Good morning all – I hope you are all enjoying the long MLK weekend and thinking of all the interesting people that you know who are not the same as you? I have this weekend – but maybe not in the way that is very mainstream – how does other people’s work go around the world and come down through time. People you may never meet?
In order to get my workshop going has turned into a bit of a chicken and the egg thing – literally everything is sitting on the floor and to do anything, you have to do it on the floor until you get the first workbench assembled. That seems simple to resolve but has proven a bit annoying till now. I found and bought a small workbench kit from WoodCraft Supply from a company called RAMIA (which is a Czechoslovakian company) and it is just amazing and very cost effective. First it is very, very well thought out and secondly the workmanship is unbelievably good. As we were assembling everything over a couple of weekends we came to the conclusion that this was built to aircraft spec tolerances – everything is cut, drilled, measured to less than a 1,000th of a inch. Everything fits literally perfectly.
Anyway – my Dad and I put it together as a team over the past few weekends and it was a really fun project to do together (it is designed as a two person job and debated if one person could do alone – we think a single person could but it would take some tricky balancing or a third hand 🙂 ). The next project is to get some stuff done and get the garage organized and cleaned up because there is basically no floor space at the moment. Below is a picture and the advertising copy from WoodCraft
My Dad next to the completed RAMIA workbench – in my very messy shop that is still full of stuff that has not been unpacked yet
A lot of our customers are weekend woodworkers working in their garage who don’t have the space for a permanent bench. RAMIA had actually once made what we thought might offer these folks a viable option, so we asked if they could make it again. RAMIA set about improving the design to produce the HB-S Folding Workbench. Although it does not actually fold up, it does stand flat against the wall to a height of 48.5″, extending out only 9.84″ with the bench down. Swing the bench up into the work position, extending it a full 29.5″ into the room, and then swing it down when you are done. The bench comes with two front vises – one in front and one on the end, which can be mounted for either right- of left-handed use. The HB-S is constructed from European Beech with the same attention to detail RAMIA gives to all its benches.
In other project news and partly how I got to thinking about how people are people no matter how you may think you are separated from them – even in time. I was online last night and just randomly was thinking about blacksmith post vises and I decided to do a google search for images. I ended up on an eBay posting from an antiques dealer in Maine who was selling one and I bought it on the spot via their “buy it now” feature. I bought it because I will need it for my future blacksmith forge setup but also because it is really pretty neat – it was forged by John Woolley who had a foundry/forge near Paul Revere’s house and he was active from 1847 to 1879. Unusually for a vise, the maker’s name was extensively stamped on it. I talked with my Dad and we decided it was a steal – some blacksmith tools are better if they are old for two reasons. One – they can be extremely niche and therefore there is not a lot of modern demand for a tool and therefore the quality and durability can be extremely hard to judge and secondly, some equipment really doesn’t take a lot of abuse – like one of these vises.
The way they are used is to be mounted on alongside a post or a heavy duty bench with direct support against the ground – basically so they are totally locked in and won’t move if you are bending hot iron in them. They have a relatively course thread screw – so you don’t have to spin the screw arm very much for them to close. With relatively little time, you can place something hot in the jaws and clamp it down. This doesn’t make them very precise but that is not what you need when you doing rough shaping of hot iron from the forge.
I really like the idea that a tool that was built locally in Boston up to 160 years ago is still going to be used for its intended purpose. John Woolley clearly cared enough about what he was doing to be atypical and put his name on his products – I think he would smile to think that someone, generations later, that he would never meet, will take pleasure using his tools.
This will get setup as part of the mobile blacksmith shop that I am going to build out of one of the shepherd’s huts that I am going to make/have made. I traded emails with the shipping company and the piece parts from England should arrive around 1/25/2018. I just realized that I need to create a post about that too!
here are photos of the vise, the eBay posting and some very short materials I found out about John Woolley. To give you a size perspective, the vise weighs about 75 pounds.
BLACKSMITH POST LEG VISE
A SUPER UNIQUE IN THIS CONDITION
VERY HEAVY DUTY VICE/VISE
MAINE ESTATE FIND
THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE RARE LEG VISE SINCE THERE WERE ONLY IN OPERATION 32 YEARS
WOOLLEY MARKED THERE VISE VERY WELL
THE VISE IS BEEFY ,THEY DID A GOOD JOB
THE LEGS ARE SUPER STRAIGHT AND CORRECTLY DESIGNED
MOUNT IS IN VERY SOLID SHAPE
MOUNT IS NOT TWISTED IN ANYWAY
MOUNT HOLES ARE NOT DRILLED
JAWS ARE PARALLEL AND WIDE
JAWS DO HAVE A PRITCHEL HOLE
SPRING IS WELL DESIGNED AND WORKS WELL WITH LEG DESIGN
IF YOU LOOK OR COMPARE THESE LEGS WITH OTHER VISES THEY A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT
LEGS ARE BEEFYER THEN MOST OTHER 5-1/2″ JAW VISES
DID I MENTION THE LEGS ARE SUPER STRAIGHT,HA !!
THEY USED A BUILT UP BLOCK METHOD TO PRODUCE THERE BOX
THE BOX IS LONG AND DEEP
THE INTERNAL THREADS ARE IN GOOD SHAPE
THE SPINDLE SCREW IS REALLY LONG,LONGER THAN MOST
THE SCREWS FIRST SCREW THREAD ARE WORN BUT THE FAR END THREAD ARE IN VERY GOOD SHAPE
WE FIRST THOUGHT THIS THING IS JUNK BUT AFTER FURTHER INVESTING IT REALLY NOT
WE TESTED THE SCREW IN INCH INCREMENT AND IT HOLDS TIGHT IN EVERY POSITION
THE BOX AND SCREW ARE SO LONG THAT THE REALLY GOOD THREADS GRAB HOLD IN EVERY POSITION
YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS BEFORE PURCHASING,WE DONT HIDE POSSIBLE PROBLEMS
WE LET YOU MAKE THE DECISION
ADDING PICTURE OF SCREW SOON
POST LEG VISES ARE STRONGER THAN LARGER WORK BENCH VISES
POST LEG CAN HANDLE THE HARD POUND DAY AFTER DAY
SMALLEST O.D.OF BOX -1-7/8 TO 2-1/4″ OUTER RING
SCREW SHANK 1-3/8
HEAVY OVER 75 POUNDS
TIME TO MAKE A SPOT FOR THE OLD BOY
THE VISE WANTS TO KNOW IF ITS TIME TO GO BACK TO WORK ?????
SOMEONE MAY WANT TO PUT THIS ONE IN A MUSEUM WITH OTHER POST LEG VISES
CHECK OUT MY STORE FOR MORE BLACKSMITH TOOLS
WE ALSO HAVE FLOOR MOUNTS YOU COULD USE TO MOUNT YOUR VISE ,STEAMPUNK YOUR VISE
I WILL BE ADDING MORE POSSIBLE MOUNTS WHEN FOUND
IT WILL LOOK COOL AND AND CAN STILL BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF IT
AFTER A GOOD POUNDING ON THE VISE ,,THE VISE WILL SAY “IS THAT ALL YOU GOT WEAKLING
I HAVE BEEN HEAR A LONG TIME WHAT YOU GOING TO DO TO ME,NOTHING HUMAN,HA!!!!
I WAS MADE TO KICK YOUR ASS,HAVE SOME FUN
DONT FORGET ZOOM FOR A GOOD LOOK
I CAN SEND MORE PICTURES ,IF NEEDED
“A LITTLE HISTORY”
“MAINE IS THE FIRST PLACE IN THE COLONIES IN 1607 TO PRODUCE QUALITY BLACKSMITH TOOLING
THE TOOLING WAS USED IN THE PRODUCTION OF SHIPS RIGHT ON THE KENNEBEC RIVER AT FORT ST.GEORGE”
GET IN THAT SHOP AND MAKE SOMETHING SPECIAL
Nick Fohl – from a google search on John Woolley – edited out the other manufacturers – please refer to toolarchives.com for the full article
A COMMUNITY EFFORT DOCUMENTING THE HISTORY OF TOOLS
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Early Vise Makers
Here we will list the names of early vise makers as we find them. The dates represent the earliest and latest records we find of them being in operation.
John Woolley – Salutation St., Boston, MA 1844 – 1879 – Mr. Woolley is listed in the 1844 “4th Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association” as having on display 4 new vices. We only find 2 patents for John Woolley:
- Patent March 16, 1831 – Edging Machine for turning the edges of tin, copper or sheet-iron
- Patent #4,184– Cooking Stove
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