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Working with Hands - James E. Price

  Two-log Vise  

If you ever find that you need to securely hold boards to edge plane them but have no bench with a vise, these photos show how to do it.



When I am making coffins for historical events specifying only period frontier conditions, I cannot alone hold the bottom boards or lids and plane them. Also, lids have a bevel all the way around their margins on both their top and bottom surfaces that must be planed to shape.

The photos show vises you can make out of two logs by hewing one side flat so they cannot roll and cutting large notches with vertical ends or shoulders on the top of each log. This allows vertical boards to be rigidly strained in place by driving opposing wooden wedges between them and one of the shoulders of each notch as shown in the photos. Instead of standing when planing board edges, one kneels on the ground beside the board.

The photos show a finished coffin lid held firmly in the notches. I learned this technique of holding work pieces in the woods from my dad when I was about eight years old. He cut out a wheel felloe for a wooden wagon that was an emergency repair using only a crosscut saw and an axe.

This is a coffin lid held firmly on its edge by opposing wedges in each notch.

This is an end view of the board held in the notches.

The logs are shorter on the left side because that is where I kneel to do the planing.

James E. Price
September, 2017




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