|Review by philphoto||posted 09-12-2013 11:59 AM||3180 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
The need for the bit vise is at first glance, not exactly obvious. Many if not most woodworkers are less than diligent with maintenance and sharpening their bits and tools. It is of importance to note that a casual woodworker may not spend big dollar amounts on their bits, however all bits should be cleaned and sharpened, to operate as designed. The casual woodworker may not be aware of the need for maintenance, and some woodworkers just throw the dull bit away. As a retired professional in tool repair, and sharpening, I still have a wide array of tools and capabilities to maintain my bits and blades. Yet in the rush of a project I too will be lax and ignore good maintenance habits. Still the primary enemy of good quality cuts and edge treatments is heat. Heat will also shorten power tool life. There have been several university studies on tool sharpening and the actions of cutting and routing. Temperatures at the cutting edge of a high speed tool like a table saw can reach over 900 degrees. Router temperatures frequently climb that high and higher – all evidenced by the burned marks on a cut. The heat damages and weakens a bit’s edge, but more than that the process of over heating at the edge, puts stress on the motor, armature, shaft, and bearings and that is no small matter either. Some motor failure can be related to poor cutting technique and load stress over heating. When I saw the “Bit Vise” I wondered if anyone would ever spend the cash (about the same dollar amount as a nice bit) on a simple device since it is so obviously simple. Yet all of us know we should not pound on the bit while it is in the router, and cinching jaws of a bench vise down on the bit shaft is never a good idea, and likely to damage the bit shaft. Then the idea occurred to me, that perhaps if the “Bit Vise” is simple enough, and handy enough it will get used when it should. I may be wrong, but – who knows? The “Bit Vise” is very simple in design and manufacture, but simple does not imply needless or sloppy – neither of those descriptions fit the “Bit Vise.” Yes it is simple, you can learn to use it in a couple of minutes. The Bit Vise is well built, of solid steel, machined to precise diameters, with thoughtful additions like a bearing tray and screw holes to secure the vise to your bench, all machined into the vise. Nothing to get lost or misplaced, just good clean design. You can mount it close to the work station or router table, where the work happens, thus the vise will be more likely to see use. Valfor Tools, might have included a good quality 1/4” to 1/2” collet adapter, but most woodworkers may have one already? Valfor Tools created the bit vise for cleaning and bearing maintenance. I believe it is all of that and useful for bit sharpening or honing touch up as well. Locking the router bit into place and the flat non profile edges can be touched up with a small flat diamond hone. All of the uses for the “Bit Vise” will work toward ending heat in the routing process. If you have wanted to be more diligent about cleaning and preserving your bits, take a look at the “Bit Vise” at http://valfortools.com/bitvise/ . You can download a “Bit Vise” manual free.