The Holtzapffel Project #8: The end vise

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Blog entry by kem posted 07-04-2008 07:42 PM 5043 reads 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Constructing the base: lots of big mortises and tenons Part 8 of The Holtzapffel Project series Part 9: Veritas Twin Screw Face Vise »

Happy Independence Day! I’m looking forward to the three day weekend to put the finishing touches on my workbench: adding the twin-screw face vise and a shelf underneath.

Since the last time, I flattened the top and applied some Danish oil to the bench. I also installed the end vise and have really enjoyed using it. Here’s a look at the bench while planing the chop for the end vise.

You can also see the slotted tool rack in the upper right from a design in woodworking magazine. This is really a sweet way of holding a bunch of tools. I also plan on adding a chisel shelf and a couple of display shelves for the planes (replacing the bookshelf).

Back to smoothing the end vise chop. I used an old, rusty #3 that I bought from ebay and restored to good working condition. With the new hock iron and chipbreaker, I love using this plane. I also have the veritas bevel-up smoother, but I can see myself reaching for the #3 quite a bit. It just feels good to me.

With the chop smoothed, I clamped it in position with the end vise and laid out the dog hole. I had positioned my dog holes a little closer to the face of the workbench so that they were not in line with the middle of the vise. So I had to position the dog hole in the chop in line with my dog holes.

You can also see in this picture that I made the chop extend out to the right quite a bit. I really like this detail because it allows me to stick up to a 6” wide board on end for dovetailing. With the quick release vise, it is very quick and easy getting a board in that position.

Boring a hole in this hard maple was not easy. After a couple of turns, I decided to try using a cordless drill.

The bit did not budge at all! It was back to the brace and just powering through the chop. I had to use the ratcheting mechanism of the brace, because it was too hard to make a full revolution through the stock.

That was some hard work boring that hole. After this experience, I wasn’t sure how I was going to bore the 1.5” holes that I needed for the twin-screw. So I ended up finally ordering a drill press. I can’t wait to see how it does with the twin-screw holes.

Here’s a pic of the end vise chop in use.

I’m hand jointing one of the boards for the face vise chop since I only have a 6” jointer. The quick release end vise is really a fantastic way to go. I can’t imagine a faster way of getting a board in position to plane (ok, maybe a planing stop). It is also very versatile with the extended chop. Hmmm … maybe I don’t really need that twin-screw face vise?

The finish line is in sight now! Just the face vise and a shelf to go. I feel a little sorry that this project is coming to an end. It has been a challenge and a lot of fun to build. What’ll be my next big project?

-- Kevin

7 comments so far

View lew's profile


11264 posts in 3176 days

#1 posted 07-04-2008 08:05 PM

Looks like things are coming together, Kevin!!

Thanks for the post and may I add- very nice photos!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Chris 's profile


1877 posts in 3412 days

#2 posted 07-04-2008 11:57 PM

Very nice looking work; I am thinking of the same style bench but with a full width end vise. What do you think?

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View kem's profile


56 posts in 3139 days

#3 posted 07-05-2008 12:24 AM

Hi Chris,
Can you tell me more about what you are thinking of doing? Is it a quick release in the same position with a chop extended all the way across? Or are you thinking of a twin screw full width end vise?

I’m not sure about extending the chop all the way across with this particular 10.5” vise. It seems like you might lose clamping pressure out as you get far away from the screw. The excess weight on the long side might also cause the guide bars to slant a little adding some friction. The effect might be small though. It wouldn’t hurt to try it out. If it feels like it is causing a problem, just cut off material from the long end of the chop.

I like the quick release here because I just push the jaw up against the board, and a half turn CW completely immobilizes the board. When I’m done, a half turn CCW releases the jaw and I’m ready for the next board. Using a twin screw end vise would require a little more work and also risk racking the screws when you’re using a bench dog on one side of the vise.

Good luck on your bench.

-- Kevin

View Chris 's profile


1877 posts in 3412 days

#4 posted 07-05-2008 12:36 AM

I was considering a twin screw vise across the width. Something on that order….

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Texasgaloot's profile


464 posts in 3121 days

#5 posted 07-05-2008 05:33 AM

One for me? Just joking.

My father uses an ancient version of just the vice you are talking about—the quick release. I’ve spent many hours at his bench as a teenager. Yes, they are very fast.

I’m enjoying your blog! Keep them coming!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3302 days

#6 posted 07-05-2008 03:31 PM

Hey Kevin,

My, you are one clean machine. That is looking sweet.

A router with a 3/4” spiral bit zips through maple no problem. But not as deep as your chop. Do you plan on going all the way through it?


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View kem's profile


56 posts in 3139 days

#7 posted 07-06-2008 07:03 PM

Hey Steve,

That’s a good idea with the router. Unfortunately, I don’t have a 3/4” spiral bit. I did go all the way through on the chop so I could push the bench dog up through the bottom.

I got my new drill press on the 2nd. Just in time for the holiday weekend! It made quick work of those 1.5” holes for the twin screws. I don’t know why I held out so long on getting a drill press.

-- Kevin

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