August 30, 2011

The other day, I stopped by a local custom-jewelry store and bought a vise. The vise is a big, heavy-duty tail vise that looks more than a little tough. It has been used hard, but has a lot of work left in it.

As I wrote a while back, I had busted the vise I had used for years when I tried bending some cold rebar. I replaced it with a similar but slightly higher quality vise. I know it will do fine with the bulk of my light vise work. The problem is that sooner or later, I’ll start working with rebar again and bust it. That’s why I bought the new (old) vise this past week. I know it can handle most anything I throw at it.

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Now, I have to admit, Crown Trout Jewelers was about the last place I expected to find an old machinist’s vise. The owner, Liz B., is more likely to be designing a high-end set of wedding rings or perhaps a Norwegian wedding crown. Her work is stunning, and she has a reputation to match. My wife and I had stopped by to pick up an old bracelet Liz restored for our daughter. While my wife was paying for the restoration work, I noticed this set of vises. Liz had three of them attached to a novel work platform.

I asked her about them, and she explained she had bought them from an older Amish farmer, but was no longer using them. I asked if she wanted to sell one, and she named her price: $110. I jumped at it! It just goes to show that when you least expect it, opportunities present themselves.

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