A Gunsmith Has Gotta Have Vises

Vices or vises, here is a look at what’s in my shop!

by Dick Maheu

If I have a gunsmithing vice, it would be the number of vises I own. I suppose I could be accused of overkill when it comes to bench and machine vises in my workshop, however, I will explain (justify?) my reasons for having so many and how and why I utilize each and every one of them.

Gunsmithing books seem to only touch lightly on the subject of vises and then move on to more heady subjects. It’s unknown who fashioned the very first vise out of iron, but many have come since that enterprising soul laid out his plans and put them to device. It’s safe to say that Adam and Eve, or whatever other cavemen you prefer, found they could secure or steady something simply by putting it between two heavy rocks to deal with it. Today, we are greatly privileged to have a vast array of vises to choose from for our gunsmithing work from a variety of sources. Where I can remember, I will list the sources where I procured my vises. I’m sure that many excellent gunsmiths over the years have done all of their work with possibly only one or two bench vises in their shops. I personally like to make things easier for myself and find different sizes and shapes of vises satisfy my needs quite well. I have owned well over 40 various vises, although many of those have come and gone due to moves, downsizing, and such.

Read more in the March 2017 issue.

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