Building my Workbench #12: Leg Vise

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Blog entry by HokieKen posted 07-10-2017 01:11 PM 2090 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Still Plugging Along Part 12 of Building my Workbench series Part 13: Still Upside Down... But Better »

Well, over the past week, I did manage to get the leg vise mostly done. At least as “done” as I’m going to until the final assembly is done.

I had already cut the mortise for the parallel guide before drawboring the leg. So next thing I did was to make the parallel guide and cut my chop to rough shape. The guide is made from a piece of cherry and the chop is the same gnarly Walnut I used for my end vise. I cut a blind mortise in the chop for the guide and drilled and pinned it with some Jatoba scraps. I marked the location for the vise screw and drilled a 2” hole on the drill press.

Next, I clamped the chop in position on the leg. I used a thin shim at the bottom of the chop to give it a slight toe-in at the top.

Then I used the 2” hole as a guide and bored through the leg with a Forstner bit.

(I have no idea what happened in this^picture. I swear those 2 holes are aligned!)

The hardware I’m using is a tail vise screw from Lee Valley. It’s a 1-1/8” screw so why did I bore it out at 2”? Because I don’t want any slop in this guy so I want to insert some bushing/bearings that will keep it aligned and steady.

My original plan was to make bearings from some UHMW stock I have. But then I picked up some Lignum Vitae on clearance a couple weeks ago and decided to use it instead. So I turned a piece long enough to make 2 bearings to 2” diameter on my lathe then bored through it with a 1” drill. Then I used one of my new carbide inserted tools that LJ ki7hy made me in the recent tool swap to bore it out for a good fit on the vise screw.

After that, I cut the bushings to length and then did a fit up with the vise hardware and bushings in place. Forgot to take pics, sorry. Once I was happy with everything, I clamped the chop down and marked the position of the vise nut on the leg and the screw collar on the chop and took it apart.

Next, I chiseled out a recess for the collar on the chop to let it in so the handle doesn’t stick out as far.

Then installed the nut on the leg.

Rather than installing the Lignum bearings permanently, I just drove a small finish nail in each one to prevent them coming out of the bores. I waxed the bearings with paraffin.

Again, I forgot to take pics but the last thing I did was another fit up to make sure everything was still aligned properly. It was! :-) Now I’m working on finish-shaping the chop and sanding/scraping it and the guide. I left the chop a couple inches long. Once I get the bench assembled, I’ll cut it off to ensure it’s flush with the top of the bench and put some cork or leather on the face.

So, the leg vise is pretty much done. I still want to finish drilling out the rest of my dog/holdfast holes before I flip it all over and put it together. I’ve also decided that my end vise has too much slop in it so I’ll probably re-mount it before it’s all said and done. But that’s definitely no emergency and not high on my priority list ;-p

So, there ya’ have it… I’m a leg man now! Hopefully the next blog will have pictures of a right-side-up, fully assembled workbench in it!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

6 comments so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8258 posts in 1685 days

#1 posted 07-10-2017 01:45 PM

I THINK we need to have a workbench swap …....Kenny gets my name ....I will PM you my size Kenny ….. LMAO cant wait to see it finished…....... looks tough and sturdy…........ probably drive a rig on it LMAO :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17124 posts in 3591 days

#2 posted 07-10-2017 02:40 PM

Congrats on being a Leg Vise Man, that’s some fine work you’ve done! Looking forward to the right-side-up shots.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View jeffswildwood's profile


4802 posts in 2950 days

#3 posted 07-10-2017 02:49 PM

Looking good buddy, That is one beast of a work bench.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4405 posts in 1711 days

#4 posted 07-10-2017 03:24 PM

Tony, it’s taken him a year to build that…longest swap ever!!

Did you bring the tip of the turning tool? Glad it worked out for you. It took me some practice to get a really smooth cut/scrape with the thing. You have to go really light. Of course, I have HSS tools so honestly I’ll still use the scraper in that to smooth things likely but the carbide ones sand out easy too I suppose.

Looks like a solid fit with the lignum. Good thinking on that and hopefully it’s “sealed” enough that the wax doesn’t collect too much dust. I love the idea using it. Looking forward to seeing it done buddy.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8258 posts in 1685 days

#5 posted 07-10-2017 03:59 PM

I can wait a year LMAO :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View HokieKen's profile


16022 posts in 2111 days

#6 posted 07-10-2017 04:11 PM

Dave, the tool is just as you sent it. Worked fine and I don’t think it needs any modification. That was a 1” bore about 3” deep and the bottom of the tool just rubbed slightly. I don’t imagine I’ll be boring out stuff that small and deep very often. If I do, I think I’d just grind a new tool from HSS for it so I can leave the “beef” on the one you made. I didn’t really worry about the finish on the bore, just how the screw fit it. Those threads are gonna rub it anyway so no need for a slick surface. I doubt I could get a real good finish with that tool though just because carbide simply isn’t as sharp as HSS. I’d still follow it with a scraper if the finish mattered.

Tony, I’m good with a workbench swap. I’ve gotta do something with the POS I’m building this one to replace! ;-P

Thanks for the encouragement Smitty. Your bench is one that I drooled over before starting this one so I’m glad you approve! :-)

Jeff, thanks for checking. You’re still likely to get a call before long with some sucker begging you to come help him put this beast together ;-P

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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