The customer pushes on the blade. Nothing. He
pushes harder. Nope. Then he bears down hard enough to
emit a little grunt and the blade moves a tiny bit. The
customer hands the tool back with an enormous grin on his face.
The 28-year-old Australian toolmaker smiles back.
Vesper’s sliding bevels are based on the famous (and
desirable) St. Johnsbury Tool Co. bevels of the late 19th century.
These bevels, which were protected by patents issued in 1870 and
1878, have a unique locking mechanism that secures the blade by
twisting a thumbscrew at the butt of the tool.
The thumbscrew pushes a bar inside the bevel
forward. The bar has a wedge-shaped end that wedges the blade into
its locked position. Vesper says it took him about a year to work
out the particulars of the mechanism in his shop in Somerville.
The workmanship on all of the Vesper
Tools I examined was spot-on.
The infills were let seamlessly into the bodies. All surfaces were
“All I had was a blurry patent drawing,” he says.
“And then, ‘A-ha!’ – I had it! The end result is they lock down
better than any other bevel.”
Like the St. Johnsbury Tool Co., Vesper makes the
tool in a variety of sizes (4”, 7” and 10” blades) and they are
built to a high level of workmanship.