Friday, December 2, 2022

Two Very Interesting Portable Saw Vises, Part 1: Stearns

Along with the other tools that I recently bought in an auction lot were these two items that I'd never run across before - never knew such a thing existed.  They're two "jobsite" saw vises, made to be compact enough to carry in a toolkit.  I'm certain they're intended to attach to a saw horse for jobsite sharpening of saws.

The first is by E. C. Stearns.  It's got a screw clamp to attach it to a piece of wood for stability and the clamp swivels out of the way for compact stowage.  The vise clamps a saw in its jaws using a cam mechanism.

E. C. Stearns no. 500 saw vise

Stamped name shows up great after some cleanup

No. 500

Underside shows the swiveling arm with clamping screw

End view of the vise shows the clamping screw in clamping position

Here it is clamped onto a 2x4 that is held in my bench vise

Top view.  I'm holding the cam lever.  Yellow arrows show slots allowing part A to slide
when cam lever is moved to right to squeeze against part B.
Green arrow shows the gap between parts A and B when cam lever is to left.

When lever is moved to right, A is pressed against B and the gap is gone

Here it is clamping a 12" gents saw

And a closer shot

And it works pretty well!  Shown here is an inverted "L" shaped wood piece that the vise
is clamped to; the "L" block clamps in my end vise to raise the work up to better level.

One last thing about this saw vise.  Part A has a hollow area up where it clamps to part B.  And in that hollow is a length of braided steel wire whose diameter (approx. 1/4") is slightly greater than the depth of the hollow.  My guess is that the braided wire has some compressibility and gives a better hold on the whole length of the saw plate.

Dental tool (left) is lifting the braided wire out from where yellow arrow points

This shows how the wire is attached: it's simply stuffed through a hole in each end!

And here's the only problem.  The wire is not taut enough to stay in place in its groove.  I have to be very careful that it's in the groove when clamping a saw plate - otherwise I clamp a big bend in a saw plate.  When researching this, I read that someone replaced the wire with some rubber screening spline (or something similar).  That's an option, but I'm not sure if I want to replace an original part.

This is getting long, so I'll write about the second saw vise in another post.  Until then ...

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