Before getting to the leg vise, just a quick note on the tenons on the top. I purposely made the tenons about 1/4” longer than they needed to be so that they would sit proud of the bench top. I did this because it would minimize damage on the ends of the tenons while trying to fit the top to the base. Also, this makes it easy to flush up perfectly once everything is in place. So, once the top was set in place and draw-bored tight, I cut the protruding tenons flush with the rest of the bench top. Then I planed it flush when I flattened the top.
Now it’s time to begin work on the vises. For the leg vise I decided to use some mystery wood that felt super dense. Rather than running through the planer, I used a #5 and #4 to scrub it down, then flattened with a #8 followed by a #4 for smoothing. My plane collection was pretty limited at the time, but now I would have chosen different planes for bringing the rough lumber down to a nice and smooth board.
The shape I chose is basically the one that Chris Schwarz’ uses in his workbench book. I found it pleasing enough. I just marked the shaped I wanted with thick lines.
Then I cut the shape on the bandsaw and cleaned up the edges with a handplane. Then I took the router with a chamfer bit and put a healthy chamfer on the outer edges of the chop.
The next step was to drill a hole in the vise for the screw. The tail vise screw from Lee Valley seemed like the perfect fit for a leg vise. And it was! Though hats off to those who use large wooden vise screws, which are pretty awesome.
Now on to the parallel guide, which keeps the leg vise sitting perfectly vertical, otherwise it would just swing around. The parallel guide also is a board with more holes in it than cottage cheese and it is designed to counter vertical racking when tightening the vise. I attached the parallel guide by mortising a small hole in the leg vise and securing it with screws, covered by dowels.
And here’s the completed leg vise.
One might notice that the leg vise is a little thin. The board I used was about 5/4” planed down to about 4/4. It worked OK, but it bowed a little when I tightened the vise, and so I replaced it with a thicker board, which I’ll point out later. Next up is the tail vise.
-- "hold fast to that which is good"