Workbench #10: Leg vise

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Blog entry by Dan Wolfgang posted 05-06-2017 11:20 AM 2318 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Time for a break Part 10 of Workbench series Part 11: Assembling the Base »

Despite no updates in two months, I have actually been busy. One thing I worked on was the leg vise. I was originally going to make a parallel guide that I could pin at the bottom of the leg/vise. But all of that bending over made me decide that $100 for the Benchcrafted criss-cross hardware would be worth it. I had to cut a giant mortise in the leg to make room for the hardware. I started with the chisel and hammer, but turned to the router to get it done more quickly. I know that I say I prefer to use hand tools, but there are definitely exceptions, it seems.

Turning my attention to the chop, I realized I had a significant problem in that the pin for the criss-cross hardware was going to be impossible for me to drill. It needs to be drilled parallel to the face of the chop (so that the criss-cross stays and moves parallel to the leg) but I don’t have access to a drill press large enough to accept the width of the chop with clearance to fit a short drill bit in, let alone one long enough for the criss-cross pin. So, I had to take this to my local hardwood dealer and ask them to drill the hole for me.

Next, I had to create the same mortise for the criss-cross in the hard maple vise chop, and I did that with only the router. The criss-cross seems to fit well!

I decided to shape the vise chop next. I had some concern about how to cut the curve but after actually drawing it on the chop I realized it was much smaller than I had imagined, and that also meant the job was smaller and easier than I imagined. The coping saw made the cut pretty easily. The curve is a little rough and I sanded it quite a bit before deciding it was good enough!

Finally, I got the Lee Valley tail vise screw installed. This was actually quite a bit easier than I expected it to be based upon the effort the tail vise required. It’s quite smooth and easy to turn, even without a handle!

I still need to make a handle for the vise, and I also need a piece of leather to glue to the chop face. I’m also thinking it might be cool to rout a “2017” in the chop, to show when I complete the workbench. I’m not at all confident in freehand routing it, but I also don’t see that I can justify a signmaking kit only to do four numbers. It’s something to think about more!

Next, I turn my attention back to the base.

Wood review—the bench now includes:

  • Burrill “white fir”
  • Cherry
  • Soft maple
  • Hard maple
  • Red oak
  • White oak

2 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1256 days

#1 posted 05-06-2017 02:33 PM

Looking good, Dan … keep it up! Practice carving those four numbers in some scrape … I know you can do it!

View RickJ53's profile


3 posts in 937 days

#2 posted 07-03-2017 12:01 PM

A chisel and mallet would be my choice for carving the date.

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