At the rear surface of the back jaw is a stabiliser bar made from 2″ x 1 3/4″ oak, which I trimmed square and to length with the mitre box and Bad Axe mitre saw. The stabiliser bar provides a means to clamp the vise to the benchtop, and also helps add mass to the back of the vise and so offset some of the weight of the iron handwheels. Because the stabiliser bar is used as a clamping surface, the top corner is likely to take some abuse over the years. Similarly, the back top corner of the rear jaws will also be at risk of knocks when laying tail boards an top of the vise when transfering dovetail layout to pin boards held in the vise. To provide protection (and because I don’t really need any excuse) I beaded both corners with my 3/8″ Philly beading plane.
I decided to fix the stabiliser bar to the rear jaw with Titebond and four very nice 6d cut nails by the Tremont Nail Co, the position of which were stepped off with dividers (far easier than measuring with numbers!). The nails are partly to add extra hold, and partly for decoration – although this is a workshop appliance rather than fine furniture there is still no reason why it should not look good. And having taken delivery of a selection of cut nails from Tools for Working Wood I was keen to make use of the (frankly gorgeous) wrought head nails as soon as possible.
It is critical that the stabiliser bar is fitted flush to the bottom of the rear jaw, and so to drill the pilot holes for the cut nails I fixed the rear jaw between two sets of bench dogs, along with a large piece of scrap against the bottom edge of the jaw. The stabiliser bar was then clamped in position, snug up against the scrap, and the pilot holes for the four cut nails drilled with an egg beater drill. The stabiliser bar was glued and nailed in place, and and once the glued had cured, trimmed flush to the underside of the rear jaw with a No.3 smoothing plane.
I also took the opportunity to carve a lamb’s tongue chamfer to the top edge of the front jaw, although you’ll have to wait for an issue of Furniture & Cabinetmaking later this summer to read about that part of the build. I cleaned up all of the show surfaces of the vise with a card scraper, just to remove any remaining tool marks and fuzz, in readiness for finishing.
The final touch before applying finish was to mark the front jaw with my new maker’s mark from Buckeye Engraving. After experimenting I’ve found that a 24oz mallet gives a good crisp impression from this 1″ stamp.