Monday, July 28, 2008
Getting To Know Roubo-Part 1
It's been a couple weeks since I finished the bench, and I've had a couple opportunities to put the vises and workholding to some basic tests. Here's my first observations about the bench. More are sure to follow.
I recently reviewed a thin bladed marking knife from Czeck Edge Hand Tool. I did a quick sample joint using hand cut dovetails to test the knife, and in the process the tail vise saw some action. The tail vise is performing just as I had hoped. It works flawlessly. It clamps boards up to 8" wide in the leather-lined jaws with ease, and holds them there without hesitation while cutting dovetails. I love it. There is one issue with the vise, and I was anticipating it. In fact, Scott Landis mentions it in the Workbench Book as the last comment in his write-up of the Powell vise. The problem is with the operation of the screw itself. It's the reverse of what we're used to. This vise is lefty-tighty. And that's the problem. I've only used the vise for a few hours, but in that short time I opened and closed the vise dozens of times. And every time, without fail, I either had to stop and think about which way to turn it, or I flat-out turned it the wrong way. The question is, will I get used to it? Frankly, I don't care, since I don't want to get used to it. The thing is, if it was my only vise, I probably would. But all of the vises, clamps, and handwheels in a shop are all right hand threads. I don't think I'm going to ever train my mind for that one odd movement. So what's the solution? Well, I've already talked to my machinist friend who's looking into Acme screws and nuts, left hand thread of course. So in the next few weeks I'm hoping to have this little issue licked, and then I will have the ultimate tail vise.