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Roubo Leg Vise Upgrade

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Blog entry by BigRedKnothead posted 04-29-2014 11:51 PM 1805 reads 5 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A year and a half into the life of my roubo bench I set my mind to improving the leg vise. Dropping the 4 bills for a retro fit Benchcrafted setup was one option, but what’s the fun in that? I decided to go my own route and save the cash.

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I’ve never been that crazy about the performance of my leg vise. It had a fair amount of play and did not spin as freely as my other vises. The hardware was the basic Lee Valley Tail vise that most folks use:

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The big nut/flange was installed waaaay on the inside of my bench leg. Which was a big part of the problem. The bench leg is 6” thick, combined with the 2” chop….and the weight of the chop. Well that’s a lot of downward pressure on that acme screw. So first I wanted to find a way to support the acme thread toward the front of the leg. I know Benchcrafted uses a piece of plastic installed in the leg. I figured I could do better than that…How about a bearing?


Part: http://www.essentracomponents.com/sku/PRB-262
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The bore of the bearing is a couple millimeters larger than the acme screw. That’s fine. I just needed to ensure with my layout that acme screw would rest on the bottom of the bearing….relieving the weight.

It was a little tricky installing. First I fitted a dowel in the old hole so I could center my forstner bit. Since the bearing is a funky metric size, and I don’t have a forstner bit that big anyway, I figured out a combo of using a forstner big and a rabbet bit in the router:

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That got me pretty close. I finished the fitting with handle tools, tapped out the oak plug, and epoxied the outer edge of the bearing in place.
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Now for the 2nd issue. After using my Benchcrafted moxon for a spell, I really began to appreciate the benefits of stout cast iron wheels on a vise. So along with the bearing, I ordered up a 10” wheel and a stopped bolt for the handle. This is even bigger that the BC 8” wheel;-)

Parts:
http://www.essentracomponents.com/sku/BSW-10
http://www.essentracomponents.com/sku/HK-08114
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Knocked the pin out of the old vise and headed to the machine shop:

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After shopping around, I found a machine shop that would bore the hole for the shaft and drill/tap the hole for the handle for $50. It came back looking like this:

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Let’s see, then I took a little 1.25” turning blank of Bolivian rosewood and turned myself a handle on the drill press. Much the same as I did in my blog about shop made screwdriver handles. Lookin good:

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Last, I took the rest of that little blank, sliced it, bookmatched it on edge, and epoxied it for a “hub.” I cut it oversized, then filed and sanded it to fit.

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When done, it looked like this:


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The improvement in performance matches the improvement in appearance. The wheel spins freely for a couple rotations. The added weight from the cast iron does most of the work in regard to clamping force.

Can you tell I’ve been on vacation?;-) Questions and comments welcome knuckleheads, Rojo

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman



22 comments so far

View CL810's profile

CL810

2029 posts in 1653 days


#1 posted 04-29-2014 11:56 PM

Real nice Red! I like it. Do you offer free shipping??

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View lightcs1776's profile

lightcs1776

3683 posts in 319 days


#2 posted 04-29-2014 11:59 PM

Fantastic, Red. As always great work.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

5057 posts in 647 days


#3 posted 04-30-2014 12:01 AM

Sure Andy, but my union labor rate is pretty steep;-)

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View cyclops4069's profile

cyclops4069

61 posts in 242 days


#4 posted 04-30-2014 12:03 AM

just beautiful…..!!!!!

-- regards, cyclops4069

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1086 posts in 797 days


#5 posted 04-30-2014 12:09 AM

That is a mighty fine improvement to that superb bench and vise chop and crochet you’ve performed. I also appreciate the sliding deadman you’ve installed.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

1921 posts in 534 days


#6 posted 04-30-2014 12:13 AM

A beautiful addition to a beautiful bench. I just bought a book about the Shakers (and shaker style furniture) and one of the main philosophies was that function is beauty. Adornment being superfluous. I think your wheel passes that test.

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

4701 posts in 1105 days


#7 posted 04-30-2014 12:36 AM

Dead sexy bud. Beautiful work.

-- ~Tony

View Greg In Maryland's profile

Greg In Maryland

394 posts in 1663 days


#8 posted 04-30-2014 03:19 AM

Nice!

View Hammerthumb's profile (online now)

Hammerthumb

1318 posts in 640 days


#9 posted 04-30-2014 04:33 AM

Red – I was wondering if the handle on the wheel gets in the way while working at the bench? Looks are awesome though!

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View Jake's profile

Jake

311 posts in 296 days


#10 posted 04-30-2014 05:20 AM

That bench looks way too beat up to be in anyones shop, if you send me the details, I will pick it up from your place free of charge and take it away so you can build a proper workbench…

In all seriousness, Red, wtf, all your shop furniture looks better than my actual furniture.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View ToddJB's profile (online now)

ToddJB

2232 posts in 795 days


#11 posted 04-30-2014 01:20 PM

Wonderful addition. Looks great. What’s next – you gonna cut up a bed frame and make your own criss-cross?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

5057 posts in 647 days


#12 posted 04-30-2014 01:24 PM

Thanks Jake. I just enjoy making it nice. It challenges me.

Paul, ya know the bolt for the handle was a little longer than I expected. It’s definitely longer that the knob BC installs. I just figured I could try it for awhile. I can always order a shorter bolt and just shorten the turned handle to match. But so far it doesn’t bother me much. I kinda like the extra grip too.

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12290 posts in 2762 days


#13 posted 04-30-2014 01:56 PM

Very nice. When are you going to break down and buy a mini lathe?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

5057 posts in 647 days


#14 posted 04-30-2014 01:59 PM

hehehe. I know it Wayne. I never planned a lathe into the floor space of my shop. But I’m reconsidering;-)

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

4303 posts in 1116 days


#15 posted 04-30-2014 02:07 PM

Red, I could see myself getting hurt in a sensitive area from that handle! Be careful where you walk, wouldn’t want you to get cranked. :-)

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

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