Sunday, 21 April 2013

Miami Vise

Yes, you guessed it, this entry is going to be about vises. Unfortunately for you Miami fans, the city will not be featured heavily. It actually won't be featured at all. I just fancied making a pun about vises. ( Technically, I don't even think that this could qualify as a pun. I'll check with my lawyer later on and see what he says.)

Without further ado, let me introduce you to my most beloved heavy piece of equipment.

Isn't it just perfect?  Bold, blue and sturdy. I have been working with this beast for more than a decade now. I am very proud to say that it is apparently one of the last Record vises that were built in Sheffield ( UK).
I would have never thought that I could become emotionally attached to a big lump of metal, but I have. We have been through a lot together. 
I will for ever remember taking a London cab with none other than my gravers, hammer and this extremely heavy vise  as I was making my way from the Eurostar to the first workshop I was going to work in. ( Rigby's rifle makers.) 

It is a numero 3 and has been modified to accommodate the needs of an engraver. ( More particularly a gun engraver.)

As you can see, part of it has been cut. This is simply so that it can swivel freely without getting permanently embedded into my chest. ( I must stress that this has nothing to do with the fact of me being a lady. A man would have the same problem if that part had not be shortened.)

The base of the vise has also been completely transformed. A big steely rod has been threaded into it so that it can rotate  360 degrees. That rod finds itself in a hole drilled in a solid piece of oak which is bolted onto my bench. The little pits you see in the wood are not caused by woodworms. It is just what we engravers do just after sharpening the graver. We puncture wood! 

I use lead jaws in order to prevent  whatever I am working on from being damaged or dented by the normal jaws of the vise. I know!  LEAD!!  How utterly dangerous. ( Fear not, I always dress the jaws with a cloth and wash my hands thoroughly in order to avoid saturnism galore. I am a very sensible lady.)

I must also add that many items I work on are not even held directly into the vise as they would simply be crushed by its force. They get the "wax" treatment. ( This will actually be part of my next blog entry so I shall not go into details about it now.)

Well, I think that this pretty much covers up everything I needed to say about my vise! 
I must go now, but first I would like to leave you with a picture of something I have just engraved and am really proud of. A 1mm high gold inlaid letter! Ta-Daaaa!

Till next time,



  1. Katia , I also have a few vices . Do not think any of them may be attached to a work bench .
    Looking forward to your waxing photos .