I have a friend named Sjoerd who works for Valfor Tools. He sent over one of their tools recently, and he asked for my feedback on it.
It’s a pretty simple looking device, but when it comes to working with router bits, it sure does come in handy. It’s called the BitVise, and it provides a very valuable third hand when it comes to router bit maintenance. Think about it – a rabbeting bit set may have multiple bearings to adjust the depth of cut. A reversible frame and panel door bit. A slot cutting set. How do you get a good grip on the shank to work with the bit while doing the delicate work of holding on to the bit, the screw and the washers that come with the set while you make the changes?
This tool just might be the answer.
It’s a substantial piece of milled stainless steel with a slit milled into it with a pair of holes in that slit. One is for 1/2″ inch shank router bits, the other for 12 mm shanks. The slit in the block is opened and closed by a bolt, which allows the bit to be inserted and then tightened down on a shank. If you also work with 1/4 or 8 mm shank bits, you will need to use a reducer in those holes to get a grip on the shank.
The top has three holes for you to mount the vise on a bench, eliminating the possibility you may dump the entire setup onto the floor. There are also two milled channels on the top, where you can rest those small bits of hardware until you need them.
With a bit set firmly into place – like this mega rabbet kit I got from Infinity Tools, it’s now a simple task to break out the allen wrench to change the bearings. Since I don’t have to worry about the bit slipping out of a regular vise or hardware dropping into the cooling vents of the router, I can work with more confidence on the bit set up.
Now, imagine doing other tasks like cleaning pitch off the cutters, or passing a diamond hone over the carbide edges a few times to ensure they are sharp and ready to go for the next use. Sure, it may be a one-trick pony, but the one trick it does is pretty handy.