Hand Tools Archive

Record Vise Set Up

Greg Goldin
Hi All. I'm new to the forum, but have been woodworking for many years. For some time, I've been using a made-in-England circa 1990 Record No. 53 as my face vise on my older Ulmia bench (like the one Chris Schwarz profiles here https://blog.lostartpress.com/2020/04/13/workbench-tour-no-6-vintage-ulmia-workbench/). I replaced the vise that came with the bench with the Record because the original vise was always finicky and racking. As the saying goes, "be careful of what you wish for...." The Record vise has proved to be just as maniacally obstreperous as the Ulmia vise was. I've repeatedly tried to get it to behave. It seems always to want to rack both vertically and along its length, so that it will grip insanely firmly along the top edge but only partially along the length while it might simultaneously fail to grip at depth. I've shimmed it every conceivable way, to little salutary effect.

I know that the vise is milled in the factory to close first on the left then squeeze tight to the right, and that there is a slight cant to the jaws, presumably to make it grip firmly from top to bottom. It never has.

So, the question is, do I, after lo these many years, jettison this vise (against, I suppose, Paul Seller's advice) and go with something like the Hovarter twin screw vise or the Klein Turbo Twist (a bit Steam Punk for me) or do I find a way to make this one work?

Does anyone know the true secret of making the Record 53 function as well as it ought?

I would build a leg vise, but that would involve building a very different base for my bench top -- essentially, changing the whole damn thing. I'd prefer not to. So, it seems, make the Record work or move on to another vise.

Thanks for your help.

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