Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 2
   November 2010
   Shop-Built Saw Vise

During final assembly, I noticed an issue with how the jaws might hold a small dovetail saw. The face on the jaws was too wide and wouldn't allow a dovetail saw's teeth to project over the top of the jaws. I disassembled the vise and used a shoulder plane (with a wooden batten as a fence) to form a 3/16" deep rabbet along the jaw face's lower edge. This rabbet allows clearance for a dovetail saw's spine and makes it possible for the saw blade to project sufficiently for jointing and sharpening.

Before relief cut   After relief cut
The saw vise before the relief cut   The relief cut allows clearance for a dovetail saw's spine.

I noticed another improvement opportunity. Plan A's saw vise featured a cut-out to one side of the jaws that allowed it to hold a saw without resorting to removing the handle. I decided to duplicate that feature. I laid out the cut and used my bandsaw to increase the relief on the right-hand side of the jaw assembly. I'm right handed and will most likely always install saws with the handle to my right. However, if a problem arises, I can flip the vise 180° and work from the opposite direction.
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