My TINY shop renovation #7: Shop built leg vice

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Blog entry by StayinBroke posted 02-18-2013 03:14 AM 3713 reads 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Pegboard cabinet done! Part 7 of My TINY shop renovation series no next part

Ok, so last time I had finished my pegboard cabinet and was getting ready to start on my vertical drawers, or sliding book shelves, sliding cabinets, whatever. I haven’t quite gotten started on those yet. I was getting ready to. I got a few of the boards cut and was getting ready to start building them when I realized I didn’t really know how. I started looking around at the different types of wood joints and finally settled a couple I’m going to use for good sturdy sliding cabinets. To cut the box joints I would need a vice to hold the boards, and I don’t have one. So with that in mind I decided to go ahead with my plan for making a leg vice instead.

To start with, I’m pretty broke most of the time so I have to find cheaper ways of making things. I looked around at different commercial vice screws and found them to be a little out of my price range. I noticed one thing in common with all of them though. They all had Acme threads. Makes sense. Acme threads are made to withstand quite a bit of pressure and repeated use. Then it hit me. The screw from a car jack has threads like that! So, I stopped at my local Pick-n-Pull on the way home from work one day and picked up a car jack for $7 and some change.

There was plenty to choose from. The one I chose was set up well for adding a handle, and has a bearing to help turn the handle as the cars weight is bearing down on it. Perfect!

Got it home, and tore it apart.

I had some 1/2” all thread I got from the job site and a couple nuts, lock washers, and part of a pipe hanger. The pipe hanger part fit perfectly in the hole at the end of the screw, with a nut and lock washer on the other side.

Then I drilled the ends of the handles I cut to fit over them and epoxied them to the all thread. This pic is before the epoxy.

For the chop I glued together 2 pieces of 3/4 oak, and chamfered the outside corners at 45 degrees on my table saw. At the bottom for the support I made rollers from roller blade wheels. The pin is a scaffold pin I found laying on the floor at the job site. I may end up making the horizontal support a little taller. It’s only 1” tall now. I might make it 2”. Here’s with it nearly all the way open. I get about 10” out of it.

Here it is clamping a piece of 1/2” plywood. It’ll clamp pretty much anything and everything I throw at it. For boards with sizes different from my pin spacing I have some plastic U shaped spacers 1/8” thick and 1/4 inch thick that fit over the horizontal support that I slide between the pin and bench leg to keep the chop as vertical as possible for clamping. Works out great!

-- I'm just me.

4 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4825 days

#1 posted 02-18-2013 03:31 PM

It’ obvious to me that with your creative thinking you really don’t need much money to get your shop nicely outfitted.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View RobynHoodridge's profile


127 posts in 3820 days

#2 posted 02-18-2013 07:56 PM


-- Never is longer than forever.

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4495 days

#3 posted 02-18-2013 11:26 PM

That in deed was a very creative use of a car jack

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View StayinBroke's profile


53 posts in 3462 days

#4 posted 02-19-2013 12:54 AM

Thanks. I’m pretty pleased with it. The chop probably could be a little thicker since it dose bow some when clamping something, but even with that it still provides plenty of clamping pressure for me.

-- I'm just me.

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