Wooden screws can become a vise

I’m getting closer to the completion of the portable Roubo (Underhill)  bench.  I decided that it should have a tail vise.  I wanted to do something a little different.  There are a lot of ways to create a tail (end) vise.  You can go traditional European, or use something like a “wagon” vise or some other type of “running block and pawl” apparatus.  I decided to build a vise that would use one of the many 2 1/2″ wooden screws laying in different corners of the shop and could use the entire width of the bench (except the tool tray) as an inner chop.  What I’ve constructed is, essentially,  a wooden version of the iron woodworking vise familiar to us all, like those made for years by Jorgenson, Record and so on.  The screw is in the middle and two stabilizing “rods” slide through two “saddles” to eliminate excessive lateral movement.   The nut is simply left loose.  The outer chop is 2″x7″x13″.  It’s thick enough that I can drill it out for a round dog or inlet a square sliding dog into the front surface.  Time will tell about that.  Ultimately, I’ll cut the rods to length and mount a simple stop device, so the screw can’t be inadvertently loosened from the nut.  The whole affair will then be lag screwed to the bottom of the bench.

top view (dry fit)

bottom view (dry fit)

  The front vise is a simple, heavy-duty, leg vise with a “cheese-board”.  However, I intend to have a secondary front vise that will allow me to hold large carcass parts for operations like dovetailing, ripping, etc.  This will be a single screw/single rod type vise.  I’ll be using one of my Lake Erie Toolworks nuts for this job.  A great example of this type of vise can be seen in use at the Anthony Hay Cabinet shop at Williamsburg.  (Also, check out their excellent blog, anthonyhaycabinetmaker.wordpress.com)

Here’s a variant on the design from the “Manual of Traditional Wood Carving” by Paul N. Hasluck:

back viewFront viewfront viewfront view

And, “The Workbench Book” by Scott Landis has an extraordinarily good chapter on shop-built vises.  It’s well worth perusing.  There’s a lot of books out there about building workbenchs.  But, in my opinion, Landis’ book is clearly in a league of it’s own.

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2 Comments on “Wooden screws can become a vise”

  1. Stan Thompson Says:

    I’m keen to make my own vise since starting my bench but how do I
    go about getting these items.
    Stan Thompson. UK.


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