Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Tale of Vise

My patience nearly at a breaking point, I was assuaged with the arrival of my wood blocks and a very nice vise. I ordered the former a few weeks ago, and they simply arrived. As for the latter... well, stories about vi(s)es always make for excellent reading.

Two days ago I posted a wanted ad on Craigslist for a 5-6" bench vise. I don't know very much about them, other than that that is the size I need, and that I used a Record vise at Doug's, and that it was good. I know that these are no longer made. The English company was bought out in 2004 by a subsidiary of Rubbermaid, and the vises called "Record" are now made by Irwin in Taiwan. So I said in my ad, "Wanted: 5-6" vise, preferably English-made Record."

I got only one response: from someone in a distant suburb, asking $20 for a 6" vise. It wasn't a Record, but that seemed like a screaming deal, so off I went. It took me about an hour and a half to get there on transit. And then I had typed in the address number incorrectly, and so my Google maps printout was wrong. I had to call my girlfriend, have her find the email, and text me the correct address. Then I found it at last. And, naturally, it was not a 6" vise, but a phenomenally cheap and pathetic-looking 2" vise, with a big "2 inch" sticker on it. The seller assured me that if measured end-to-end and diagonally, it measured 6". I left, trying not to get too angry, pleased at having explored a new suburb, and having wasted approximately four hours of my life.

When I got back, I posted a "Where should I look for a vise?" ad. I mentioned again that I liked Records. It was at this point that a whole bunch of friendly Craigslisters informed me that a certain local retailer had received a bulk shipment of Record vises when they had been bought out. They had been clearing them out since 2004, and still apparently had some left. After having called every single semi-nearby outlet, I found a 5" English-made Record vise in a even more distal suburb, for $45. I'm not sure I know enough about vises to say this, but that seemed like a really good deal. A subway, train, and bus ride later, it was mine. Now I just need to clamp it to my desk, and await my files, and I'm away...

In other news, I think I will not use my Velo Orange front rack. Its tang limits clearance at the fork crown slightly, but more irritatingly gets in the way of the movement of the brake arms. I might be able to bend it into a better shape, but I also might just attach a forward stay to the rack mounts on the fork blades. That would, after all, be most true to my Rene Herse original...

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