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.
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 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.
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.