how to build a woodworking vise

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Forum topic by Guillermo posted 12-25-2009 11:51 PM 72562 views 12 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12-25-2009 11:51 PM

I came across a posting from a fellow named Joe, I believe, about building your own bench vise from scratch, but can’t find it again. Does anybody, including Joe, know how to build his own woodworking vise?—buying the hardware, the screw etc.? I think Joe said something about about plumbing joints, and that’s what I’ve been thinking of. Thanks.—Guillermo

-- Guillermo, Mexico

16 replies so far

View AaronK's profile


1509 posts in 4032 days

#1 posted 12-26-2009 12:33 AM

i’ve built one from two pipe clamps – is this the sort of thing you’re talking about? i can post pics and links if youre interested

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4057 posts in 3856 days

#2 posted 12-26-2009 12:40 AM

im interested?

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

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1509 posts in 4032 days

#3 posted 12-26-2009 01:20 AM

check out

mine is a little bit different – not as awesome a design since it doesnt have the 4 ft of travel and foot pedals! it’s more like the “new fangled workbench” by FWW (google if you arent familiar with it). The main thing about building a vice from pipe clamps is that you need to be able to keep the pipes parallel to the bench top surface… the way you would any vice i guess. it works though, and better than i expected. by vise has about 12-14” of space between the pipes and will easily hold a 6+ ft board for edge jointing by hand. surprisingly effective!

i’ll try to get pics of mine up within the next few days if you want.

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1509 posts in 4032 days

#4 posted 12-26-2009 01:21 AM

of course there are many more professional options out there – you can buy “real” vise hardware and custom make the wooden parts to fit your bench…

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#5 posted 12-26-2009 01:30 AM

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#6 posted 12-26-2009 01:33 AM

Thanks for the input. I’ll keep the pipe-clamp method in mind. I’m living in Mexico (doing missionary work) and have seen some big threaded rods, like 3/4” or even bigger. I was thinking of getting a meter, say, of one of these, and cutting it in half and making two vises. But what I’m wondering is what do I fit the threaded rod into? I suppose I could have something machine made but I’m on a pretty limited budget. I’ve never seen anywhere where anyone made his own vise from scratch. I owned a beautiful Swiss-made workbench when I was living in South Africa, and I’m familiar with the mechanics of the end and shoulder vises, but would something like what I’ve described (a 3/4 or one-inch threaded rod) be OK and not too rickety?

-- Guillermo, Mexico

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18745 posts in 4244 days

#7 posted 12-26-2009 06:38 AM

If you file some knotchs in the 3/4 rod and taper it a little with a file, you can use it to tap the holes to thread into.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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17 posts in 3648 days

#8 posted 12-26-2009 07:17 AM

I looked at that Big Wood Vise site posted above. Bout had a heart attack. That stuff ain’t cheap. I’m sure it’s quality stuff, but man my wallet ran off when I saw the prices.

-- US Navy Veteran Morgantown, KY

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88 posts in 3655 days

#9 posted 12-26-2009 03:20 PM

Pipe clamp vises do work. This one has been on this leg vise for over 40 years. The bottom stop was 1/4” hardwood at first, but after I was able to get carbide router bits I replaced it with aluminum.

Leg vise 1

Leg vise 2

View jmd199's profile


2 posts in 3593 days

#10 posted 02-13-2010 04:14 AM

I noticed the earlier comment regarding wood vise screws and just as a heads up that Lake Erie Toolworks is a new company headed by Nick Dombrowski – website: that offers the largest wood vise screws and related wood vise screw kits available on the market today.

There’s also review of the wood vise screw by Christopher Schwarz by following this link:

Take care,

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2 posts in 3593 days

#11 posted 02-13-2010 04:16 AM

Link for Lake Erie Toolworks – Wooden Vise Screw Kits

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117803 posts in 4145 days

#12 posted 02-13-2010 04:18 AM

Wow lots of great tips.

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94 posts in 3410 days

#13 posted 08-19-2010 02:43 AM

Love the pipe clamp idea!! I’m going to implement it on my project workbench…! ty for the post.

-- "Does this lathe makes my butt look big?"

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 3406 days

#14 posted 08-19-2010 05:34 AM

First post here on the forum so hello all.. If you look down the page on this link you’ll see a “tornillo de carpintero” or carpenters screw, these are available in most “ferreterias” (or hardware stores, sorry, not sure how much spanish you speak) down here in the far south, where what IS available is far more limited than in other locations, so I’m guessing they should be easy enough to find where you are based. This is a prefabricated vise screw and will sot you about the same as a set of pipe clamp heads, but you won’t have to buy the pipes or fiddle so much to fit them to a bench. The norm here is a crude leg vise using one of these, with no pivot guide at the bottom to speak of. I’m planning my first (decent) bench and will probably use a few of them to make a twin screw face vise and a single screw end vise.
Good luck..

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3528 days

#15 posted 08-19-2010 07:27 AM

i’v made my own vises completely from scratch:
the in kit hardware some suggest is not the kind of thing you find in the store around the corner, unless maybe in the states!

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