My First Workbench #41: Leg Vise Chop: Seating the Garter

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Blog entry by RaggedKerf posted 09-10-2013 10:42 PM 2125 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 40: Leg Vise Chop Carving Finished Part 41 of My First Workbench series Part 42: Leg Vise Chop Finished »

Good news bad news kind of day. Twice.

The first thing that hit me today was that the bare spot I had filed into the threads on the leg vise “screw” (really a 5/8” threaded rod from the Borg) for the first chop won’t work on v2 because the chop is twice as thick.

Soooo…half an hour of filing and I had this:

Then I started making the garter. First I measured out a 2.5” square of 1/2” oak. Then took it to the drill press and punched a 1/2” hole with a Forstner bit and cut the garter in half.

Made a pretty good fit, I think…or as close as I can get with the equipment I have.

Once the garter was ready, I put the whole chop on the drill press and after lauhing a bit at how it drwafed the press table, I drilled a 5/8” hole for the screw. This was a little complicated, as my little Harbor Freight (I know, gasp) drill press and small bits dodnt have the travel neccessary to punch through the whole chop in one pass.

So I would drill as deep as possible, the scooted the chop up ontot the bit and shimmed it with scrap underneath to let the bit go deeper. I repeated this until the chuck hit the chop (lol) and had to flip the chop, mark the location of the hole on the back and drill in to meet the front hole….

At last I had the hole drilled and smooth. The threaded rod slipped through much nicer than when I drilled the first chop last year…that was using a cordless drill and a twist bit. It was a lot more dofficult and probably was the reason for the wobble that caused me to replace the chop.

Anyway, I tested the rod with the garter in place, the traced out where to cut my mortise:

Back to the drill press to hog out the waste (first time I’ve ever used it to do this….talk about fun!)

And 5 minutes later I had chiselsd out the most square, straight sided mortise of my life!!!

I was so happy with the mortise I had a hard time seating the garter and rod….I hated to cover it up! But, after countersinking for some screws, everything went together like butter (the wax I added to the garter and the rod may have helped).

It only took a few minutes to thread the rod into the bench’s bushing (also oak) and my new chop was attached!!

(Sorry for the blurry, bad image…cell phone camera)

Then….I noticed the other bad news….when I originally built the bench I must had drilled the hole for the rod off a little. Because I did it by hand (not with a bit and brace, just with a power drill and no guides) and not with a press, my new chop is waaaaaay off.

You can clearly see the bottom has mad contact with the bench leg, but the top is….you guessed it…exactly as far apart as the infamous wobble in the old chop that caused me so much grief.

After wiping up the sawdust filled tears of frustration, I started thinking of remedies. Firs toptoo is to cut an angled piece to glje on the face of the chop to make it clampable. Not pretty because I’ll have a lopsoded chop….but I don’t think it’ll bug me enough to not want to use it.

So I’m putting the old batsignal out intot the clouds….anyone got any ideas on how to proceed? I’m hoping I don’t have to use the u option of removing the leg and replacing that and drilling a proper hole to match the chop….

-- Steve

8 comments so far

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 2008 days

#1 posted 09-10-2013 11:49 PM

Looking at that pic is the hole in the leg the issue or is the hole in the chop not straight? From this angle it looks like the hole in the chop is angled and the leg is straight?

*edit .. after looking at all the pics again I think it is the through the chop that is the issue. That being the case you could drill it over sized with a second surface mounted garter on the outboard side of it to square it up.

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

View theoldfart's profile


9773 posts in 2506 days

#2 posted 09-11-2013 12:22 AM

Couldn’t you plug the chop then re-drill?

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 2176 days

#3 posted 09-11-2013 12:55 AM

Aha! Thanks guys—-this is exactly what I had not thought of.

Eric, Kevin, great suggestions, thank you! To me, it’s the hole in the leg that seems off (I haven’t examined carefully yet, too disappointed with the results of the test fit and the kids needed snacks lol)—-but I think I’m only thinking that because I drilled the chop on the drill press and in the back of my mind I keep thinking, well of course that’s going to be 90*....but….I’m going to be taking measurements tomorrow to see exactly where the mistake is.

The point is, now I’ve got two great suggestions on how to go forward. I love this place. Thanks again!

-- Steve

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2701 days

#4 posted 09-11-2013 12:58 AM

You can find cheap used leg vice screws on ebay too. I got mine for 30the bucs. The bigger screw might help after the redrill.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 2008 days

#5 posted 09-11-2013 05:31 AM

I think I know where it went wrong in the drilling process (and it’s a mistake I can see myself making) is your chop tapered from top to bottom? And did you account for that taper when you placed it into your drill press? If not that would explain the hole angle.

I would just plug it and re drill it with the taper accounted for and that would be problem solved.

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

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3389 days

#6 posted 09-11-2013 08:31 AM

I looks to me like the leg hole is drilled at an upward angle. It can be plugged and re-drilled with no problems.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18791 posts in 2623 days

#7 posted 09-11-2013 03:39 PM

I’m watching but having trouble understanding. In my opinion the rod should have some flexibility to allow the screw to float vertically. Otherwise you can only vice square objects in the vice and your vice always needs to perfectly perpendicular to the bench.

Or do I completely mis-understand.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 2176 days

#8 posted 09-14-2013 01:20 AM

Sam: that’s probably going to be my end game option—-I figure I have so much time invested in this now, I just want to see if I can fix it (and I did) for personal satisfaction. But those Lee Valley screws are lookin’ mighty tempting now. Might be a Christmas present for myself!

Eric: You’re halfright—-no, there is no taper on the chop, but the dang drill press was slightly off when I drilled the hole in the chop….

stefang: Your suggestion ultimately won out—-but I didn’t plug it, since it was just a few degrees off. I simply angled the drill press and had at it. Success!!!

Don: You are absolutely right—-I did want a little flexibility. But with the original chop, I was getting over an inch of movement (I think it was closer to 2”) which was making things awkward. It seemd to be getting worse (the pine was giving way around the garter and the garter itself was just not holding) in the last few months. Every time I tightened it I could hear it move. Freaky. Anyway, the solution was the new, beefier chop that still has a bit of wiggle room and hopefully won’t go the way the first did (to the burn pile!).

Thanks guys for all the suggestions—-I did fix the problem and you can see it here!!

-- Steve

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