Harold Hall


The benefits of the Toolmakers Vice style. Harold Hall

I was first prompted to produce this item as an article for the Model Engineers' Workshop Magazine after following a thread on the Model Engineering/Model Engineers' Workshop forum. This was titled, “When is a precision vice not a precision vice” The reason for the title being that a vice had been purchased that did not have the quality expected.  Precision, of course, is on its own meaningless, it depends on the trade. For a bricklayer, 5mm may well be considered precision.


Because of this, I would ask, in the metal machining trades, say aero engines , precision is probably 0.01mm and better, but does the average home workshop owner really need to equip his or her workshop to that level?  


Why then did this prompt me to produce this item. Well, most were saying that the purchaser should be prepared to spend more and obtain a genuine high quality vice. Unfortunately, such comments so often loose site of the fact that many are setting up a workshop on a very limited budget, if not, why are so many mini milling machines being sold. Of course, occasionally it may be a space, but almost certainly, mostly financial.


It was though a comment by the editor of the magazine that brought me to this point. He stated that the workshop owner should be prepared to pay the price for a quality vice and if the finance was just not available be prepared to purchase a budget vice, dismantle it, then re-machine where needed. Having been in that position in the past, it is something I also have had to do, I had no option. I purchased two absolute budget drilling machine vices and re-machined them, also adding a longer moving jaw and keep plate. These proving to be perfectly satisfactory and were used as my only milling vice's for 12 years up to 2005 and then often used even after that, Photo 1. However, as part of the magazine series I also updated 4 drilling machine vices to have the features of a Toolmakers vice, a design that I feel should be more popular, especially at budget prices and larger sizes. My thoughts on this being the main purpose of this item.


Workshop Processes

Drilling Vice, converted for milling.

All pictures can be clicked on to provide a larger view