Leg Vice

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Project by Jim Rowe posted 08-07-2016 04:29 PM 2808 views 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was very impressed by Kiefer’s Leg Vice ( which he posted earlier and he very kindly sent me some extra pictures of the basic assembly so that I could get an idea of the build. Using these pictures and some imagination I built my own version using off the shelf redwood for the frame and a collection of pieces from my wood pile for the chop and the vice jaws. It was time to replace my old Paramo vice which was very prone to racking.
I used 20mm trapezoidal rod secured and suspended in appropriate nuts and bearings to give a smooth function. The thrust plate attached to the hub uses UHMW plastic and runs against a similar piece on the chop. One complete turn of the hand wheel moves the jaws about 4mm.
The handle was made using a tricast weightlifting weight (2.5kgs) to which I added three “handles” made from off the shelf file handles – I don’t have a lathe so these provided a good cheap solution.
The frame is made from three laminations of 90×19mm redwood so is quite meaty!
The jaws themselves were made from some figured ash that was part of the same boards that I used for my bench top some years ago. The jaws are lined with 3mm latigo leather and I also made some jaw inserts from aluminium angle in case I want to hold any pieces of metal.
The jaws open to about 250mm and have a similar depth. The grip they exert is quite impressive and it is quite incredible how much pressure you can exert from the handle. Significantly the jaws do not sag when they are opened and there is no racking if small items are gripped off centre.
The biggest problem I encountered was sourcing the threaded rod as most retail suppliers seem to produce only small pieces for use in CNC printers – my threaded rod is almost 700mm long and 20mm in diameter.

Any comments or questions appreciated. Thanks for looking.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

6 comments so far

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3958 days

#1 posted 08-07-2016 07:00 PM

Looks like you got it done and it works like it should, too bad you have such limited availability of acme thread rod etc. over in Britain but you got through that just fine .I am also happy that you are getting good clamping results and the top of the chop stays level with the bench top which is something I wanted to accomplish with this design as and it does not need any extra rollers or lower pin bar etc. as the A Beam eliminates all these parts .
Adding the metal jaws that you got handily hanging on the side of the post in ( pic 3 )is a great idea as there is often a piece of metal that needs to be clamped and will save the leather on the jaws .
Thanks for posting and I hope to see others build this vise/vice design as it is likely the most economical leg vise/vise design to build and as you have shown by building it as a retrofit on your bench .


-- Kiefer

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3603 days

#2 posted 08-07-2016 07:19 PM

Thanks Klaus. I am so pleased with the result and it pays testament to your original design in that I was able to retro fit it to my bench that I based on a design by David Charlesworth.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View shipwright's profile


8761 posts in 4089 days

#3 posted 08-07-2016 08:26 PM

Good looking vice Jim. Klaus is a smart cookie.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3671 days

#4 posted 08-08-2016 06:41 AM

Well done!

-- Rick M,

View ruddy's profile


550 posts in 4230 days

#5 posted 08-08-2016 07:24 AM

Great work Jim. That looks like it will do everything it is asked to for many a long year.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4158 days

#6 posted 02-09-2017 05:53 PM

Wow! This is one very heavy duty vise. Nice work!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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