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Miniature copy of a 17th c. Hand Vice

Wm. R. Robertson

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A few years back I was spending a holiday to clean my shop and picked up a piece of steel and just decided that I need to copy a vice from my collection….. so I did. First off this vice is sort of special to me, it was owned by my late friend and mentor Ted Crom….. I think Ted really taught me how to collect tools, I once joked with him that by hanging out with him he had cost me over a $ 100,000. in buying antique tools. Anyway he had bought this at Christies in London back in 1979….. he liked it so much he had an artist draw it and he printed note cards with this vice on them. When his collection was auctioned I managed to become the new owner.


The vice is very similar to one in the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles in Rouen France. It is quite small with a beautiful shaped wing nut, the jaws have lines engraved to outline them and there are leaves engraved on the side. The lower sheath unscrews to reveal a wood screw so maybe it was used out in the field. There is a piece missing from the end of the sheath, it may have been a pipe tamp? The vice most likely dates from the last half of the 17th century.




The full size and the miniature




The miniature on my thumb nail




The miniature on a 18th c. watch movement


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  • 2 years later...

I would love to learn to engrave as they did in the 18th century.  I recently watched some current engraving linked to GRS Tools engraving school and instantly thought of these lovely pieces posted on the forum.  These antique tools and antique watch parts are very inspiring.

I need to Practice!



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