Sunday, December 4, 2022

Two Very Interesting Portable Saw Vises, Part 2: Atkins

Part 1 showed the workings of an E. C. Stearns portable saw filing vise.  Today I have one by E. C. Atkins.  This one was more difficult to figure out how it worked, but I was able to find the original patent and it helped to read it a few times.  The patent, combined with studying and playing with the vise, helped me figure out how it is used.

On the left, is written "E.C. ATKINS & CO. IND'P'L'S"
On the right, "IND. PAT. OCT. 22, 1912"

That ridged area in the middle, uppermost in above photo says "SPRAY", for Charles H. Spray, the inventor and patentee.

More detail of the important parts - will discuss them below

I learned from Bob Demers of the Valley Woodworker blog about, a site that helps people find patents related to old woodworking tools and equipment.  It gets its information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Based on the patent date, I found the original patent text and drawing (patent no. 1042049).  My saw vise is a little different from the one pictured in the patent.  I guess they made some modifications after the patent application and approval.

Part A is called the base plate and it has provisions to affix the vise to a piece of wood.  In cross section it's shaped like an "L" so that it can wrap around the corner of a piece of wood.  There's a countersunk hole for a screw in the middle of the leg of the "L".  On the other leg there are also two pikes meant to sink into the piece of wood to hold it steady.

I'm getting ready to drill for this screw

Showing one of the pikes with the indent it made in the wood

I'm pretty sure the flat spot just above the pike was meant to be struck with a hammer
(Note: here I have it mounted to the piece of wood incorrectly - the pikes
should get sunk into a face of the board whereas the screw goes into an edge)

It took me a long time to figure out how this thing is supposed to be used.  I read the patent application and reviewed the drawing many times and it was still a challenge.

In my second picture above, part B is the moveable clamping bar that swivels using the "universal swivel joints" at each end.  Part C (also called a clamping bar in the patent) is a cylindrical rod that can rotate on its axis, thanks to its smaller turned ends that fit into holes in the base A.  When clamping bar B is rotated, it comes into contact with bar C and the two bars make up the clamping jaws.  The two arches (D) are springs that put pressure between B and C.  Here's how you set it up.

Ready to put the saw in the vise.
Bar B is in its relaxed position - note position of arches D.

Insert the saw so the teeth just protrude between B and C

Then rotate bar B so it clamps the saw against bar C
(View from other direction)

Now note the position of arches D

And here's a closer picture of the saw clamped between B (behind saw) and C (foreground)

And here I am filing that small gents saw - works nice!

Here's a side view of how the swivel works and clamps a saw plate.

Cylindrical bar C is at left, bar B uppermost, D spring arches to right

In clamping position, B rotates left and down, against C, D arches are up

The patent also said that the arches D can be used in another way to allow jointing and setting the saw teeth.  They can swivel to the downward position shown below so that the tooth line can be raised farther above the clamping jaws.

Saw vise with arches D in jointing/setting position
(screwdriver tip (at left) is pointing to the arch D)

Holding a file as if I was going to joint the teeth.

I'm not sure with this small saw if there would be enough room to set the teeth, but that's not critical.  One last thing: there is supposed to be a piece connected near the screw (the screw that secures the vise to a board) that swings out and helps secure the vise to a board.  This example doesn't have that "dog", as it's called in the patent.

So that's it.  A very interesting tool, to be sure.  I didn't even know these existed, and now I have two.  I might be getting rid of one, though - have to see about that.

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