Another 511-year-old Woodworking Vise


Screw-driven vises will not be fashionable innovations. The earliest
screw-driven vise that I do know of is that this
Italian vise that is circa 1300
. I’m all the time in search of
earlier vises as a result of the screw mechanism has been round since
although his screw was initially used for irrigation.

This 12 months I’ve been delving deep right into a codex that was
written in 1505 by a patrician named Martin Loffelholz. The
76-page proto-book is crammed with hand-colored drawings and
descriptions of instruments, weapons, locks and even a love potion.
With the assistance of some German buddies (thanks Görge Jonuschat!),
we’ve transliterated and translated a lot of the codex.

I’m presently writing a e-book in regards to the workbenches that
Loffelholz illustrated within the codex, however there’s numerous
different nice stuff in there that I’m going to share right here.

Exhibit A is from web page 33 of the codex and illustrates a
moveable vise that may grip stuff when it’s above the work
floor. Such a vise is nice for close-up work (suppose: noticed
sharpening) and was a typical fixture in retailers within the 19th and
early 20th centuries. Try
this version
from Previous Salem’s workshop. The vise additionally
seems in catalogs from the early 20th century, corresponding to this
one from
La Forge Royale


The Loffelholz vise is a little bit of a puzzle. Did Loffelholz invent
it? Or (extra doubtless) is it one thing that he noticed in a workshop
and drew in his codex? The interpretation of the textual content that goes
with the drawing is as such:

High textual content: “This screw tightens from this facet.”

Center textual content: “This screw from the opposite facet.”

Decrease textual content: “A Vise you might screw or pin to something.”

So we are able to say that the vise is moveable (the sharp pin on the
finish of the chop is a lifeless giveaway). And that it screws from
each side. It jogs my memory of a handscrew particularly in that it
tightens from each side.


Additionally value noting: the vise has steel jaws. And the
garter-looking factor is a thriller to me. I’m at a loss as to
why the vise would want a garter there, except it was the
gadget that engaged the highest screw. However that may be bizarre
as a result of the vise would appear to work higher if the highest screw
had been mounted within the entrance jaw.

The one strategy to reply these questions is to take a position wildly
on an web message board. No. Strike that. The one strategy to
reply these questions is to construct the factor.

The boys at Benchcrafted are constructing a vise much like this,
which they name their
Hi Vise
. Nevertheless it’s extra like the fashionable French variations than
the 1505 model. So I might need one other challenge forward of me
that may fail (once more) to profit my household. Consuming off a bench
– or a vise – isn’t simple.

— Christopher Schwarz

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