View Full Version : Hawthorne Vise

Don Rogers
11-01-2009, 5:19 PM
Sometime in the past I acquired this vise but never used it. The only identification is “Hawthorne Vise” cast into the smaller aluminum wedge. Googling that name produced no results.

At first, using it seems obvious and I have seen other versions of this type vise before. In using it you would mount the larger aluminum piece to something stable using two screws, place the smaller wedge on it, and jam your work piece between the two pieces. It will hold the work piece tight as long as your work forces are directed toward its smaller end.

Looking at the underside of the smaller wedge you can see another screw hole and also two half-circle cutouts cast in one of the rail channels. These are all cast into it and are there for some purpose unknown to me.

The overall lengths are 5-7/8” for the larger piece and 3-3/8” for the smaller one.. It could hold wood 2” wide (maybe a little more) down to veneer thickness.

Any knowledge or thoughts on this will be appreciated.


Roger Savatteri
11-01-2009, 6:06 PM
Looking at the underside of the smaller wedge you can see another screw hole and also two half-circle cutouts cast in one of the rail channels. These are all cast into it and are there for some purpose unknown to me.



My immediate guess is that the half round cutouts and the hole is for inserting a dowel
(with a screw going into the hole to hold the dowel in place) to be used as a handle of sorts to ease its operation.


Don Rogers
11-01-2009, 6:28 PM

I’m not sure that I follow you. The hole is chamfered on the underside which would put the handle on the top side. This would be OK except that the handle would then get in the way, for example, if planning thinner wood.
Also, I can’t see any relationship of the screw hole to the two half-circle holes.

Perhaps I am not looking at this the same as you are.


Pam Niedermayer
11-01-2009, 9:32 PM
This idea is fairly well known although I usually see/use wood versions, very effective and fast. I'd guess that if the small piece (think wedge) is intended to have some sort of handle, it wouldn't get in the way of the piece to be processed (though it may irritate the user) and that one major use of said handle would be breaking the wedge loose when you're done.


Jim Koepke
11-01-2009, 9:36 PM
I will be surprised if Junior doesn't have a few of these with pictures of ways to use them on the bench top with another board to wedge a wider piece.

It looks like many of the wedge type fastening systems in woodworking books and magazines. Most I have seen were shop made.


Don Rogers
11-01-2009, 11:39 PM
Roger and Pam may have hit upon the answer.

Now I am beginning to see the possibility of a thin cast piece screwed on top of the small wedge and having two very short pins locking into the half-circle holes so that a handle would project from the side of the wedge. The handle could be made so that it would not project very high above the wedge so as not to interfere with the tool being used.

One reason this did not occur to me earlier is that only a light rap on the work piece would release it from the vise making a handle unnecessary. Also, any added thickness increases the minimum wood thickness.

It is quite possible that one piece of this vise is missing.

Yes, Jim, Junior may be able to help with this one. I’m not leaving George or any of our other experts out either.

harry strasil
11-01-2009, 11:56 PM
finger holes for picking up the sliding piece, its a crochet. kinda like the wedge cramping system I use for holding boards on top of a bench on edge.


Don Rogers
11-02-2009, 12:14 AM

That might be what the half-circles are for but it seems just as easy to pick up without using them. Being aluminum, it’s very light.

Does “crochet” mean “hook” or some means of grabbing?


harry strasil
11-02-2009, 12:31 AM
crotch - it, like the crotch of a tree , wedged in to hold something.






Pam Niedermayer
11-02-2009, 2:27 AM

Many, many thanks for pointing to that Swedish bench, finally one I could love. Also thanks for all your crochet photos, great stuff.


Don Rogers
11-02-2009, 10:16 AM

Thanks for the crochet explanation and pictures. I can relate to the tree crotch analogy because I had my foot caught in one years ago.