Building The Holtzapffel Workbench #13: Mockup of the Face Vise

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Mike Lingenfelter posted 05-07-2008 04:59 AM 5668 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Big screws, no wait HUGE screws. Part 13 of Building The Holtzapffel Workbench series Part 14: Final Vise Assembly »

Here is a quick update on attaching the face vise. This last weekend I worked on a mockup of the face vise. I thought it best to practice on some cheap lumber instead of the nicer wood I’m planning to use. I didn’t take any pictures of the mockup process, but I will do some detailed pictures when I do the final assembly.

I picked up a standard 2×10 “construction” grade stud at my local Lowe’s and started to lay things out. It was good I decided to mock this up, because there were a few things I needed to change. First, you can’t it in the picture but where I placed the holes for the screws, in the chop, are too close to the bottom. When I put the garters on, the garters were right on the bottom edge. I’d like to see a little relief on the bottom, maybe about a ¼”.


Here is a close-up the garter installed around the screw.


The next change will be how I attach what I’m calling the washers. These are the blocks that are attached to bench and the nuts are attached to the back of them.



When Christopher Schwarz attached his blocks to his bench he used through bolts, through the top of his bench. I thought I would try lag bolts up through bottom. I thought I could hide the bolts and not see them from the top. I made sure the lag bolts didn’t go all the way to surface. I wanted to leave some room for future surfacing. I think I went in over a 1.5”, but that wasn’t far enough. After attaching the vise, I played around with it. You can apply so much pressure with these screws, with very little effort, you can pull those nuts right off of the bench! So, I think I’m going to change to bolts, and also dowel the “washers” into the side of the leg to give it even more support.

If you saw Christopher Schwarz design, you might have noticed that he didn’t extend his washers/nuts all of the way to the leg. I thought it might be a good idea to do this. It should give more support to piece that is clamped into the vise. It also allows me to dowel them into the leg, for even more support.

Because the mockup took most of the weekend, I didn’t get very far on the final install. I was able to get the chop glued up and the washers milled up. I had some Oak leftover from another project, so I used that for the chop. I had some Maple leftover that I used for the washers. The next couple of weekends will be busy with family stuff and my own birthday ☺. So, it might be a few weeks before you see the final installation.

14 comments so far

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4399 days

#1 posted 05-07-2008 05:31 AM

I have been waiting for this stage for a while to see how you handled it. I will be curious once you put the vise to work how the independent double screws work out. I am concerned about attaching the garters to the chop as you might break them out if you get racking between the screws. I guess it would depend on whether you ever clamp abnormally shaped pieces. Joe at talks about this problem with this setup.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4599 days

#2 posted 05-07-2008 06:29 AM

That bench just looks too clean! I bet you can’t wait to “mess” it up!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View johnjoiner's profile


160 posts in 4504 days

#3 posted 05-07-2008 06:56 AM

Thanks for the post Mike.

How thick are your washers? I wonder if there is a way the two washers could be combined into one piece and mortised into the top of the leg without complicating the construction too much. Or maybe it would be a bad idea to mess with the leg that close to where it joins the top. Just thinking out loud.

It’s gotta be tough to be so close but not have the time to finish this.

-- johnjoiner

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4379 days

#4 posted 05-07-2008 12:33 PM

thanks for the post. its so cool seeing this bench some together! and its almost done to.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4433 days

#5 posted 05-07-2008 01:16 PM


I am sure that you are getting an adrenaline rush out of this. You are so close to finalizing this that it wouldn’t be uncommon to simply try to rush through these last details in an attempt to complete the construction. I admire your patience with this project.

Thanks for the update.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4705 days

#6 posted 05-07-2008 03:51 PM

I’m with Scott. I think it’s great you tried out a mock-up and discovered the things you did about the bolting and the garters. For me, it’s just as exciting to avoid a misstep as it is to get a project completed and wish I had experimented more.

Great work!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4725 days

#7 posted 05-07-2008 04:07 PM

Shannon – I hadn’t heard about the possibility of snapping the heads off. I’ll have to keep that in mind. My screws are a little bigger than the ones Joe makes (2.25”). Maybe that will give me some added protection. I haven’t measured it yet, but I can get some racking without much effort. When I first installed the screws I didn’t think I would get any with the garters, but with the “slop” in the threads and around the garter I can get some. I don’t plan to count on the racking feature at this time. It’s also possible to run the vise without the garters, you just have to move the chop with your hand. I can see where this might even have it’s advantages.

John – The “washers” are bout 2” think. If I had thought about it ahead of time, I suppose I could have dovetail them into the leg. The way I’m planning to do it will allow me to remove and replacement them if I ever need to. I think I can get enough support with a couple loose dowels.

Scott – Yes rushing can be a side effect of being so close. I did feel I was rushing the mockup. I think I caught myself before I made a big mistake :).

View johnjoiner's profile


160 posts in 4504 days

#8 posted 05-07-2008 05:42 PM

Hi Mike.

I hadn’t thought of being able to move/remove the vise later. Another thing to consider.

I’ll be interested to hear how much you can rack your vise. I’m planning on building a similar bench, also with wood screws, later this year. And I want mine to be able to rack a small amount. I don’t think I’d mind having to pull the chop out by hand in order to have that feature if that’s what it will take.

-- johnjoiner

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 4325 days

#9 posted 05-08-2008 02:46 PM

I want so badly to get a screw kit. Where you make your own. I have in the past created my own but for the life of me I can’t remember how I did it. I know you bought yours and glad to see that they are working for you. I know you will get a lot of use out of this vise.

-- JJohn

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4725 days

#10 posted 05-08-2008 03:39 PM

You can find the tools you need to make your own at It’s one of the few sites that had the tap and dies big enough for what I wanted. I didn’t see myself making a lot of these large screws and thought it would better to have someone else do the work this time. I’m really enjoying the wooden screws. I might pick up a smaller tap and die and use some wooden screws on some jigs I’m planning to make.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4410 days

#11 posted 05-08-2008 03:55 PM

looking great

-- making sawdust....

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4608 days

#12 posted 05-09-2008 02:40 AM

Things are looking good!

Will you be mortising the garters into the chop on the actual one? What length are the screws that fasten the garters?

Also, what kind of shaping and/or edge treatment do you plan on doing to the washers and chop?

Keep up the EXCEPTIONAL work!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4725 days

#13 posted 05-09-2008 02:51 AM

You know, I hadn’t thought recessing the garters into the chop, I’ll have to give that a try. It should be easy to do, with a router and template. Yes the mockup has no embellishments on it, it’s pretty square. I didn’t want spend much time doing that on the mockup. There will be some “decorative” cuts and some rounding over of the pieces.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4608 days

#14 posted 05-09-2008 08:06 AM

Nice! I really admire you’re work on this.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics