Issue 07 T.O.C. – Freedom From Vises: Workholding Solutions From Three Traditions

This is part of a blog series which reveals the table of contents of upcoming Issue Seven. As always, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is come.

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Freedom From Vises: Workholding Solutions From Three Traditions 

Michael Updegraff

If you’re a hand-tool woodworker in the 21st century, how do you secure your work? Do you pinch the board in a tail vise, lock it down with a set of holdfasts, or clamp it in a chain-driven twin-screw front vise? While workholding technology has advanced over the centuries, it may surprise modern makers to learn that these options were available (in some form) to period craftsmen – but they were rarely used. 

Delving into the world of fast, efficient, hand-tool woodworking that was prevalent centuries ago, author Michael Updegraff seeks to understand the mindset of the pre-industrial worker who chose workholding methods that allowed the board to be free on the bench or in the hand, rather than rendered immovable by some device. We’ll look at woodworking traditions from Japan, Europe, and the North Woods of North America that rely on this “free-board” philosophy, and see how tools from these traditions evolved around this style of workholding. The gains offered in terms of work efficiency, adaptability, and versatility can be a tremendous advantage for the modern woodworker.

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