Workbench restore (Scandinavian style) #4: Fixing the front vice...

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Blog entry by mafe posted 11-10-2012 05:51 PM 16063 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Holdfasts and leather grip. Part 4 of Workbench restore (Scandinavian style) series Part 5: Making bench dogs. »

Scandinavian workbench restore
Fixing the front vice.

This part is the repair of the front vice and yes making it run smooth as a dream.
(Some call the front vice a face vice).

We are back at the bench, now with hold fast and more or less ready to use.
But my front vice is missing it’s pressure plate. The really old benches did not have one of these but mine has the slide for it so it will be replaced.

Here again you can see the underneath how it is really just a clamp attached to the table…
The plate that I will be making needs to run against the underneath of the side and top of the legs, so first of is to clean up all the old glue and lacquer.

I find an old hardwood floorboard and draw up the plate and the arm.

Then saw it.
I can highly recommend the Japanese blades for the old frame saws.

Then I drilled a recess on the back where the wood screw is touching.
(The fast viewer will be able to see that I made the plate bigger than the picture where I was sawing).

Then a recess from the back and a long screw with a washer.
(The washer here is a Danish coin for the later generations to find).

Then marking in the center where the screw will go.

At the end of the arm I drill a hole for a dowel so that the arm will be held in place when mounted.

Here you see it under the front vice and over the leg.

Here it is mounted, looking good I think.

And here the coin that holds the plate to the screw so it follows back when turning the vice screw.

Next step is to oil it up with Danish oil and then add a thick layer of good grease on the moveable parts.
And it spins like a cat.

And this is how it looks when in use.
I’m happy.

I made some temporary vice handles of a bamboo rod I had laying around, it kind of combine my passion for the Japanese woodworking into the bench.
(I might turn some hardwood handles later on the lathe once it is up and running again).
Some hemp string and glue makes nice handle ends around the dowels.

Thick layer of glue to soak.

And dry of in direction of the fibers to leave a smooth surface.

And here we are.
Notice the funny mirrored 22 at the end, it was numbers that sat on the workbench so I will guess it has been in a bigger workshop back in history.

How can I not be a happy man here?

End of this part of the blog, next will be making bench dogs.

Hope it can be to some inspiration.

Best thoughts,


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

15 comments so far

View patron's profile


13718 posts in 4418 days

#1 posted 11-10-2012 06:03 PM

WOW mads

you got to be one happy camper

new shop
new bench
and a place to work
doing what you like most

creating and restoring good tools
and techniques

very nice

keep them coming
we all appreciate your journey
and sharing it with us

thank you

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4991 days

#2 posted 11-10-2012 06:09 PM

Beautiful Mads. Every woodworker should be so lucky to have such a nice bench and a place to work.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View whitewulf's profile


456 posts in 4014 days

#3 posted 11-10-2012 07:01 PM

Awesome bench!
Always inspiration, bamboo handles, beautiful frame saw…....

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

View Bricofleur's profile


1480 posts in 4270 days

#4 posted 11-10-2012 07:36 PM

Hey Mads, after such a long time, I believe for you this is not a workshop, but Heaven! It’ll be fun to watch the restoring process. Thanks for sharing with us.



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3724 days

#5 posted 11-10-2012 07:50 PM


-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4193 days

#6 posted 11-10-2012 07:53 PM

nice restoring :-)
like what you did to the shouldervice …. not so sure about the dovel
since I have discover I often place my hand right there when clamping with the vice
but i find out soon enoff … :-)

looking forward to the next installment

take care

View Don W's profile

Don W

20049 posts in 3645 days

#7 posted 11-10-2012 08:58 PM

Nice work Mads. I really like that bench. Its a beauty.

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26186 posts in 4183 days

#8 posted 11-10-2012 09:17 PM

Nice job on that vice. It is all coming together well!!. I hope the architectural job does not eat into your wood working time too much!!!!!!!!!!! jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View IrishWoodworker's profile


159 posts in 5155 days

#9 posted 11-10-2012 10:01 PM

That piece of history could not have gone to a better man! Such a blessing my friend.

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4797 days

#10 posted 11-10-2012 10:26 PM

I must say your life is just about perfect now! You found a good woman, moved, and acquired a great shop space in the past year. Now this bench looks awesome.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Doug's profile


1247 posts in 3838 days

#11 posted 11-10-2012 10:56 PM

Nice simple fix. If only they were all that way. I’m wondering, traditionally, would the vise material have been thicker that what you used?

-- Doug

View KOVA's profile


1362 posts in 3456 days

#12 posted 11-11-2012 03:07 AM



View rdlaurance's profile


381 posts in 4424 days

#13 posted 11-11-2012 09:17 AM

Fabulous restoration Mads! And a great blog. I need to repair (restore) my front vice as well… and to use KOVA’s word…’Genius’... I now have an excellent tutorial for doing just that. Thank you ever so much…

Ha ha… I even have a few of the Danish coins laying around that I can select from, as the washer for the mounting screw.

-- Rick, south Sweden

View KOVA's profile


1362 posts in 3456 days

#14 posted 11-11-2012 04:56 PM



View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4229 days

#15 posted 11-11-2012 06:12 PM

Another great blog Mads. Thanks for sharing the joy!
I love the frame saw, I need to get one of those.
What kind of grease do you use? Do you make your own tallow?

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

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