Workbench #5: Wheels a-plenty

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Blog entry by mileskimball posted 01-28-2013 03:57 AM 7017 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Finished, for now Part 5 of Workbench series no next part

As suggested, I replaced the steel bar handles from the Shop Fox bench screws with cast-iron handwheels from Grizzly. I’m pretty happy with them, though they don’t offer the same kind of leverage as a bar.

Essentially, I just drilled a hole in the end of the screw, tapped it for a 3/8”x16 bolt, bolted the wheel on, drilled a transverse hole right where the wheel and screw met, then drove in a spring pin. Solid!

The only problem is that they stick out pretty far. If I bump into them too often, I might cut the hub of the screw down past the now-unused holes for the bar handles and drill and tap again.

Here’s the wagon vise:

And the leg vise:

On the back of the leg vise I (and my helper) upgraded the casters:

-- Miles

5 comments so far

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3681 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 04:47 AM

Nice work thanks for sharing.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3615 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 06:08 AM

You probably only have to run into those a couple of times to remember thier there.
They do look good…...................

-- mike...............

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 2477 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 12:39 PM

The wheels are cool, no doubt. I’ve got a 8” wheel that I probably will try to use with my leg wise (yet to be built) if I figure out how to mate it with the screw.

Off-topic but related to your workbench question: what are dimensions of the legs of your workbench? In particular I’m interested in leg the that holds leg vise: it doesn’t look as huge as many other benches, so how does vise work? Any wracking? Do you feel that leg should be wider or something? The reason I’m asking is because I’m planning to make relatively small legs (3-1/8” by 2-3/4”) and so I’m wondering if they work well for the leg vise.

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

View mileskimball's profile


97 posts in 2528 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 08:12 PM

Hi, Yuri. The legs are standard US-spec 4×4 SFS fir, which came from the store at about 3 1/2” square. Just to true them, I planed them down to a finished dimension of 3 3/8” square. They seem plenty sturdy, though I wouldn’t want to go much thinner. The issue is not wracking of the entire bench—that’s controlled by the stretchers between the legs—it’s that you have to drill a pretty big hole through the leg vise leg to accommodate the screw (in my case, 1 1/8” out of 3 3/8”, leaving only 1 1/4” on either side of the hole). I think the reason the traditional Roubo benches had such honking big legs is that 1) they didn’t seem to have very wide stretchers between the legs, instead relying on the mortise joint in the bench top to keep the bench from wracking, and 2) they used big wooden vise screws, 2” or bigger in diameter.

Wracking of the leg that the leg vise is attached to could be a problem, but I don’t see much movement there on my bench. The chop would bend before the leg, anyway. The leg vise works fine—I can tighten a piece of stock in there, grab it, and actually pick up the end of the bench with it, with no slippage.

The way I see it, as long as your legs fit these characteristics you should be in fine shape:
—Sturdy enough to hold up the bench
—Firmly located against wracking by pretty broad stretchers mortised into the legs (I used 1 1/2×6” wide stock)
—Wide enough that the hole for the leg vise screw doesn’t weaken that leg too much
—Strong enough not to bend when the leg vise is tightened.
—Well mortised into the bench top so the leg vise screw doesn’t pull the leg off when you tighten it.

My bench doesn’t move a bit in wracking or sliding (it weighs I think about 300-350 pounds), so I think the legs are probably good for my purposes, anyway.

-- Miles

View yuridichesky's profile


624 posts in 2477 days

#5 posted 01-29-2013 07:04 AM

Thank you for info, Miles. I think I’ll glue another 3/4” board to each of my legs.

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

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