Moravian Workbench #4: Turning the vise screw

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Blog entry by Tom posted 09-12-2019 11:52 AM 644 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Setting up the Vise Part 2: The parallel guide Part 4 of Moravian Workbench series Part 5: Vise leather »

Now that the vise is operational, I wanted to turn a more pleasing shape on the vise hub. The challenge is locating the turning centers for the lathe. On the screw end, there were marks that appeared to be centered, so I could use that for the drive center.

However, on the hub side, it was just a smooth flat surface. I used a simple method to locate a good center. I set the hub end on a piece of plywood and nailed four brackets around the hub to restrain it from moving laterally. Then I measured to find a center location between the brackets and drove a nail through the board. I removed the nail and drove it back in from underneath the board until the point just poked through the topside.

Then I set the hub between the brackets and gave it a spin. This scratched a very small circle which was enough to locate a good center. with an awl.

Then it set it in the lathe and turned the hub to my desired shape. I am still fairly new to turning so I took a fairly conservative approach. I may go back on the lathe at a later time to embellish it a bit more.

I like that way the ends look with the lathe center marks and I left a small area so you can still see the Lake Erie makers mark.

The tommy bar is a piece of hickory prepared by Roy Underhill as a sort of parting gift from the Woodwright’s school. Roy used a drawknife and rounding plane to shape the handle. I whittled a couple pieces of maple for the ends and pressed them into a 3/8” hole. That’s is a real special piece for me.

-- Tom

2 comments so far

View MagicalMichael's profile


150 posts in 1029 days

#1 posted 09-13-2019 07:56 PM

Very nicely done. I have just discovered and have been reading this blog series. It looks like you had great fun building this. I hope you felt a sense of oneness with the tools and personal satisfaction with the process… you should.

BTW, your blog lead me to do a little research on how the word garter got applied to the constraint around the screw. The Oxford English Dictionary of Etymology merely identifies it as a band that goes around the leg, either above or below the knee. It is probably Celtic in origin and connected to “gar” the Celtic for leg. I suppose the big wooden screws bear a resemblance to a leg, but its still a bit of a stretch.


-- michael

View Tom's profile


79 posts in 405 days

#2 posted 09-13-2019 08:00 PM

Hi Michael. Well, this type of vise is often attached directly to the leg of the workbench and is sometimes called a leg vise. So I think your research is spot on. The garter is on the leg… Tom

-- Tom

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