The beginning of most years, I take a week or two to do some shop reorganization and try to get some of the projects on my ‘want to do’ list crossed off. This year, as a break from labeling my hardware jars (really small screws, really really small screws, shoot me please) I took a break to build the La Forge Royale miter jack from Benchcrafted’s par-for-the-course magnificent hardware.
I think I probably use a miter jack more than anyone else I know, as japanese frame work – with it’s fascination for mitered mortise-and-tenons of infinite variety – lends itself extremely well to the use of the miter jack.
The long and short of it is that it’s fantastic, and Jameel has done a typically detailed and thorough job blogging about the build process on his blog.
I am, however, at a difference of opinion with the 19th c. continent on one point: the crazy clamping block that La Forge installed on the originals. See Jameel’s blog for details on it here – but suffice it to say, while I appreciate the ingenuity of the original, I just wanted a simple block that would let me use the damn thing in my leg vise.
So here’s my ultra-simple solution.
I made an 8/4 platform to raise the jack slightly off the bench top, and to that I screwed the chamfered version of a maple 2×4. The lower block is just over 1-1/2″ thick, about 2-1/2″ deep and 5″ long, which also lets it slip pleasingly into the slot of my tail vise – the other place I use my jacks most often.
There are, of course, some tradeoffs here. I cannot easily position my jack so that either the vertical or miter faces are horizontal – a position the original block accomplishes well – but I simply don’t use my jacks that way. In fact, all I really want to be able to do is work on the faces in the position shown in the top photo. Some of you may have different requirements, but hey – someone’s got to be wrong. Right?