Review and photos by Damion Fauser
Saw filing is all the things you need to do to keep a hand saw cutting fast and straight and for this you need a saw vice. I have been using a Gramercy vice extensively over the past few months and I’m really impressed with it.
It’s a very well designed and made tool. The machined steel jaws are 14” long, so most joinery saws can
be worked along their length without repositioning and handsaws up to 28” only need to be moved once. The jaw depth
means even the very biggest handsaw plates will easily fit right down to the tooth line, essential for the actual sharpening.
The jaws operate by turning the lever which is welded to a heavy-duty cam that in turn opens and shuts the front jaw by moving an
extended arm that attaches to the bottom of the front jaw. The cam action has a steep profile so a quick turn of the lever seals the jaws shut with little effort and keeps them that way. The speed and strength of the vice action make any change fast and effortless.
Above: Blue tape on the jaws makes it easier to see the reflected facets of the newly jointed teeth.
The jaws close along the full length nicely with no evidence of racking, ensuring the saw plate is firmly held. The top line of the
jaws is also nice and straight, meaning you can clamp the saw plate right down at the tooth line and utilise the top of the jaw as a
visual reference for keeping the top of the teeth and the base of the gullets in a nice straight line.
The vice can be permanently mounted to your bench or fixed to an L-shaped ply bracket which can then be clamped on. The only downfall is that you will likely need to shim out the mounting of this vice to ensure the saw plate is held plumb to the ground when secured in the vice. Whilst not essential, this is highly recommended for a good final result. If the saw plate is not plumb when you are filing, you will need to concentrate on holding the file perpendicular to the plate at all times, which is just another thing to concentrate on when there are already
enough critical areas to be worried about.
I lined the jaws with blue painter’s tape to provide a sacrificial soft surface for saw filings to be pressed into, rather than
into your saw plate. Wrapping tape over the top of the rear jaw also makes it easier to see the shiny facets on the jointed teeth when looking down over the tooth line, meaning you can better see when you have correctly finished filing each tooth.
Available from www.toolsforworkingwood.com, this realistically is a tool for the dedicated handsaw user. If however you are interested in either restoring old saws or maintaining new ones, I highly recommend this vice and consider it exceptional value for the job it performs for me.
Damion Fauser is a regular contributor to Wood Review who teaches ongoing woodwork classes from his Brisbane workshop. See www.damionfauser.com
Below: Oil the Gramercy saw vice cam wheel each time you use it.