Homemade tools and hardware #7: Prototype bakelite vise after jeweler's version

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Blog entry by Sodabowski posted 06-09-2015 05:58 PM 2500 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: bandsaw progress Part 7 of Homemade tools and hardware series no next part

Hi all,

Here is my first copy of this great design from the 30’s. I won the original (left of the picture) on ebay some time ago, and after cleaning it and trying it out I decided to make copies of it, mainly because my sister is studying to become a jeweler and bakelite is great for silversmithing and goldsmithing since it’s rather soft.
I used this vise for cutting rather delicate scrollwork into horn and bone flats, with very nice results. The only thing that the original lacks is a clamping system.

So I had this small electrical-grade bakelite board around, with several mounting holes. I scaled down the original design to fit my stock – actually two units could fit, but I lost several parts to the Screw-Up Fairy by trying to cut them with my jeweler’s saw instead of waiting to be at the parents’ and use my bandsaw with the metal-cutting blade. Oh, well, prototyping, you know?

In the end I had the parts required for a single one, that I glued with slow-curing epoxy. The hardware is salvaged steel rods and brass parts from Gawd knows what, probably floppy drives and related computer hardware – I have a BUNCH of that stuff, neatly sorted out actually.

This first prototype came out rather nice, if not for a problem that I hadn’t foreseen before actually building it: on the original you can see the brass linear bearings that ride around the shafts, well the length of these isn’t that random: actually, when using the adjusting screw you’re applying pressure to the top of the movable jaw of the vise, hence producing a rotating torque. My very short sleeve bearings aren’t long enough to compensate for that on my version, so I have to manually compensate for that torque by keeping the jaw parallel to the fixed side to avoid jamming of the rods in the bushings. Well, I won’t make that mistake again. Once the piece is clamped, it doesn’t move anyway, so I consider this a partial success. Next ones will be better!

Thanks for watching.

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

4 comments so far

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3384 days

#1 posted 06-09-2015 09:43 PM

Too neat, bet your sister will love it !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View madts's profile


1921 posts in 2944 days

#2 posted 06-10-2015 12:54 AM

Those are very nice Soda. I did not know that you could bakelite any more.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Schwieb's profile


1896 posts in 4065 days

#3 posted 06-10-2015 02:16 AM

Thomas, the fact that you tried and recognize your design deficiencies is worth the effort. Nice machine work. I appreciate the variety of your interest and efforts.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View mafe's profile


12286 posts in 3693 days

#4 posted 06-23-2015 04:42 PM

You have a lucky sister!
Looks really cool, nice and accurate, well thought and designed.
So wonderful that you can even recycle all those parts into a new little wonder.
Way to go man.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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