Workbench Build #3: It begins....Kinda

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Blog entry by Airframer posted 02-02-2013 12:53 AM 3664 reads 5 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Styrofoam Modeling.... Part 3 of Workbench Build series Part 4: More work on the vise plus a failed trip to the local mill... »

Ok, so after tossing around some overly complex ideas and trying to reinvent the wheel I have finally settled on building a Hybrid Roubo style workbench. The design is tested and it works very well for what it does so why mess with success.

I plan on 2 vices. One wagon end vise and a leg vise. I had to do a lot of reading on the leg vise vs. a side vise to see what all the rage was about. I had never heard of a leg vise until a month ago when I discovered this website lol. After reading the pros and cons it does seem that the leg vise is the way to go.

I have poured over hundreds of pictures, plans and videos of different versions of this bench and really like the way the Benchcrafted vises operate with a hand wheel rather than a lever. It looks (and from reviews) seems like it would be easier to adjust and just looks nice. Yes I tossed in the looks card. If I am going to build something that will be around for a long while I can at least spend time making sure it looks good as well as functions well. Just me though.

I, however, have no intention of paying $400 for a hand wheel a 13” section of rod and a flange. I went to my local Fastenal store after work today and picked up a 6’ (yes I said 6 FEET!) peice of 1” #5 ACME threaded rod and 2 nuts to match. They only sell it in 6’ lengths or else I might have gone with less but this gives me plenty for 2 vises plus some and it cost less than $100 for the whole kit and caboodle.

This would be one HUGE vise if I used the whole piece!

Add to that I also found a couple hand wheels online at Reid Industrial Supply. I ordered one 8” cast iron hand wheel and 1 5” wheel. The larger of the 2 is for the leg and the smaller one is the end vise.

The 8” wheel was around $23 and the 5” was only $17 so total so far for the leg vise and end vise hardware I am out $130. I might sell off some of the threaded rod that I don’t use to recoup some costs or might hang onto it for later use (which there is always a later use right?).

Here are the wheels..

It is un drilled and I need to add a handle but that should be a matter of doing some drilling into cast iron. That shouldn’t be too hard (I know metal! Still learning wood!). And devise a method of coupling the rod to the crank. I’m heading out to look at plumbing fittings and such to see what I can come up with.

I’m still working out what kind of wood I plan to use and where to get it at so no saw dust just yet but hopefully sometime this weekend or next I can get started cutting wood.

As always suggestions are very welcome. Thanks for reading!

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

3 comments so far

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2169 days

#1 posted 02-02-2013 01:47 AM

Good looking with the cast iron wheels. I’ve had in mind to replace the lever-style handle on my tail vise with a wheel and didn’t really have any idea where to look.

Is there some trick to drilling through cast iron? I’ve drilled through steel a few times, but mostly I think I got my with large amounts of 3-in-1 oil as lubricant and not much knowledge. Any pointers would be appreciated.

If I hadn’t already made my moxon vise, I would probably offer to buy some of that threaded rod from you. Can’t wait to see how the build goes.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Tugboater78's profile


2746 posts in 2221 days

#2 posted 02-02-2013 05:09 AM

Welding is an option isnt it? Sounds like a plan though, ive bren meaning to check out fastenal for the same thing.. guess i will soon. Still some time before i can build a bench and the price for such materials overwhemed me as well and has put me off.. ill keep an eye out for your progress and maybe i can follow suit :)

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 1982 days

#3 posted 02-02-2013 05:28 PM

@grfrazee – If you have drilled through steel than you can drill through cast iron. It is a bit softer than steel. The only thing you have to be careful of is cracking the iron. It has a tendency to crack if it gets too hot so just gooooooooo slowwwwwww and use copious amounts of lubricant only nipping about 5/16” at a time similar to using a Forstner bit. I plan to drill a 1/4” pilot hole and just gradually increase the bit size to just shave out the hole up to 1”. I still need to order some 1” bits though. Going to give the HF ones a try.

@Justin Bonnell – It is possible to weld cast iron but it is a lot harder to do. It just doesn’t like to take a weld very well due to the structure of the metal. I am still waiting on the wheels to arrive but once they do I will take a lot of pictures of the assembly process so you guys can do the same if you wanted at some point.

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

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