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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Medieval vices

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  • conradh@efn.org
    ... I wrote an article for the Elf Hill Times (SCA science/how to magazine out of Adiantum) called _Hold Everything!_ many years ago, and I m still interested
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 7, 2011
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      > I like those vices, being a practitioner of most, but the vices I was
      > thinking of were things like riving breaks, wedges, screw vices, hold
      > fasts and
      > the like. In other words, how did medieval wood workers keep that stupid
      > board to keep still while you work on it.
      >
      > Thanks for your input and I'll work on my list of vices that I haven't
      > done
      > as of late.
      >
      I wrote an article for the Elf Hill Times (SCA science/how to magazine out
      of Adiantum) called _Hold Everything!_ many years ago, and I'm still
      interested in the topic. I'd be glad to correspond and share info we've
      each found.

      Of vises in the narrow sense, screw-operated ones, AFAIK they were
      invented in southern Germany around 1500. The oldest illo I've seen is
      the Loffelholz illustration from 1505. That was in Nuremberg; shop
      illustrations from the 1400's AFAIK don't show them. Interestingly enough,
      they seem to have been made by and for metalworkers for a long time before
      woodworkers took them up. Loffelholz was an engineer, not a cabinetmaker,
      and the drawing is from his notebook. Like Leonardo, we don't know if
      things ever made it out into the real world off the page. It's also
      possible that Loffelholz drew and built a workbench for his own shop and
      his own personal use.

      The reason I say this is because there's no other evidence for vises for
      fifty years after Loffelholz, and then the _Book of Trades_ (also
      Nuremberg) shows six different shops with them. _Every one_ of those
      shops is a specialty metalworker, all the vises have the same distinctive
      form and all are being used for the filing of small metal parts. Not one
      of the many woodworkers shown has a vise in their shop, and several are
      shown awkwardly handholding workpieces that would be far easier to work if
      held in a vise.

      It looks to me as if vises were invented by Nuremberg or other south
      German high-end metalworkers in the 1500's, and that woodworkers were very
      conservative about adopting them. I haven't seen woodworking versions
      until around 1700, when they start showing up all over Germany and
      Scandinavia. Roubo a hundred years later is still referring to the bench
      with screw-vises as something Germans use, and urging stubborn French
      woodworkers to try them.

      Of course there are hundreds of workholding tricks that don't involve
      screw threads, and many of them go back way before 1500. Some of this
      stuff can be hard to date, too--a _goberge_ is just an anonymous stick
      until you see it in context, and if the original ceiling and workbench are
      gone the signifigance of its precise length is not at all obvious. An
      iron bench holdfast, if drawn or found, might be one month older that its
      context, or two hundred years older--they don't wear out in use.
    • nelsonhaynes@aol.com
      Great! I am presently working on a power point presentation. I ll send you a copy when it is somewhat presentable. Nigel ... From: conradh
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 7, 2011
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        Great!

        I am presently working on a power point presentation. I'll send you a copy when it is somewhat presentable.

        Nigel


        -----Original Message-----
        From: conradh <conradh@...>
        To: medievalsawdust <medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Mon, Nov 7, 2011 2:19 pm
        Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Medieval vices

         
        > I like those vices, being a practitioner of most, but the vices I was
        > thinking of were things like riving breaks, wedges, screw vices, hold
        > fasts and
        > the like. In other words, how did medieval wood workers keep that stupid
        > board to keep still while you work on it.
        >
        > Thanks for your input and I'll work on my list of vices that I haven't
        > done
        > as of late.
        >
        I wrote an article for the Elf Hill Times (SCA science/how to magazine out
        of Adiantum) called _Hold Everything!_ many years ago, and I'm still
        interested in the topic. I'd be glad to correspond and share info we've
        each found.

        Of vises in the narrow sense, screw-operated ones, AFAIK they were
        invented in southern Germany around 1500. The oldest illo I've seen is
        the Loffelholz illustration from 1505. That was in Nuremberg; shop
        illustrations from the 1400's AFAIK don't show them. Interestingly enough,
        they seem to have been made by and for metalworkers for a long time before
        woodworkers took them up. Loffelholz was an engineer, not a cabinetmaker,
        and the drawing is from his notebook. Like Leonardo, we don't know if
        things ever made it out into the real world off the page. It's also
        possible that Loffelholz drew and built a workbench for his own shop and
        his own personal use.

        The reason I say this is because there's no other evidence for vises for
        fifty years after Loffelholz, and then the _Book of Trades_ (also
        Nuremberg) shows six different shops with them. _Every one_ of those
        shops is a specialty metalworker, all the vises have the same distinctive
        form and all are being used for the filing of small metal parts. Not one
        of the many woodworkers shown has a vise in their shop, and several are
        shown awkwardly handholding workpieces that would be far easier to work if
        held in a vise.

        It looks to me as if vises were invented by Nuremberg or other south
        German high-end metalworkers in the 1500's, and that woodworkers were very
        conservative about adopting them. I haven't seen woodworking versions
        until around 1700, when they start showing up all over Germany and
        Scandinavia. Roubo a hundred years later is still referring to the bench
        with screw-vises as something Germans use, and urging stubborn French
        woodworkers to try them.

        Of course there are hundreds of workholding tricks that don't involve
        screw threads, and many of them go back way before 1500. Some of this
        stuff can be hard to date, too--a _goberge_ is just an anonymous stick
        until you see it in context, and if the original ceiling and workbench are
        gone the signifigance of its precise length is not at all obvious. An
        iron bench holdfast, if drawn or found, might be one month older that its
        context, or two hundred years older--they don't wear out in use.

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