cannot abide.

I’m spoiled as far as vises go. I’m used to effortless clamping. So, while there was absolute nothing wrong with the vise I picked up last week, I had to tune it up. You could feel the accumulation of 80 years of dirt and grime when you spun the handle.

So! I gave it a good soaking in evaporust, then hit it with a wire wheel and brush to git rid of all the rust and grime.  I took care to make sure all the bearing surfaces where super clean and smooth, and hit the acme screw with a coating of lithium grease.

I’m claiming that it’s now BETTER than factory-new condition, because the collet (garter?) didn’t seat very well due to a rough casting. I took a file to it, and 10 minutes later it was seated much better. This removed at least 1/8” of play and probably a full turn of backlash.


One of the coolest bits on this vise is the handle.. There’s a little set screw right on the head that squeezes a little metal disc against the handle. This allows you to position the bar whereever you want, and it will stay there (notice how its NOT sliding down in the picture above?)

Here is the little set screw in the center of the hub:


And here are the pieces pulled out. The set screw compress the spring against the metal disc, which pushes against the bar handle.


Here’s a video showing the vise in action after cleanup. So smooth. The question is where to put this thing? I kind of want to build a platform for it so I can move it on and off my workbench, but.. I shouldn’t really be doing metalwork on my workbench.  So we’ll see what happens.

– Matt

Vise Vice.

Can’t seem to get enough of them.  Found this beaut on craigslist a couple days ago.  I won’t claim that I got it for a song, but I feel pretty good about the price. 

A Parker no. 134 from 1928.  Apparently called the “Big Bear”! Here’s a flyer (gotta love the internet):

This one seems to be in incredible shape.  I still think I’m going to pull it apart to clean everything up with a wire wheel and re-grease the innards though.  That way it will be good for another 87 years.

Pretty nice! Also, the mini anvil on the back makes this thing just that much cooler.

I’m sure this won’t be the last one I buy…

– Matt


Smooth like butter.  Smoother, actually. Maybe like crisco.  Or white lithium. I’ve got the chop shaped, lined with leather, and boy-o-man this thing has got some serious grip, breh.


Always needing to point out my mistakes: I experienced a little delamination of the two pieces of ash I had glued up for the chop. It was only about 1/8” deep, and a hair’s breadth wide. Just visible, really; nothing that would affect function.  Anyways, it really annoyed me. So I routed a groove and glued in a patch. You can see that strip down the bottom half of the chop in the picture above, that’s the patch. I’m not actually sure this looks any better, but I feel good about it.

I wasn’t really looking forward to the larger chop.  I liked the proportions of the old one, with the bottom of the chop ending at the top of the rail.  However, I think it came out well enough. It is huge, no denying it. But it doesn’t look just weirdly long. Maybe because this one is a bit on the wide side (10”). In fact, that wheel looks kind of tiny now.. Maybe it’s time for an XL option, Jameel?


Not really sure how, but I ended up with a slight amount of toe-in.. I wasn’t trying to achieve it, but there it was. Which is super, because the top of the chop hits your piece and then squeezes right in.


The action on the criss-cross is different. The glide version of this vise hit your work with a *thunk*. From 0-100% hold instantly. This version ~squeezes~ your work more like a normal vise. I suppose it gives you a little more control. But don’t get me wrong, it is effortless. Spin the wheel, your work is immobile.

Anyways, I’m really happy to have it on. No more pin, no more re-adjusting the glide wheels because I cranked down on the wheel and forgot to adjust said pin. It just works, plain and simple. Super elegant and easy to install.


We went to the nashville flea market this past weekend. I have yet to leave that place without a new tool. Picked up a nice 2” slick and a hewing hatchet. You watch something like alone in the wilderness and you realize these are tools you *must* have.


I think it’s time I started building my dining room chairs..  Greg Pennington has been posting a lot lately and giving me the itch; I’ll need to run up there to trace the bending form for his balloon back.  And sneak off with some green white oak… 😉

– Matt

smooth action.

My wife commented that most of what I build seems to have to do with my workbench.  I suppose that’s a valid casual observation.  Just two years ago I finished up what was supposed to be the ultimate, impossible to beat, best bench in the world.  And it was! Then, I ordered and put together a moxon vise (which to my wife’s eye, is just another part of the bench). Now I’ve got the bench pulled apart to retrofit the benchcrafted criss-cross.  Neccesary?  No.  But neither were those holdfasts from lie-nielsen. 

While I’m not totally done yet, I’m 90% there.  Just need to shape the chop and put a finish on it.  The install went really well, and was pretty easy. One thing that made it much easier was ordering a 1/2” end mill roughing bit for my router. Jameel talked about these here. I didn’t order the exact one he talked about because I like to order everything off amazon.  I’ve got this one, and I have to say it really worked well.  

I hope there’s no downside to using a rather large chop.. This one is a full 10” wide and 3” thick.  I’m not sure how heavy it is, but it is HEAVY.  

And a picture with the handwheel attached.  This thing is pretty smooth, just as smooth as the glide w/roller brackets.

One slight detail for people retrofitting this to their existing bench built from benchcrafted plans.. That mortise in your bench leg runs right through the knock down hardware.  Benchcrafted offered some solutions, like doubling the width of your front rail and moving that nut back, but that seemed like way too much work.  Plus, I’ve never take the bench apart anyways (and I have moved shops).  So I just pulled the bolt out and put a couple pegs in.

Works pretty well! I’ll post some more pictures when done. I’m also almost done with this piece (finally).  

Pretty excited!

– Matt