• Monday, March 13th, 2017

Ulmia auxiliary vise #1812

Ulmia used to produce this auxiliary vise, model #1812. I first saw it many years ago on page 145 of my copy of the 1977 hardcover Van Nostrand Reinhold edition of The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, where the author, James Krenov, commented that it is “well made and very useful.”

I wish I bought one before Ulmia discontinued production. I have tried with some success to use a modified small drill-press vise, a shop-made wooden vise, and handscrews to gain some of the functionality of the Ulmia. Still, I coveted a real #1812 hilfs-spannstock.

About three years after posting the above links, and missing out on Ebay in the meantime, someone from Germany contacted me to offer a new-old-stock #1812. I jumped at it and have since found it to be every bit as useful as I had anticipated.

The vise jaws are 2 3/8″ x 1″. The fixed jaw is further from the knob, while the other jaw moves on a 9/16″-diameter, acme-threaded screw feed to produce a maximum opening of 2 1/8″. The wooden base is 5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″ x 2 1/2″. The vise is surprisingly beefy for its size.

Ulmia auxiliary vise #1812

The hole in the base makes it convenient to clamp to the bench top, as shown in the top photo, for a wide variety of small-scale tasks. With the #1812 held recessed in the tail vise, as in the photo just above, the jaw still travels freely. You can adjust the protrusion of the jaws above the bench surface to keep them out of the way while planing or paring small work pieces.

It would be good to have this very useful tool back in production. I wonder if Ulmia would consider making it again, or, depending on patent restrictions, if another toolmaker, such as Veritas, would be interested in producing it. I am sure that woodworkers who would own one would turn to it often, as I do.

Category: Tools and Shop
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10 Responses

  1. It looks neat Rob, but what kind of tasks do you actually use it for?

  2. 2

    I’d want one!

  3. 3
    Metod Alif 

    A drill press vise could be used equally well. They come in different sizes. Very handy for small parts.

  4. 4

    It’s handy for working on things like wooden handles, planing small pieces such as a loose (free) tenon, etc. It is a strong vise, so when it is recessed in the tail vise, it can grip larger pieces like a table leg from side to side.

    Yea, I think they would sell.

    Take a look at the first link in the second paragraph of the post, which shows how I modified a small drill press vise to perform some of the functions, before I had the Ulmia. But the drill press vises are not as versatile as the Ulmia.


  5. Thanks for that Rob.

  6. Rob,
    I have had this vise for many many years and love it. I have been trying to find one for my apprentice as a “leaving the shop” present. You said that someone has some new / old stock?? Is there a chance that there’s another vise like this to be had? Send a note if you have contact info you’re willing to share. Best, Greg

  7. 7

    Done, via email.

  8. 8

    I love the balance of simplicity and function on that vise. Looks like it will serve you for many good years!

  9. 9

    Yea, Matt, it’s a great tool. I just wish someone would step up and make it again. I emailed Ulmia a couple of months ago and have not received a reply.


  10. This would be a great little vise to have. I could think of a million things to use it for. Thanks for sharing it.