Brooklyn Vise Squad

Woodworking in America and the Gramercy Saw Vise

Linda and I just returned from the Woodworking in America Conference at Valley Forge. The Popular Woodworking Magazine gang did us all proud once again, putting on a well-planned, well-executed show. It’s always a treat to see old friends and make new ones.  As the greater Philadelphia area has an abundance of wonderful things we stayed a couple of extra days visiting as many of them as our tired feet would allow (I’ll try to post about the Mercer Museum and the Wanamaker Organ when I get the photos organized). Our thanks to everyone at PWW for such a great opportunity and to all of you who attended. We sincerely hope it was worth the effort. I know it was for us.

Across the marketplace aisle from the HOCK TOOLS booth were Joel and Tim from Tools for Working Wood and Gramercy Tools. In the interest of full disclosure I’ll say right up front that these two are friends of mine. I can say without reservation that Joel knows more about the history of woodworking and its tools than anyone I’ve met (except maybe Chris Schwarz). And Tim is a remarkably talented designer — both in the graphic and mechanical arts.

Happy in Valley Forge
Joel and Tim at WIA, Valley Forge

I have this hunch that the two of them were daydreaming one day about making saw vises. Joel says something like, “you know, like the Wentworth vise we like so much.” Tim heads for the computer and CADs one up. Next thing you know, a classic cast-iron saw vise has been re-imagined and re-created in heavy-gauge sheet metal that works the way a saw vise should and looks good doing it:

The Gramercy Saw Vise
The Gramercy Saw Vise

The cylindrical part has a spiral slot that, when rotated, bears against the vee-shaped arm. The vee-shaped arm levers out, closing the jaws with considerable mechanical advantage. A few degrees of twist applies plenty of muscular squeeze to hold the saw securely.

There are more details in Joel’s blog entries about the vise here: and here:

A bewildering variety of classic saw vises are available now and then on the used market, some better than others. New ones, not so much. It’s not a big job for a woodworker to make one, either. But if you’re looking to buy a quality saw vise, the Gramercy Saw Vise is a solid, well-designed, well-made, affordable vise that will hold up under the roughest use through several lifetimes and look good on the bench. Nice work, guys. And it was good to see you again.

Author: Ron Hock

Owner of HOCK TOOLS (.com) and author of "The Perfect Edge, the Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers"

8 thoughts on “Brooklyn Vise Squad”

  1. Ron,

    What a team Joel and Tim make! I had met Joel before, but not Tim. Both great guys. The new saw vise is great.

    It is great to see you writing writing a blog. I look forward to what I am certain will be wonderful content!

    Sandy and I had a terrific time with you and Linda during our short visit in Valley Forge, and look forward to doing so again in the future.

    — Al Navas

  2. Ron,

    I am glad you finally decided to blog. I think there is a wealth of information in all of the toolmakers out there and I love it when you share. Looking forward to the book coming out later this year and thanks for the many plane irons that grace my old Stanleys.

    Best Regards, Josh

  3. Ron,
    So excited for your soon to be released book, but more so about the new blog. What a great opportunity to peek inside the mind of a metallurgical demi-god. I wholeheartedly agree with your statements about Joel and Tim. A huge wealth of knowledge between them. I spoke with Joel for the better part of an hour about his new “Joiner and Cabinetmaker” book. And I broke down and bought the vise. Anxiously awaiting it’s arrival as we speak.

  4. Ron,
    Glad you now have a blog, I am very interested in reading each new post you make, although I do have one suggestion. Could you please increase the size of your type? Even with my glasses, it is to small for me to read comfortably, dang, I hate getting old!

  5. captjack,

    A suggestion if I may: If you use Windows, hold down the CTRL key while using the scroll button on your mouse. It increases/decreases the font size. Scrolling the button forward will increase the font size, and backward will reduce it.

    — Al Navas

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