Moravian Workbench #5: Vise leather

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Blog entry by Tom posted 09-12-2019 02:45 PM 683 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Turning the vise screw Part 5 of Moravian Workbench series Part 6: Building the Tool Tray »

It is helpful to add leather to the vise jaws. It greatly improves holding the work when using hand tools.

The side of the workbench top is one of the vise jaws. I held off adding finish to the top and vice until I got the leather installed. I didn’t want the finish to interfere with adhering the leather. I bought a couple pieces of leather from the craft store. It’s a little pricey, but it was readily available and appropriately sized.

To clamp the leather in the vice, I wanted to have even pressure. In my setup, I found that 1/2” plywood clamped in the vice with the first hole in the guide gave nice even clamping pressure against the top. I used a scrap of plywood and waxed and polished it on both sides to avoid it sticking to any glue that might come into contact.

You want the rough side of the leather against your work, so I glue the smooth side to the top and vice chop. First I roughed up the smooth side of the leather with a card scraper and sandpaper. I painted Titebond 3 on the leather and on the surface of the top and let it soak in a bit for a few minutes. Then I applied just the one piece for the top and clamped it for 5 minutes. It may want to float a little bit and you have better control just glueing one piece at a time.

Once it was set in place and the excess glue squeezed out, I did the same for the chop side.

Then I cleaned off the squeezed out glue and let it set up over night under modest clamp pressure. I left the leather on the top so that it extended beyond the vice sides. I cut the chop leather so that it was flush with the sides of the chop while it was still wet and clamped in final position. Also, I opened up the vice occasionally during the first half hour to make sure the plywood was not getting glued to the any of the leather surfaces.

That is really the final step on the vise. Now I can start adding finish to the top and vise parts which will be Danish oil and Danish oil/Poly mix. The working vise parts will also get a coat of wax to facilitate smooth operation.

Next I will build the tool tray…

-- Tom

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