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Thread: Anti-Rack Spacer Stack

  1. #1
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    Anti-Rack Spacer Stack

    For those with vises that rack here is an idea that may help.

    1 - Anti-Rack Spacer Stack.jpg

    It is a stack of 4 spacers that can make up any thickness from 1/8" to 1-7/8" in steps of 1/8".

    It shouldn't be difficult to adapt this for other vise styles.

    4 Inch Stack In Use.jpg

    It is easiest to lay out the spacers and drill the hole before cutting to dimension.

    Half Inch Layout.jpg

    When cutting the steps check that the smaller spacers will fit freely in the step before cutting to final dimension.

    6- Testing Step Clearance.jpg

    I used a 3/8" dowel with a larger dowel glued to the thinest spacer for added strength. The end cap has an interference fit on the dowel without glue.

    Dowel & Cap Detail.jpg

    To accommodate more sizes a separate 1/16" spacer and a 1"X2" block is also useful.

    16 & 1X2 Spacers.jpg

    DOH! It is likely most may have figured this out, but I forgot to mention the spacers are 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 & 1" thick.

    Also there is a step on the 1" spacer for added strength.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 03-17-2012 at 8:02 PM. Reason: DOH!
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #2
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    I like it. The steps are a nice design feature so you can leave the shims all connected without interference.

  3. #3
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    Cool, practical idea, and nicely done!!

    Thanks for posting this.
    James

    "Uke is always right."
    (Attributed to Ueshiba Morihei)

  4. #4
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    Very nice. I've seen similar designs that use a stack of 1/8" masonite strips, bolted up, like yours, into a "book". That design works by laying the unused strips on top of the bench or vise jaw, to keep the assembly from falling to the floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Houghton View Post
    Very nice. I've seen similar designs that use a stack of 1/8" masonite strips, bolted up, like yours, into a "book". That design works by laying the unused strips on top of the bench or vise jaw, to keep the assembly from falling to the floor.
    I have used those. A few of their short fallings caused me to come up with a different way to do the same thing.

    Often I will have a small piece in the vise to be planed and the spacer stack would get in the way.

    There have also been too many times when I have had to bend over to pick up a book of spacers. My back can get sore from too much of that.

    There were a few trials and errors before coming up with the final design. This design keeps all of the spacers including the unused ones below the top of my vise jaws. It only uses four spacers. The two auxiliary spacers allow the making of stacks in increments of 1/16" up to 3-15/16". My vise can only hold about 4".

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
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    Reminds me of a set of feeler gauges...of course that may be because I have a set sitting on my computer desk atm...

  7. #7
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    I like it Jim. Much improved over the stack of 1/8 stock that needs three hands to set and secure in the vise.

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    Took me a second to figure out the idea of the steps, but once it "clicked", I really like this idea.

    I'm assuming the notches fit over the guide rails on the vise? Does that keep them from falling out as you open/close the vise?

  9. #9
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    I'm assuming the notches fit over the guide rails on the vise? Does that keep them from falling out as you open/close the vise?
    You are correct.

    I had written up about three pages on this and about 15 pictures but distilled it down for submission to a publication's Tips & Tricks section.

    There should be enough here for people to make one fulfilling their own needs.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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  11. #11
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    Lee Valley's is a manufactured variant of a pretty common design - there's been "shop tips" versions of that design for as long as I can remember, generally using whatever thin material was at hand.

    The real ingenious part of Jim's design is the cut-away nature that allow you to use the least amount of leaves and still get pretty much any width (it occurs to me this is almost like binary) as well as keep the unused leaves below the work surface, while still staying put when the vise is opened due the cut outs that fit it over the guide bars.

    that said, I need another spacer stack, and at 12 bucks, that LV one almost seems worth it just to not have to sit around making another boring shop thing.

  12. #12
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    I use a thin piece of wood with a rare earth magnet the size of a nickel let into it, then take a cut off of whatever I'm working with a screw in a steel screw. Works very well. Saw it in an article by Rob Pocoro in PWW - he may have seen it who knows where?

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    as well as keep the unused leaves below the work surface, while still staying put when the vise is opened due the cut outs that fit it over the guide bars.
    One of my problems with the spacer stack like the one LV has is the leaves above the surface of the vise and bench. I would often run a plane into the unused shims. Also they would often end up on the floor when the vise was opened.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #14
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    yeah, one of these days I have to try my hand at your design of spacer stack - I think proper bench dogs are higher on the list though. I'm wondering if I can make your design work with the closer-spaced screws of my jorgensen vise. I guess I'll find out!

    couldn't quite figure out what Sean was describing - had to look up the article; it was in the November 2007 issue of PW, an article on bench improvements. If you do a google search, the magazine shows up on the "Scribd" site - I'm not really sure why.

    Basically, what Sean is describing (for folks like me who have trouble understanding descriptions) the magnet is screwed in a small piece of wood that straddles the gap between the bench top and the the vise chop. The small blocks of wood hang off this magnet because of the screw, keeping them from falling out of the way. Looks almost like a "t" in use. Still have the issue with something over the top of the bench, but because the piece that holds the magnet can be pretty thin, it's probably not too much of an issue, as it's most likely shorter than whatever's protruding out of the vise.

  15. #15
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    Here's a diagram.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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