Workbench Build - Splayed leg French Bench #16: Leg Vise Part 1

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Blog entry by Mauricio posted 12-22-2012 02:51 PM 8458 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Wooden Screws - The Last Word Part 16 of Workbench Build - Splayed leg French Bench series Part 17: Leg Vise Part 2 »

Welcome back to my blog series folks. Thanks for following along on this long journey of mine.

It’s hard to believe I started cutting up the parts for my top in January. It’s taken me almost a year. However there were some detours taken along with way on other project. I’m in the home stretch now!

I needed a hub for the screw. One of the luxuries of making your own screws is that you can make the hub out of any wood you want. I went with some QSWO I had left from my stretchers. I think it makes a softer contrast than maple against the walnut chop I’ll be using.

I’m pretty proud of the gain match on the glue up. It looks almost like one piece of wood.
I went with a subtle concave along the length and sanded it up to 400 grit.

Drilled a hole in the hub, turned the screw to fit, and glued it in. I use axle keys as set up block a lot, you can get them cheap at Ace hardware.
These are 3/8”, I used them to make sure I kept my garter groove at the right width.

I like how it came out.

My walnut vise chop netted out to 1.75” thick after surfacing both faces. I thought that looked thin so…

Resawed about another 1” off the rest of the board to laminate on to the board in the previous pic.

Glued that up.

Now we have the aesthetical beefiness! Or ”gravity” if you prefer ScottyB. ;-p

Then after some cleanup we have this. I also trimmed the board to have the grain pattern of the wood centered. I drilled the hole for the screw in a knot so hopefully it will look like the grain flows around the hub

Then drilled a hole for the screw, inserted the screw and screwed it into the leg, marked out the location for the lower screw, then drilled that hole.

And when we put both together?! Voila!

A functioning leg vise! I’m stoked!

How does it hold you might ask? Like a Boss!

I will be gluing on some leather, for now I tested it with non-slip drawer liner. Here I’m testing out clampling a 3/4” board with a 1.5” “nut” in the parallel guide. I’m still working out the details of that part.

However with very little cranking the hold is amazingly strong. I can jump on this board and it doesn’t budge!

Next up: Shaping the chop, Jatoba garter (thanks again BrandonW), and the nut for the parallel guide.

Thanks for watching and sharing in the joy folks!

Merry Christmas,


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

25 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16190 posts in 3129 days

#1 posted 12-22-2012 03:31 PM

Maur, the whole leg vise holding power thing is crazy strong, as you’re finding out. What a vise you’ve made! Simply outstanding, well done! Bench is looking awesome, and reeks of aesthetic beefiness. Some incredible projects are going to be all the more possible with that tool at the ready.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View AnthonyReed's profile


10105 posts in 2951 days

#2 posted 12-22-2012 03:56 PM

That hub came out so nice Mauricio. Congrats on having a leg vise now, that is awesome. Always a pleasure to see your work.

-- ~Tony

View Don W's profile

Don W

19336 posts in 3078 days

#3 posted 12-22-2012 04:49 PM

man that looks nice. Its got a massive appearance.

will be watching how you will be turning the bottom screw?

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

View LukieB's profile


966 posts in 2840 days

#4 posted 12-22-2012 05:06 PM

Wow Maur, it looks awesome. I’m also curious about the bottom screw?

-- Lucas, "Someday woodworks will be my real job, until then, there's this"

View Mosquito's profile


9861 posts in 2803 days

#5 posted 12-22-2012 05:23 PM

Nice work Mauricio. The hub came out excellent, and the leg vise looks great so far.

Have you figured out what you’re going to do for the bottom nut yet? And are you going to try recessing it into the leg?

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3662 days

#6 posted 12-22-2012 05:43 PM

Thanks guys for all your comments.

The lower screw wont turn, it will have a nut on it that you flick with your foot to adjust the chop so its parallel to the leg.

So instead of having to move a pin as with typical leg vises, you spin a nut with your foot. The other advantage to it is that its infinitely adjustable.

The problem is that because my screw is 2tpi, and I want a nut that has at least 3 threads in it for strength, that means I need a nut that is 1.5” thick. This is an issue when clamping thinner boards.

The Shaker bench in Landis’ book has a 3/4” nut (4tpi screw), a difference of 3/4 is not an issue and that slight toe in actually works fine.

I’m thinking I will add a 1” “clamping pad to the top instead of trying to cut a recess or something to make room for the nut. I may double stick tape in on and try it out for a while before committing.

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

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2996 days

#7 posted 12-22-2012 05:48 PM

I think I understand the lower screw mechanism….maybe? I’m interested to see how it really works.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3662 days

#8 posted 12-22-2012 05:50 PM

I may have to make video once i get it working.

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

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


8770 posts in 3087 days

#9 posted 12-22-2012 05:51 PM

A foot flicker, pure genius once again.

Carry on.

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3113 days

#10 posted 12-22-2012 07:40 PM

Fantastic Mauricio! Great work on this entire project and that leather is gonna make it even better. I use a strip of that on my shave horse so that’s a really good idea and way to go for extra grip. Awesome journey, enjoy the bench, enjoy your holiday and all the best to you and yours! Have fun!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3662 days

#11 posted 12-22-2012 09:13 PM

Thanks Wahoo, but unfortunately I cant take credit for the idea. It doesnt seem very common in period benches, I hope I dont find out why the hard way. :-)

Joe, thanks, how did you stick your leather on? I read somewhere where someone used double stick carpet tape instead of cement. I thought it might be worth a try.

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

View terryR's profile


7536 posts in 2819 days

#12 posted 12-23-2012 12:27 AM

Awesome! Love seeing it all come together…especially with the added aesthetical beefiness. That leg vise certainly looks powerful…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3109 days

#13 posted 12-23-2012 02:49 AM

It looks great Mauricio. Thanks for sharing along the journey. Really looks like a build a man could be proud of.

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3351 days

#14 posted 12-23-2012 03:29 PM

That is looking sweet.
Nice job.
Cant wait to see it in action.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4088 days

#15 posted 12-23-2012 03:31 PM

Good work impressive.

showing 1 through 15 of 25 comments

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