Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Here's the second of three "quickie" projects that I turned to, during my week's vacation -- when I realized that none of my "larger" projects would get completed.  I wanted to have a sense of accomplishment -- of actually **completing** something.  :)

I made a series of "spacers" for my vice.  The screw for my workbench's leg vice is in the middle.  When I'm clamping something short, it's easy to center it across the width of the jaws, so that the left and right side of the jaw share the load.

However, when I'm clamping something vertically that is fairly long, it has to pass to one side or the other of the screw.  This means that half of the jaw is clamping, but not the other side.  This is bad for the vice, as it causes twisting pressures:  the formal term is "racking".

The solution is to hold a spacer in the other side of the vice.  The space should be pretty close to the thickness of the actual workpiece -- although it doesn't have to be exact.

The photo above shows a top view of my vice.  My hand represents the workpiece that would be clamped only on one side of the jaw.  The bits of wood on the other side of the vice serve as the spacers.

More specifically:  I've drilled holes in the corner of many different scrap pieces of wood.  I then mix and match the thicknesses, to approximate the thickness of the workpiece.  Then I thread a bamboo chopstick (disposable!  but salvaged) through the holes, and pass the chopstick from the top of the workbench to the top of the vice jaw -- with the pieces of wood dangling.  This balances the load on the vice jaws.

(Note that this isn't my own invention:  it's a variation on a design I've seen elsewhere.)

As you can see in the second photo (side view!), I have -- as I usually do -- noted the date of completion of the project.  I also painted sections of them purple -- to indicate that these are **not** simply scraps of wood:  they now have a specific purpose!  (Otherwise, I might mistake them as simple scraps of wood, and accidentally throw them out or use them for other purposes.)

Nothing fancy:  given the purpose and function, it wasn't worth the extra time to make it purty.  But, as with the "splitter" rack, I've been meaning to do this for a while.


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