Work Bench Build #6: Tool Well and Leg Vise

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Blog entry by Mosquito posted 05-10-2013 04:17 AM 9634 reads 11 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Wagon Vise completed, endcaps bolted on, and top flattened. Part 6 of Work Bench Build series no next part

I’ve made some progress since the last blog entry, so I suppose I should probably update things here…

I’ve cut some pine up to make the bottom of my tool well. I may rabbet the ends in the future so they sit just a hair lower, but for now they do the job fine. Didn’t take many pictures of progress here, as it was just cutting up a couple pine boards and laying them in the groove and on the shelf.



The main part of of this blog post is the leg vise. I guess I might as well just jump right in with pictures

Some how I managed to not take any pictures of the work in progress with my camera… so all I’ve got are some phone pictures, unfortunately. And not very many.

Basically, I ripped it to width, cut it to length, and roughly cut it to shape with my circular saw. Then I planed it flat, and planed the shape to be what I wanted.

Yup, horrible at taking pictures sometimes.

Oh well, we continue.

I’m starting to realize how poorly documented this part of the build is…

I made another 1.5” wooden screw, and fellow LJ Mauricio was kind enough to send me an excess 3.5” hub, and also drilled a 1.5” hole in the end. I used it for my leg vise. I think he was right, 3.5” looks much better on the leg vise than 2” would have.

Anywho, I do have good picture coverage of this part. Here I’m working on making the garter plate for the leg vise out of a piece of 3/4” walnut

I drilled a 1” hole with a forstner bit about 3/8” deep. Enough so I could easily get the forstner bit started again with out having to use the spur in the middle. Because I then used a 3.5” hole saw, centering the pilot bit on the cone that the forstner bit spur left. I drilled down about 1/4” (I think it ended up being 3/16, or even 3/8” deep in the end, but oh well)

That established the outside edge, and then I drilled the rest of the way through the 1” hole.

Then it was time to chisel out some of the excess waste

A quick test fit with the hub

A #71 to level out the bottom

And there we have it

Now it’s time to cut it off of the rest of the piece of walnut

And cut it in half so I can get it around the screw


And there she is (And yes, the screw placement was intentional based on the grain patterns of the chop. I also cut the chop to size with that as the intended result)



Then, it was time to drill out the back leg, so the leg vise screw could pass through it, so as to not limit my leg vise to a capacity of 5”

Then drilled a hole at the bottom of the leg for the parallel guide

And made another screw (threaded dowel, I suppose) for the parallel guide. I drilled a 1.5” deep hole in the 2” thick vise chop, and then tapped it so I could thread the parallel guide screw in place, and still remove it if I have to.

And here’s the parallel guide screw, and the walnut nut


And with that, it was time to give it a test

Also made a 1” oak handle for it. Continuing the theme of “alternating” oak and maple (wagon vise was maple end cap, oak garter plate, maple hub, oak handle. Leg vise is oak chop, maple hub, oak handle)

It does actually close all the way even with the 3/4” thick nut still on it. So that makes me happy, in that I shouldn’t have to ever remove it in use, I don’t think.


Out of curiosity, this is about as wide open as it’ll go with the current parallel guide screw

That’ll probably be plenty :-)

Thanks for checkin’ it out :-) This will probably be the last blog of the main bench build. I will hopefully be able to find a time to get some finish on it, but that will have to wait until a time I can do it somewhere other than in my apartment.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

24 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8709 posts in 3028 days

#1 posted 05-10-2013 04:29 AM

Top shelf workmanship Mos, a definite favorite.

Thanks for posting the process of your fine bench.

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3603 days

#2 posted 05-10-2013 04:34 AM

Wow it looks awesome Mos! I told you it would close all the way! :-) The two screws really look so cool man. I like how the hub sits inside the garter. And the chop shape is pretty cool. Great looking bench bro!

How easily does the nut move? Is it easy to move with your foot?

12.5” of capacity is very nice, you think you wont use it but if you have it you’ll find uses for it. I know I have.

Bravo man, good show!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 2404 days

#3 posted 05-10-2013 04:35 AM

Freakin’ Awesome Mos!

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View widdle's profile


2072 posts in 3450 days

#4 posted 05-10-2013 04:43 AM

Fantastic…So , you turn the walnut nut to open the lower part of the chop ?

View Mosquito's profile (online now)


9808 posts in 2744 days

#5 posted 05-10-2013 04:51 AM

Thanks Waho. Posting here is part of what keeps me going sometimes :-)


Thanks Mauricio. I did end up enlarging the hole in the chop to 1 5/8” from the 1 1/2” it was originally. It compensated for the wobble in the hub a little bit that way, and prevented it from slightly binding.

It is pretty easy to move except in 2 spots, but it’s easy to move in the 3-4” closest to the cop, so it shouldn’t be an issue. I can move it with my foot, but I may have to make a new one, slightly larger. This one is a little small for foot operation, I think. Maybe if I get used to it it’ll be ok.

I pushed the workmate to its limits, so I will do my best to do that to the bench too. 12.5” capacity shall be utilized at some point I’m sure lol


Thanks Eric :-)


Thanks Widdle. The walnut nut (that is surprisingly awkward to type) takes the place of having a traditional parallel guide and pin. Instead of having the pin, I have the nut which hits the leg and prevents the bottom of the vise from closing instead of clamping the work piece

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View widdle's profile


2072 posts in 3450 days

#6 posted 05-10-2013 05:00 AM

Very stylin by the way…

View Brit's profile


7744 posts in 3294 days

#7 posted 05-10-2013 11:46 AM

Wow! Your leg vise opens so far, you could almost get another workbench in it.

Great work Mos.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Don W's profile

Don W

19289 posts in 3019 days

#8 posted 05-10-2013 12:28 PM

Sweet. A wood nut and a crooked leg? It doesn’t get better than that!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View bondogaposis's profile


5492 posts in 2803 days

#9 posted 05-10-2013 01:07 PM

Sweet bench there, outstanding work. I know it is very satisfying to get one of these finished, it is a major process. Your work will really improve once you start using it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View terryR's profile


7506 posts in 2760 days

#10 posted 05-10-2013 02:26 PM

Excellent build, Mos! From the wooden screws to the splayed legs, I love it all…

This tool should last the rest of your life, and make every project a lil easier. Congrats!

Thanks for the photos and inspiration, too!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Mosquito's profile (online now)


9808 posts in 2744 days

#11 posted 05-10-2013 02:38 PM

Andy Thanks, that made me take a picture this morning… :-P

Thanks everyone. I do hope that I can get some better work done, or if nothing else, just make the work a little easier and quicker. Looking forward to using this sucker :-)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Brit's profile


7744 posts in 3294 days

#12 posted 05-10-2013 02:53 PM


-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2936 days

#13 posted 05-10-2013 04:13 PM

You’re definitely earning yourself a place in the Hall of Hand Tool Badasses. What you can pull off in such a small work area is inspiring.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16162 posts in 3070 days

#14 posted 05-10-2013 04:31 PM

My wife and I lived in a small apartment when we first got married, and bought an unfinished, you-assemble table with four chairs from Target. I spread out a tarp and cardboard on the floor of the spare bedroom and did assy, glue-up, sanding and finishing in there. It was a royal pain, and doesn’t get me to near the experience Mos has pulling off the projects he does with that bench (first the workmate, now the workbench).

There is serious woodworking bad-ass-ness eminating from the Twin Cities these days… Congrats, Mos. Well done.

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

View Mosquito's profile (online now)


9808 posts in 2744 days

#15 posted 05-10-2013 05:47 PM

Thanks Brian :-)

Thanks Smitty. I tell you what though… I’ve contemplated more than once buying some scrap linoleum flooring to lay down instead of the canvas tarp. To say sweeping up on that is a pain would be a bit of an understatement…

Maintenance will be in my apartment on Monday to do furnace/air conditioner inspections and change air filters (which means I should put the one they put on it back on… lol I buy my own, better ones for it). Debating if I should hide some of the woodworking stuff, or just say screw it and see what they say lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

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