My First Workbench #42: Leg Vise Chop Finished

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Blog entry by RaggedKerf posted 09-14-2013 01:13 AM 1802 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 41: Leg Vise Chop: Seating the Garter Part 42 of My First Workbench series no next part

Finally wrapped this project up, after some setbacks.

To correct the angled chop I had to see what was the problem: the hole drilled in the chop or the hole drilled for the coupler buried in the leg?

First I tested the hole in the leg:

Clearly, the threaded rod exiting the leg is off of perpendicular. Then, before I attacked the solution, I decided to check the chop:

Huh. It’s off too! So, after some hand wringing, cussing, and a few beers, I took the case online and asked for help. I received a lot of good suggestions (thanks guys!!) from plugging and redrilling the chop hole to counter the downward pitch of the leg hole, to turning the bench around and drilling a new chop hole in the far left back leg (making that the new front right).

In the end, after some careful head scratching and lots of pondering, I decided to try and shift the angle of the chop hole. Since I was only talking a few degrees I decided not to fill it. That and I didn’t have any 5/8” dowel stock laying around. Playing with the sliding bevel gauge, I hit on an angle I thought would fix things.

After a test piece on some scrap almost worked, I tweaked the tilt on the drill press table one past time and hit pay dirt:

That’s what I was after!!! A nice flush fit. Now. Just have to add a corresponding angle to the garter (oh yeah…redo that bit as well). In a shorter amount of time that I thought, I had it:

At last. Done! Well, sort of. I still had to make a new parallel guide. Which wasn’t too hard. I used a piece of 1/2” oak and planed it to the right thickness to match the slot in the leg, then drilled holes for the pin (er, screwdriver) then mortised out a new slot in the chop, drilled a hole in the side for a locking dowel and reassembled everything. Voila!

This was a worthwhile project that despite having done it a year ago, taught me a lot about woodworking. My mortises were spot on this time, better than I’ve ever done. In all, I’m really happy how this turned out!

Thanks to all my fellow Lumberjocks that offered suggestions and helped me crack this little nut!!

-- Steve

7 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile (online now)


9699 posts in 2447 days

#1 posted 09-14-2013 01:22 AM

Steve, glad ya got it worked out with minimum fuss. And those dragons are cool, or maybe hot. NIce job.

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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2564 days

#2 posted 09-14-2013 01:45 AM

looks good and works. Can’t beat that.

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

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3547 posts in 2248 days

#3 posted 09-14-2013 01:48 AM

Steve—You should be proud of that bench, and the carving on the leg vise chop, and the thoughtful, well-executed correction on the wobbly leg vise. Well done!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3330 days

#4 posted 09-14-2013 08:02 AM

I looks really good now Steve and more importantly it works! I do have one suggestion for you. If the handle had been made at an angle, say say 20deg. it would be easier to use and if it had another handle opposite it would be like a giant wing nut with the angled handles sticking out a bit to give your hands good room to turn it without bruising your knuckles. Just a thought, maybe you are totally satisfied with the way it is.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15349 posts in 2615 days

#5 posted 09-14-2013 08:40 AM

Congrats! A snug-fitting chop is a happy chop!

Isn’t it funny how we learn the importance of ‘square’ oftentimes by first not caring about it? :-)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 2117 days

#6 posted 09-14-2013 01:40 PM

Thanks everyone!

stefang: you hit the nail on the head. When I made the handle I didn’t really know what I was doing/wanted. Now I’m kicking around the idea of making a wheel, or at least putting a separate handle that juts out perpendicular to the long one…I find when I open and close the chop, I’m only using about half that long handle because the length forces my hand to make large circles. When I hold it (usually with one finger or two) up about halfway on the handle, I can make smaller, faster circles and open and close it faster. More stuff to mull over…

Smitty :Amen!

-- Steve

View helluvawreck's profile


31056 posts in 2863 days

#7 posted 09-14-2013 01:49 PM

This looks like a very interesting blog. The workbench is looking great.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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