Williamsburg saw sharpening vise–with plan
SketchUp master Tim Killen recreates an antique saw vise both virtually and in his shop
This is the 14th consecutive year that I’ve attended the Colonial Williamsburg conference Working Wood in the 18th C. This year was especially engaging and educational as it included a great diversity of skills, tools, techniques.
An early highlight, was participation in a pre-conference workshop An Introduction to Hand Saw Sharpening. This was ably led by two Williamsburg craftsman, Brian Weldy and Edward Wright.
The conference took place in the Cabinetmakers Shop as shown below. Inside there was a bench and special saw sharpening vice for each participant.
Here was my place and the dull blade captured in this unique saw vice.
I was anxious to re-create this vice and, upon returning home, started modeling in SketchUp. In previous Design. Click. Build. blogs, both Dave and I have demonstrated the Photo Match capability in SketchUp, so I won’t go into details of this process. But here you can see some steps for this project.
Bill Pavlak, Williamsburg Master Cabinetmaker, sent me additional pictures and below you can see the photo used for my Photo Match. In red, you can see the outline of my tracing over edges of the photo in SketchUp. I also made Groups of the ultimate components, Arms, Base, and Jaws.
Here is the rough model as created by the Photo Match. Note the wild dimension on the length of the Jaws. I hadn’t resized the photo before modeling. The next step was guessing a dimension and resizing the model. SketchUp makes this very easy with a couple keyboard taps, all components and the picture are proportionally changed based on that one dimension guess.
I sent the following orthographic representation of the model to Bill Pavlak and Brian Weldy for review of dimensions.
Brian returned a marked-up version of the above drawing with the actual dimensions. So then I was able to quickly make the appropriate modifications. Below is the result. Note there are two versions. The Base is changed to be held in a workbench vice or by clamps directly on the workbench surface.
I’ve prepared a 7-page PDF of the drawing that includes dimensional details for each of the components. This PDF can be downloaded from the link below.
Note that Matt Sanbury, a Williamsburg Carpenter is the original designer of this saw vice.
by Tim Killen