Manufacturing guy-at-large.

My new (old) Wilton Bullet vise

Added on by Spencer Wright.

As some of you may know, I like doing workshop-ish projects from time to time. This used to be more of a thing for me (my career went from construction to bicycle frame fabrication to running a prototyping shop), but today it's limited by practical constraints - primarily the fact that I live in Brooklyn and don't have a shop of my own.

But my desk retains a lot of its workshop origins, and I keep both tools and pieces of hardware that I'm developing nearby at all times. It's a bit ad hoc, but recently I've put a bit more thought into what I want in my home office - and some basic tools are definitely a part of that.

So a few months ago, I bought a granite surface plate to use for inspection (and, as you'll note from some of my blog posts, photography). I also cleared a bit of space on my desk for a few small tool chests (these need to be replaced with something more substantial), and recently I bought myself a special treat: A 3" Wilton Bullet vise.

I've coveted Wilton vises for years. They're known for being sturdy and well built, and they have the benefit (especially in my current situation, where space is a premium) of being small and having gentle edges. I must have learned about Bullet vises after I purchased my first real vise - a 6.5" Yost model that, according to my email history, I bought in 2006 - and for a long time I regarded them enviously. 

Now that I'm setting up my own (tiny) work space, I'll be putting this guy on a yet-to-be-built (and yet-to-be-designed) desk in my apartment. I got it on ebay for $188, and spent some time this weekend (in my old shop in Southampton, which now lacks machine tools but is still mostly functional) taking it apart, cleaning it with Simple Green and a scrub brush, giving it a light coat of oil, and reassembling it.

The vise does have one defect: The cast iron swivel base is cracked, and needs to be repaired. I may end up doing this myself (my brazing setup is in pieces, but won't take *too* long to put back together), but given the other things on my plate right now I'd just as well get someone in NYC to help me out. If you or someone you know has experience brazing cast iron, drop me a line and I'll bring over beer and trade stories.

I'm excited for this. These vises are so cute and so functional - and it'll be great to be able to do a little more (light) work at home.