Holtzapffel workbench project #7: building the twin screw vise

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Blog entry by martin007 posted 10-07-2008 02:57 AM 21208 reads 17 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: bench completed Part 7 of Holtzapffel workbench project series no next part

Hi all

Well, I couldn’t afford the 350$ + for the wooden screws, and I didn’t like the look of the black plate on the veritas twin screw vise. So I built my own using 2 tail vise screws (40$ each)

First I built the big wood pieces that will old the metal nuts. I didn’t want to use through bolts and opted for a drawbore mortise and tenon attachment.

I used the smallest bit that I could for the hole, The screw is 1 1/16 and I used a 1 1/8 bit. I found It helps to reduce sagging but it calls for precision. I waxed the holes because the screws do run tight. but pretty smooth nonetheless. Once the screw holes were drilled. I marked and drill the holes for the nut’s screws. Note wich nut goes with wich hole, the nuts might not be exactly the same. At the end It will help making the screw run smoother.

I dry fit the blocks and hold them very tight with clamps, then I aligned the vise chop and clamp it also. I then used the drill bit I used for the hole to mark hole center on the chop.

Now I can attach the nuts. While I tighten the screws, I monitor how easy the vise screw runs.

I decided to install the nuts in this manner instead of boring its way into the block. I think it might help to reduce sagging plus it is easier to install

I didn’t picture the process of the attachment of the vise screw head to the chop, but it is the same as with the nuts. I then try the vise. Once satisfied I removed the chop and proceeded with the drawbore holes

Oh yeah, I also glued them. LoL they won’t come off!

25 inch beetween screws, chop 4 inch tick 6 1/4 by 33 ash from 8/4 lumber

little tapper permitted, I guess more if the holes in the chop were bigger, something to thing of, maybe a future modification

Almost no sagging, If you run the screws in synch (not tapered) the chop runs nice, when some taper, they put on more resistance. Overall very satisfied.



-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

15 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3792 days

#1 posted 10-07-2008 03:05 AM

AWESOME! i am looking into building my bench and i was thinking about doing this but i wasn’t sure. its great to see that it works. have you tried doing some work in it yet? where did you get the screws?

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3800 days

#2 posted 10-07-2008 04:01 AM

screws are from lee valley store

I did some edge planing for testing sake. First I found that I was to far aside from the boards (4 inch top plus 4 inch for the screw head and handle). It felt pretty ackward. But then I think it is just a matter of adjusting how you work and made me pay attention to my planing motion. Except with very long boards, because the vise is so strong, I can use only 3/4 of it’s length when I hold the board. At the end of the planing motion, I stretch my arm to reach the board’s end so I don’t have to stand beside the chop.

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3792 days

#3 posted 10-07-2008 12:15 PM

sounds cool! i think i’m gonna try it. i have a lee valley giftcard anyway.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3910 days

#4 posted 10-07-2008 06:44 PM

Great job!!! Nice vise thanks for the post.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View olddutchman's profile


187 posts in 3959 days

#5 posted 10-07-2008 08:22 PM

Realy great Love the (play by play)

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3847 days

#6 posted 02-05-2009 01:57 AM

Thanks for showing all of us your impressive new work station, the bench turn out GREAT…enjoy all your new future projects…Blkcherry

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3847 days

#7 posted 02-05-2009 02:09 AM

Martin what was your total bd.ft used in this bench…thanks Blkcherry

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3800 days

#8 posted 02-05-2009 04:51 PM

BlackCherry, I never really counted the BF but here are the approx dimension. I will let you do the math

top 72×24 x 3
legs 30×3.5×4.5
long stretchers 36×1.75×5
short stretchers 18×1.75×5
big vise block is about 30×3.5×6

and then the short vise block and the big vise receptive block

I can give you the real dimension later tonight if you want, but this will give you a good idea

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

943 posts in 3418 days

#9 posted 02-21-2009 01:12 AM

This is an incredible bench! congrats!
What type of wood is that?

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3800 days

#10 posted 02-23-2009 04:06 PM

Doubthead, base is red oak, top is red oak and ash, vise chops are ash

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View TheJoineryGallery's profile


30 posts in 2828 days

#11 posted 01-23-2011 03:52 AM

This might be a dumb question, but where did you find the vise screws? Ive been looking for some ideas on adding one of these to my own bench, so thanks for posting.


View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3800 days

#12 posted 01-26-2011 06:08 PM

the screws are from LV

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View Nick's profile


20 posts in 1271 days

#13 posted 01-25-2016 03:19 PM

Hi Martin

How do you find working with the twin screws that are not connected by a chain drive? I have looked at the Lee Valley and Lie Nielsen vises but can’t justify $200 just for the chain drive addition.

Is it easy to open and clamp pieces?



-- My moustache filters wood chips and sawdust out of my scotch - Nick Offerman

View martin007's profile


142 posts in 3800 days

#14 posted 01-27-2016 11:59 AM

I have replaced the twin screw vice with leg vise and scissors from benchcrafted. I never really enjoyed the twins, but really like the benchcrafted. The twin vise was racking from top to bottom because of the location of the screws, so clamping wasn’t always right. It is also slow and needs to be screwed really parrallel or some extra friction appears on the mecanisme. After working with the rwin screw vise for about 7-8 years, I had enough.

-- Martin, Gatineau, Québec

View Jmacmadcap's profile


14 posts in 1024 days

#15 posted 01-08-2017 05:12 PM


I have a couple of questions for you regarding this bench. I am in process of building the exact bench. I can not PM you yet as I do not yet have the requisite 5 posts here at Lumber jocks. I tend to be much more of a lurker than a poster after having running afoul of the morality police at another woodworking forum….lol…anyhow, If you would message me here maybe? I can then respond and send you my personal e-maii. Ill post it here. If this is a faux pas for this forum, I would appreciate it if the moderators would please delete the mail address, but not the whole post, as I really would like to contact Martin.

thanks all…

madcapwoodwright – at – gmail – dot – com

-- Banned from the creek......

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