Bowling Alley Workbench #16: The Wheel on the Wagon goes round and round

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 09-18-2011 05:17 AM 8557 reads 9 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Falling Off the Wagon... (vise that is) Part 16 of Bowling Alley Workbench series no next part

I wanted to do this for a long time and had the parts ordered and delivered a while ago, but one thing led to another and this was kept on the back burner and never saw the light of day. Ironically, it is now finished but still with no light of day as it is almost 11pm… All it gets is the light of the moon (which some may say is better).

I really liked benchcrafted wagon vise (even a free plug for them) But for what it is I think it’s a bit overpriced (for a vise). Don’t get me wrong, for their investments, materials, work done and considering this is not a mass produced and sold item, I don’t think they are overcharging for it. But as a vise, I feel it is an overpriced item (confused yet? don’t be!). If you have the $$$ and this expense won’t affect you – go for it, I think it’s of great quality and and you’ll get a good product. I personally can’t spend ~3 times what I spend on the entire workbench for just 1 vise and so I decided to build something of similar functionality (not on the same mechanical engineering quality – but something that will give me the same function at a doable cost).

The wagon vise was using a simple LV tail vise screw and a block of wood that travels across it and was completed a while ago (see previous post in this series) but what I really wanted to add was a wheel, as I find the long handles on vises to be less then user-friendly especially when you have to open and close them a considerable amount.

I ordered a 6” cast-iron wheel from Grizzly a while ago when I order a couple of other parts from them for ~$7 and using a pin punch I took off the LV vise T assembly:

As you can see, small hole in wheel not exactly matching the large hole on the vise head and will need to be enlarged:

I mounted the wheel on the lathe and enlarged the hole using a 3/8 drill bit to make enough clearance for a boring tool:

I should really get a 1/2” or larger drill bit to make a larger clearance hole, but since 3/8” is my largest metal drill bit, I had to use a smaller boring tool to start with which is also shorter. that means that with the wheel mounted as is, I wasn’t able to reach with the shorter boring tool throughout the hole, and had to mount the wheel the other way. After enlarging the hole enough, I moved onto a larger and stiffer boring tool to complete the hole:

And validated the hole sizing by comparing to the original part:

Not it was time to drill the pin hole. I mounted the wheel in the mill, and since the hole is drilled in a round surface and the drill will have a tendency to slip sideways, I used a block of wood for the initial pilot hole to keep it straight:

I then stepped up the hole in size with different drill bits until I got the 1/4” at which point I slid the wheel out of the way and using a hand drill and a long (somewhat flexible) 1/4” drill bit followed the top hole and transferred it to the lower part of the wheel since the wheel itself made it impossible for me to drill this through with regular drill bits:

Once I had the holes aligned I continued and brought the hole to it’s final size of 5/16” (I stopped at 1/4” since this is the only long drill I have from my days as an electrical contractor) and finished it off with a reamer to make the hole round and even to accept the pin:

A quick check on the vise looks good:

Drove the pin through, and ran it through a little test drive:

works great! no more long handle to have to deal with, this truly makes a big difference and with the tail/wagon vise there is so little pressure required that is just makes so much sense to have it there.

Now just to turn a handle for the wheel… no hurry there as even without one it still works wonderfully.

Thanks for reading,

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

18 comments so far

View mafe's profile


12875 posts in 4065 days

#1 posted 09-18-2011 11:38 AM

That is a nice upgrade, and what a nice metal machinery you have.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View ellen35's profile


2749 posts in 4408 days

#2 posted 09-18-2011 11:57 AM


-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 4394 days

#3 posted 09-18-2011 12:16 PM

Very nice. Thanks for the step by step instructions and photos.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4024 days

#4 posted 09-18-2011 02:04 PM

Very nice!

-- Bert

View SPalm's profile


5337 posts in 4858 days

#5 posted 09-18-2011 02:43 PM

Sweet. That does really look like a nice mod.
Love the lathe.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Bob42's profile


457 posts in 4766 days

#6 posted 09-18-2011 03:02 PM

Way Cool!! Very nice upgrade. I love that idea.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4688 days

#7 posted 09-18-2011 03:11 PM

A very cool solution!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Karson's profile


35269 posts in 5376 days

#8 posted 09-18-2011 03:37 PM

Great looking upgrade. Nice job on the revisions.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Lenny's profile


1688 posts in 4503 days

#9 posted 09-18-2011 06:51 PM

From concept to conclusion, well done! Kudos!

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4091 days

#10 posted 09-18-2011 10:21 PM

great end job :-)


View moonls's profile


412 posts in 3962 days

#11 posted 09-18-2011 11:12 PM

Your combination of engineering, metal working and woodworking skills are amazing!

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View charlton's profile


88 posts in 4385 days

#12 posted 09-19-2011 02:36 PM

Nice. This was exactly what I was planning on doing. When did you get into metal working, though? :)

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6873 posts in 4955 days

#13 posted 09-22-2011 03:45 PM

Great job on this, Sharon.

Nice tools, too!!!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3669 days

#14 posted 09-22-2011 03:48 PM

That’s a really nice wheel. Where did you find that thing? After looking at the prices of the benchcrafteds, I’m looking at alternatives. Nice save. A wagon is a must on my new bench.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4730 days

#15 posted 09-22-2011 04:08 PM


As always, you are able to find the best of the functional and combine with the inexpensive…..

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

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