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Woodworking Tools

Freestanding Bench Vise holding a wooden door on its edge

Over the years I’ve owned an extensive range of woodworking tools ranging from used equipment purchased from second-hand shops through to brand new Trades quality equipment. During that time I learnt how to spot good quality items, to help reduce maintenance and ensure a long tool life. Chisels and hand wood planers are some in particular, since they are woodworking hand tools that need constant maintenance to keep the blades sharp and chip free.

Some of the better quality chisels and hand planes I've owned were second hand; no doubt made pre 1960 when tool steel quality was often more important than turnover. Good quality chisel steel contains plenty of carbon allowing it to hold a sharp edge for longer. Its important not to overheat these blades when sharpening them or it will reduce the integrity of the metal and make them brittle or in some cases reduce the hardening effect of the carbon. Always keep a container of water on hand to cool the blades frequently when using power tools for the initial resharpen/reshape process.

Stone finishing for all types of carving tools and blades is highly recommended to improve the quality of the work and prolong the life of the edge. Because the OZ-Vice by Bench Pro vice comes with hard jaw covers, you can firmly hold the blades still while sharpening them without risk of damage to the vice from the exceptionally hard blade steel. I find its easier to keep the sharpening stone on a level plane than the item being sharpened since its easier to gauge the stones angle by eye due to its size. This helps avoid rounding the sharp edge from wrist movement during the final sharpening process.

Wooden mitred frame joint held by the upper and lower surfaces of the bench vise jaws. The bench vise is attached to a wooden door for a work bench.

Wood carving tools like chisels, wood planes, routers and dremel systems can exert a fair amount of force on the material that’s being worked and keeping the job still and firmly in position is usually very important to the end result. The soft jaw covers are designed to avoid bruising the item being clamped while still maintaining an equal if not better grip on the object. If its a larger item like a doorway or cupboard door that requires fitting for instance, the challenge is in holding it on its edge for long enough to chisel or route hinge and striker recesses without the door falling over and damaging itself or a section of wall.

Unless you install doors professionally its unlikely you would have a door jig on hand. The OZ-Vice  can be a handy helper on jobs like this since it can be mounted to any horizontally or vertically aligned surface like the edge or leg of a workbench or even sitting on the floor clasping the door in the vice jaws (acting as a horizontal stabiliser for the door while its being worked on).

For fine decorative and precision carving jobs, holding the item still is an even bigger challenge since it becomes imperative that the item remain perfectly still during the carving process. Dovetail joins are a good example, while its not strictly carving as such it usually involves the precision use of chisels and saws or possibly a routing tool or dremel like equipment.

The OZ-Vice makes the perfect complement to any woodworking tool kit and can be used to assist with maintaining your tools and assisting with manufacture and repair jobs. The OZ-Vice is a multi-purpose portable clamping system designed for a wide range of uses and job types and is widely used by home handymen, hobbyists and professionals alike.


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Bench Pro 2000 Bench Vice joining a mitred corner. Multi-purpose woodworking tool for clamping
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