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  #1  
Old 05-29-2007, 04:51 AM
Tim C Tim C is offline
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Location: Cutler Bay, So. Florida
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Default A piece of history

About 4 years ago, I was looking to replace the cheap little ball vise I purchased on Ebay to get started into engraving.
After using the little vise for 4 years, it was time to find a vise that had a little more mass, the little 19 lb. vise I had would twist and turn as I cut simply because it wasn’t heavy enough.

I decided to keep an eye out for a good quality vise, soon after that I was on the FEGA forum and there was a used (You-know-who) Magna- vise for sale.
Someone in Missouri had this used vise that had been picked up in a sale from the Winchester Custom Shop.

I purchased the vise online and it arrived in the mail, it has the Winchester logo stamped into the top of the jaws, along with some other markings.

With the vise came a large block of wood made to hold the vise in a recess. The block of wood was designed to hold the vise, but it also had holes along the front edge, presumably for gravers. The shape of the block is a rectangle, when turned upside down, it has ledges on all four sides that run the length of the block in both directions.

Clearly it looks like this block is clamped in a holding device of some type, that allows the block to be slid in either direction, forward and back or side to side.
With this being the Custom Shop Vise, my guess is this vise had to hold rifles and shotguns as well as pistols, the block of wood seems to offer movement of the vise and center to the whole setup if it were clamped as described.

I soon realized that this block was hand made by the custom shop, it appears to be made out of gunstock wood of some type. There are no marking indicating a company made it.

This months issue of American Rifleman has an article on the Winchester Model 21 shotgun. It goes into the history of the gun and the fact that the last few years of production were basically produced as Custom Shotguns built in the Winchester Custom Shop.

It would seem I have one of the last ball vises that were used in the Winchester custom shop, the article also says that Alvin White (along with a couple others) was one of the last of the engravers to work on the Model 21 in the custom shop up to 1990.

To think I have a vise that was used to engrave those guns for, God knows who, guns engraved on that vise may have been given to presidents and such. What grabs me the most is the history that vise may have, this is far more then I expected when I purchased it. Just think of the craftsmen that used that vise.
I hope some of their talent rubs off on me:D

Tim
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2007, 06:28 PM
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Sam Welch Sam Welch is offline
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Default Re: A piece of history

Well Tim, the only thing that ever rubbed off on me cost me money to get rid of! I engraved a few M21s for the custom shop back in those days. The last one I did (Grand American) was the last M21 order taken by the shop tho not the last one built. They were hard metal!! Sam
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:04 PM
Tim C Tim C is offline
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Default Re: A piece of history

Yea it's the "idiot factor" in manufacturing. Design it until it couldn't be broken if you dropped it out of a plane and then stuffed a reload in the gun with three times the recommeded powder amount. Now make it ten times stronger for the idiot that will try just that.
Maybe you worked with this vise then, I like stuff like this, it's like restoring a car or an old desk. I like to see things having life long after they should have been retired.
I'll try to post a picture of the vise and block that came with it, you may be able to help me figure out a good way to use it with my bench.
It looks like this block of wood was made in the shop, and I think it mounted in some kind of holding device because of the shape of it.
Tim
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:12 AM
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Sam Welch Sam Welch is offline
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Default Re: A piece of history

I like your analysis of their engineering. They sent metal to me and I worked in my own shop so have no idea about the vise you have. If you could track down Bruno Pardee or Don Pend (the two custom shop managers I worked with) you might get more information. Sounds like you would like the two old cars I am "restoring" or rather, rodding. Sam
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2007, 04:59 PM
Tim C Tim C is offline
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Default Re: A piece of history

Old Cars!!! You bet...especially cars.
There is something satisfing about giving new life to an old car.
Old guns and motorcycles are fun too, I've been helping a friend restore
a old shotgun called the "Black Widow", by making a new stock for it.
Thanks for the managers names, I'll see what they say about the block.
I would love to see some pictures of the cars, when you have time.
Tim

Last edited by Tim C; 06-01-2007 at 07:12 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2007, 04:54 AM
Tim C Tim C is offline
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Default Re: A piece of history

OK, let's see if I can post a picture.
This should be the Vise and the block of wood that came with it.
There are no markings on the block that indicate it was made by a company. My guess is it was made from gunstock wood in the Winchester Custom Shop.
It has little feet on it but it also has a lip that looks to me like it was clamped in something.
Here goes.
http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x...r/DSC00948.jpg

It didn't work, I'm doing something wrong.
I'll try again later.
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:51 AM
Peter Peter is offline
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Default Re: A piece of history

Picture worked fine Tim. Very cool history behind your vice.

Thanks for showing it.

Peter
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Old 06-06-2007, 07:39 AM
Dale338 Dale338 is offline
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Default Re: A piece of history

Thats really neat Tim i love old things that have a history behind them.
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