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JOEL Joel's Blog

Saw Vise Project - Part 2 - The Gramercy Tools 14 Inch Saw Vise

09/23/2009 Order now at the pre-production price.

Saw Vise Project - Part 2 - The Gramercy Tools 14 Inch Saw Vise 4After we got back from WIA in Berea in 2008 we went back to work and in January started development on products for late 2009. As far as saw vises went we knew we wanted something at least 14" wide - so that it could take backsaws at one go and everything else in just 1 additional shift. We also liked the camming mechanism on the Wentworth saw vise see part 1 for a picture the best of the ones we studied, it has the most travel and won't wear out so easily. And we wanted something that could bolt onto a bench or a board for rigidity. So we basically decided to copy the Wentworth vise. A month or so later we had finished the solid models for the castings - which were a nightmare because we still wanted that Victorian elegance, and I was shaking my head over the cost. A bunch of detailed castings, they would need a little machining, in malleable cast iron, ain't cheap. But antiques in good condition, if a reputable dealer can find them sell for tons. So we figured a high price - low volume tool it was. Below is the sketch we used to measure the Wentworth Vise.

Saw Vise Project - Part 2 - The Gramercy Tools 14 Inch Saw Vise 5Then we had a brainwave. One day the designer came in with a small pencil sketch of the same saw vise (upper left) - only made of 6 bits of steel folded together. My gut reaction was that it better not work as we had all this labor tied up in the first design. But this sheet metal design has two interesting aspects over the cast model. 1 - sheet steel is a lot less expensive than a casting and 2 - the jaws would be at a 45 slant to the saw - so we would have tons of clearance for filing sloping gullets - which was very cool. This was a big improvement over the other design. But would it work. Would the metal bend? would the vise wear badly, etc. I stared at the pencil drawing for a day or so and then made a management decision (which is what I am mostly paid for) Stop all work on the cast prototype and switch to sheet metal. There was still a good bit of tricky development ahead but the idea worked!

So here it is. The final design ended up a little different than the sketch. Our own saw filer on staff preferred the prototype to the original cast version and final production will be even better. Click here for a picture of the real thing and for a chance to order at the pre-production price of $98.95. Once we start shipping the price will go up to $109.95 until the end of the year, regularly $119.95.

We expect to be shipping production by early October (at which point the price will rise to the introductory price). We were expecting to have a stock of saw vises at WIA at Valley Forge PA but it looks like we will slip that date by a week or two (stuff happens). If you are taking Mike Wenzloff's saw sharpening class (which I highly recommend) we offer an additional small discount when you order the vise at the show.

One feature that some of you might find unusual is that the vise does not clamp onto the edge of a workbench. Ours bolts on. This makes it far more rigid and it's night and day in use. More rigid means less vibration, which means longer file life and faster filing. To attach the saw vise to your bench you can bolt it directly or use threaded inserts. If you don't want to drill your bench apron just bolt the vise onto a board and clamp that from the side in your vise on use another clamp on the other side. In the future we might offer a pair of attachment clamps but I don't think they are really necessary.

Of course like any other product we sell it's covered by our unconditional warranty where we pay return shipping for any reason on any return (US only - some restrictions apply).

Saw Vise Project - Part 2 - The Gramercy Tools 14 Inch Saw Vise 3

Click here for more information about the vise and to order.

Join the conversation
09/23/2009 Michael Fross
Fantastic looking vise. My order's in and I can't wait to get it.
09/24/2009 Steve
That just doesn't look right ... before you ship them out, can you let them rust a little?

Can you believe it's 2009 and I just bought a brand new saw vise and a piece of horse butt from you!
09/30/2009 Jeremy

I agree! Let's rock like it's 1884!

10/03/2009 Chuck Nickerson
Can you share what kind/grade of steel it's made from? Mine's on order, and now I'm thinking of how to fancy it up: engraving, filligree, stopped chamfers, etc.
It's made out of very thick, ordinary, mild steel.
10/06/2009 steve
Out of curiosity, what would the sticker have read on the malleable cast iron version? About $280?
11/10/2009 Don BAss
Joel, When are the vises shipping? I preordered mine in September. Thanks! Don
I expect, barring any last minute weirdness, next week sometime.
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.