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Thread: Good Fortune and Misfortune

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    Good Fortune and Misfortune

    Hey, folks,

    First, the misfortune: my oldest friend, with whom I worked daily for years, is retiring and heading for the coast. Dang.

    Now, the good fortune: he's not taking his tools. In fact, he's leaving them to me! Hurrah!

    Some of it's old iron: a planer that has to be seen to be believed. Not giant, probably 6", but they don't build them like that any more. A shaper (I've never had one). Band saw and drill press aren't as old as the planer, they're likely from the 70's. A lathe. A Bench.

    A bench, A serious, maple, handcrafted bench. Craig didn't make the bench, he got it from another of our old friends, Ralph. Ralph used to be the CFO, so he could afford the real stuff. The top looks like 4" of hard maple. Seriously well made legs. Those are maple too. For a front vise, a 12" record, mortised in. Nice tail screw end vise. Whole thing's about seven feet long, and heavy as heck. Even after I took it apart, the top stuck way out the back of my truck...

    One problem: I'm not sure the tail vise was every actually installed. It came to me in pieces, except for the handle (I'll have to turn one). It's one of those L-shaped tail vises. Looks great, but I'll be darned if I can figure it out. So here's my question: does anyone have a picture of one, and can you explain to me how to install the durned thing?

    Dark right now, so pics in the morning.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    bill look online for tail vise instructions and you will find many choices.. and congrats on all your new tools but the bench sounds like the diamond of the bunch..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    Congrats, but keep in mind you may be doing your friend a favor also. He is able to leave his tools to someone he knows will really appreciate and use them. That is my dilemma. Getting older I ponder this once and a while. When I go who do I want to have my tools. I want it to be someone that will put them to good use.
    "We the People ......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Sounds like quite the haul, Bill. Congrats! Looking forward to seeing some photos of it all.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Sounds like you are both a couple of lucky dogs.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Sounds like a great haul Bill! Congrats to both of you!

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway
    Pics of the bench, as promised:

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    It's clear to me now the vises have never actually been attached. Not sure how to go about even knowing whether the tail vise is finished. Somehow the holes don't line up, and the wooden parts don't match the bench exactly. Off to take another pic, to show what I mean....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    I think I've actually got one of those inside my bench somewhere!
    But it's been so long ago since I made it, I'm not sure how much help I will be

    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway
    I'm beginning to have serious doubts that Ralph actually made this bench. Something's fishy in the state of Denmark, but I ain't looking at the horse's teeth...

    This post will be about the tail vise. I'll have another for the front vise. So this is what I think it *should* eventually look like. Ignore the clamp and my hand, I'm just trying to so the piece seems to mostly fit, even though it's not glued together.

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    And here's the glued together piece. I think this is where Ralph cursed, and gave up.

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    In this one, you can see that the track is installed, the mortise drilled and chopped. Lots of work went into that. You can also see, if you look closely, the rail installed on the side of the bench. The rails and tracks go together perfectly, and the piece slides well on them.

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    Another view, with the unattached, unglued piece next to it. Odd. Someone went to a lot of trouble, but the pieces don't quite match. I'm missing something.

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    The screw is quite nicely made. Good, well cut threads. None of that cheap modern stuff for Ralph.

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    The screw fits perfectly well, and turns easily.

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    An inverse view. You can see the mortise is exactly cut, and that the piece fits well. Oddly, there's some space, when it's fitted, between the base of the L and the end of the bench, but we've all seen pictures of vises made like that. I guess.

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    There are no obvious identifying marks on the track or rail of the vise. Only this, on the handle:

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    GBE. What could GBE possibly mean? Great Britain Engineering? Green Bay E...

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    No way to know. I guess T! is the model number.

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    So, anyway, I'm at a complete loss. If Ralph is the one who drilled to hole that receives the screw, he messed up, big time. It's as much as a quarter inch off. Also, if you look closely, you can see no-one has ever drilled the screw holes for screws to hold the piece to the tail end of the vise. So my best guess is that Ralph gave up when he couldn't thread the big screw in. What to do now?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway
    OK, so, The Record Vise. I misspoke before: it's actually ten and a half inches, not twelve.

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    Pretty sure Ralph never actually got it attached. I say this because I had so much trouble installing the lag screws, even though the holes had been drilled to full depth. They'd clearly never been fully screwed in. Also, the mortised part was just a tad too small to receive the face of the vise. But there was some blue paint on the wood. Best guess: he tried, but he didn't have a wooden mallet so he could wale on the thing into it pushed into place. Me, I've got a wooden mallet...

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    Installed, and fully extended. It's not perfectly fit, but it's close.

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    Here's the other thing: there's a fair ton of grease on the rails. Nice, clean, fresh grease. No sawdust, no pieces of shavings. Never been wiped off. I'm not sure the thing has ever done any work.

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    Did I mention the very cool bench dogs? Dang. But just two. Clearly steel.

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    That's actually an oversize swiss army knife. It's a big vise.

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    Noticed this tag at the end of the bench. There's no company name anywhere, and I've been underneath it. This is the only identifier.

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    A closer view. Any guesses?

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