly complete, for mill operations.

 The new Glide handwheel castings are simply jaw-dropping. Once machined, I'll have to find a new adjective that trumps jaw-dropping, because judging by the nearly finished small handwheel I'm looking at right now, they are going to be ridiculous. In these pics, I've placed our previous handwheel casting next to the new ones. They are literally twice as heavy. A good portion of that will get machined away, but these are going to have much more mass. That will translate into sweet fluid movement and effortless control at the vise.

The new handwheels are going through a few more operations than the previous ones due the high level of finish we're going for. Lucky for us, one of our partner shops is located right across the street  and they are going to vibratory finish the handwheels.

The media we're using is stainless steel. These little pieces are about the size of a pea, and shaped like a flying saucer. The little points help get into the nooks and crannies. The wheels look incredible after they come out of the vibratory. In fact, the plant managers at this shop took a look at our wheels and they all thought they were cold formed steel. When we told them they were cast iron, they said, well, I can't really write what they said here. You get the idea.

And last but not least, here are a couple pics of the first carver's vise parts. These are slated for release sometime this fall. No promises yet, as we're putting 100% of our efforts into Tail Vises and Leg Vises at the moment.

We should have pricing on the new handwheel-equipped vises in 2-3 weeks, as well as an update on lead times and availability.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Glide Leg Vises $295


UPDATE 6/18:  There might be just one left.  You read that right!

UPDATE 6/2:  Going fast.....just sayin'.... 

We have a few of our Glide Leg Vises left with our soon to be old hand wheels.  These are all brand new and ready to ship, no lead time!

If youv'e been on the fence this is the time to order one of these before they are all gone.  We've reduced the price from $339.00 plus shipping to just $295.00 and FREE continental shipping!  Shipping these is a bit pricey (they weigh in at 17lbs) the average cost is about $20.00.  Combine that with the discount and you can save in the neighborhood of $64.00 right now.

Get em' while they last.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New hand wheels, Glide & Tail, Crisscross

Just a short note.

Judging by several emails we've received, we've obviously done a poor job of conveying the upcoming changes.

Just to clarify:

- The new hand wheels, for BOTH the Tail Vise & Glide Leg Vise, will not affect in any way installation, function or performance (if anything, there will be an increase in performance due to improved ergonomics!).

- The upcoming Crisscross will be available both with a Glide purchase and as an upgrade to current Glides (and other vises to boot).

- We have been producing our vises for several years, the new, strictly cosmetic and aesthetic changes, do not in any way indicate a change in production.  In fact we estimate our production will increase after these changes with less lead time.  We've had a few emails inquiring about this, we're not sure what we've indicated to even hint at a lack of production.

- Want to know when we have stock again?  Should be soon.  Subscribe to the blog and you'll know almost as soon as we do.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Benchcrafted Crisscross

Summer is flying by and we're scrambling to get all our new stuff rolling as quickly as possible. We know there are lots of you who are chomping at the bit to get your benches built. Summer is a slow time for woodworking, but not for everyone. We think it will be worth the wait.

But summer is also about not rushing. Slowing down. Taking it easy. Fishing (yeah, I just bought a new fly rod--my first--and I can't wait to take a day and reenact this scene.) We take our vises very seriously here, and we're not going to rush through anything at the risk of excellence.

There are lots of companies that keep stuff secret right up until its ready to sell. We're not entirely like that. We don't just make this stuff for money. We use it. We enjoy the design process. We love tweaking things so they work better. Our goal is the same as your goal. Being thrilled with your tools and loving every second of using them.

This week we're finishing up  the first run of our new Tail Vise handwheels. There are still a couple operations to finish, but they are 95% there. And they look simply incredible. Once we get some good photos taken, we'll post them here.

But the main purpose of this post is to talk about the Crisscross, our new version of the St. Peter's Cross mechanism. We've finished the design and engineering and are now working on the patterns for casting these in iron. We know that many are thinking about incorporating the Crisscross into an existing bench, or an upcoming bench build.

Take a look at the video above for an animation of how the Crisscross will install. This should provide enough "rough" information for those planning their bench. If you have questions, please comment below. There are a few aspects here that will change. Fasteners in the video are simply representative. They will change. The long mortises in the leg and chop are sized for the bracket width. We will most likely instruct builders to narrow the mortise below the bracket for a cleaner install.