Tool: L. S. Starrett No. 162 Series – Pin Vises
Ok, I admit to having no idea what this tool was called until a few minutes ago. The small tool for this week on Toolboxblog.com is the American made L.S. Starrett & Co. No. 162B Pin Vise from Starrett’s Machinists’ Precision Shop Tools. It’s one of my favorite small tools and once you’ve got an assortment of Pin Vise Twist Drill Bits you’ll find it to be an indispensable part of your woodworking shop.
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- 0-.040″ (0-1mm) Range 162A
- .030-.062″ (0.8-1.6mm) Range 162B
- .050-.125″ (1.3-3.2mm) Range 162C
- .115-.187″ (2.9-4.8mm) Range 162D
- Pin Vise Set, Sizes 162A/B/C/D in Protective Vinyl Case S162Z
Finger drill, mini drill, tiny drill? Hand drill is closer. My Pin Vise has written on it:
L.S. Starrett Co.
Athol, Mass U.S.A.
I knew it was a Starrett but I didn’t know it was called a pin vise. Here’s the description from Starrett‘s site:
Starrett pin vises are useful for holding small stock, taps, drills, reamers, scribers, wire, small files, and other tools. The jaws on all are hardened and with a few turns of the binding nut, a firm grip may be obtained. Handles and binding nuts are nickel-plated except for the No. 166 Series.
No. 162 Pin Vises
A hole extends through the full length of the handles so that wires of any length and any diameter up to the full size of the tool can be held. The handles of these pin vises are reduced in size so that they can be rapidly rotated between thumb and finger when filing small work.
I mostly use these ‘pin vises’ as little drills. I love this tool for some common woodworking tasks including installing small hinges in hardwood, predrilling for nails, brads and pins and for making the perfect starter hole for a larger drill bit. I also use my pin vice to hold a scribe point when working with the hardest of woods. Sometimes used in combination with an awl; 1st marking the exact center then drilling with my pin vise. I have a few different manufacturer’s pin vices but the Starrett is the one I use most often due to it’s hollow handle and never failing chuck.
I own a few of these tiny drills (Pin Vises) but they are each different and I prefer this Starrett. For instance, one of my little finger drills is just like those micro screwdrivers with the spinning top. The spinning top is great for this finger drilling application but without the bit being able to extend into the hollow handle my bits would break. The bits can be 2″ long but I usually don’t need more than 3/8″ exposed. Starrett & Co. tools, synonymous with quality, are proudly made in the U.S.A.