Workbench #3: Paint your wagon: the wagon vise in Sketchup

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Blog entry by mileskimball posted 01-09-2013 05:40 PM 3776 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Iterative design Part 3 of Workbench series Part 4: Finished, for now »

OK, so the last blog post was long on ideas and short on pictures, so here are some iterations of the wagon vise.

The first concept was to replicate in steel the approach I took in my first Roubo-style workbench in 1991, which had a dado in each side of the wagon that ran along a walnut track screwed in the sides of the wagon slot in the bench. Here’s what it looked like using angle iron instead of walnut:

As you can see, on each side I used three pieces of 3/4” angle iron: one short piece screwed to the wagon block, and two long pieces set in a dado in the wagon slot, forming a track. Call it a poor man’s version of the nicely machined aluminum extrusion that comes with the Benchcrafted kit, but costing $5 instead of $369. The downside: once I glued the bench together there’d be no way to remove the wagon to make adjustments.

So the next iteration involved moving the track to the bottom of the bench, and using a piece of flat bar stock to form the bottom of the track (the yellow parts are the sides of the wagon slot in the bench):

Then I got to looking at the width of the slot – 3”, which is a pretty big hole in the bench. So I decided to cut a rabbet in the wagon and route in a piece of wood to narrow the gap:

But that meant I had to shift the nut down about 5/8” inch, so I added some hardwood spacers below the bench:

That’s essentially what I went with – and with a little tinkering and fitting, it works great! (Pardon the messy shop!)

And from the bottom:

I did make a slight mistake: the endcap is about 1/4” too shallow to cover the end of the hardware. Oh well—I’ll mostly be looking at the bench from the top, not from the bottom.

Now, on to the base and the leg vise!


-- Miles

3 comments so far

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 3524 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 08:46 PM

Very cool. I like the design.


View mileskimball's profile


97 posts in 2520 days

#2 posted 01-29-2013 04:40 PM

Thanks, Sean! After using the vise for a few weeks I can say it’s a vast improvement over my old one. Runs smoothly, and the new handwheel is easy and fast to spin. The only thing I didn’t think about was that with a right-hand-thread screw, you have to turn it counter-clockwise to tighten, clockwise to loosen. My old bench had the nut attached to the end-cap, so the direction of tightening was conventional (righty-tighty), although it made the screw project out further and further as you loosened it. I wonder if anyone sells a left-hand bench screw? Oh well, I’ll get used to it!

-- Miles

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 2470 days

#3 posted 02-06-2013 05:25 PM

Miles, I’m in the process of getting used to wrong rotation of wagon vise handle too. I even came up with this mantra: pull handle towards myself to tighten, push handle away to release. And it’s starting to work already.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

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