Milkman's Workbench with Wedge Vises

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Project by pinebox posted 05-15-2013 09:43 AM 24791 views 54 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last summer I saw the wedge vises that Shipwright showed on the Lumberjocks site and really liked them. You can see these at Shipwright has a nice little video on how they work and a Sketchup drawing showing the details.

Later I saw the “milkman’s workbench” in an article by Chris Scwarz and immediately liked it too although I didn’t know what I would do with one. You can see the original article at and an updated article at which includes a video of it in use.

Why not combine the two? I didn’t want to spend the time to make the wooden screws anyway. Of course as I was typing this up I found that Ilkka Sivonen of Finland had already done something similar. You can see his version at Sivonen’s version is really nice but he used big wedges whereas mine uses small ones like Shipwright’s to allow a plane to get at the project easier.

So here is my version, warts and all. I tried it out on the deck and really liked it. It works better than expected. The front vise has a removable spacer which is just a super-wide version of the spacers in Shipwright’s vise. The bench is made of pallet wood and I haven’t cleaned it up yet but you can look at the different versions for ideas to make your own.

It’s a fun project. A view of the trees sure beats a windowless basement when the weather is nice.

19 comments so far

View dragonnotes's profile


82 posts in 4527 days

#1 posted 05-15-2013 10:40 AM

Wow, just checked out your videos. You are the real deal. If i can even make some of the joints required in this piece, I would love to make one for working outside as well. Thanks for sharing. After looking at this a bit. There is so much to it I am intimidated. :) Where do you start?

View Ken90712's profile


18123 posts in 4684 days

#2 posted 05-15-2013 10:49 AM

Nice work, should serve you well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Brandon's profile


4382 posts in 4446 days

#3 posted 05-15-2013 12:20 PM

Nice rendition of the milkman’s bench! These are great for using on those days where it’s just perfect outside.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4362 days

#4 posted 05-15-2013 12:24 PM

That’s a wonderful design and it looks like it would be a joy to use. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3502 days

#5 posted 05-15-2013 12:34 PM

Nice little bench!
Just make sure you dont drop anything while working near the edge :-(

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Don W's profile

Don W

20441 posts in 4062 days

#6 posted 05-15-2013 01:10 PM

Excellent project.

Any idea why its called a “milkman’s” bench

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

View waho6o9's profile


9200 posts in 4072 days

#7 posted 05-15-2013 01:38 PM

A definite favorite, thanks for posting a great idea.

View Brandon's profile


4382 posts in 4446 days

#8 posted 05-15-2013 01:41 PM

Don, it’s called that because Chris Schwarz saw one of these that was owned by a milkman.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Airframer's profile


3117 posts in 3448 days

#9 posted 05-15-2013 02:04 PM

Very nice!

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View shipwright's profile


8821 posts in 4293 days

#10 posted 05-15-2013 03:10 PM

Good one.
I like it and it’s nice to see someone else using the wedge idea.
I’ve been using my bench a lot and am still impressed with how well they work.

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

View Dakkar's profile


360 posts in 3422 days

#11 posted 05-15-2013 03:29 PM

The wedge vise idea certainly is interesting. You seem to have found a sturdy base to clamp it to, as well, but I don’t think that would work for me. I’d be spending half my time jumping over the rail and chasing things that roll down the hill.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4829 days

#12 posted 05-15-2013 04:48 PM

Looks very handy and easy to use. Well done.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View pinebox's profile


40 posts in 3463 days

#13 posted 05-15-2013 04:49 PM

The main problems with this bench are parts falling off when it is clamped to a railing and storage of all the little wedges and spacers. I’ve got the beginnings of an idea of creating a drawer on the bottom of the bench that would extend and work as a tray to catch rolling parts when the bench was in use and then slide in and act as a storage compartment for the loose parts when not in use. If I make another one, I would try to work out the bench dog spacing better too.

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 4034 days

#14 posted 05-15-2013 07:14 PM

Bravo! Looks like a great idea. I’d like to figure out a good way to make a tote that transforms into a mini bench/vise.

-- I never finish anyth

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3685 days

#15 posted 05-15-2013 09:40 PM

very nice,great build.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

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