Rehabbing an Old Screw

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Blog entry by Eric posted 06-01-2010 03:58 PM 1304 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A year ago I solicited your feedback on which vise I should use for the leg vise on my bench. The only option that seemed viable as a result of your feedback was the big honkin’ wooden screw that I got off of eBay for $10. The only problem was that it looked like it was in pretty bad shape. I decided that while I wait to get the lumber on my bench, I’ll see if I can’t replace the rotting head on the screw. I’ve ordered a 1 1/2” threading tap and die set, so if I totally botch this job I can just chuck it and make my own screw. But since I have this one (which is just over 2”), I may as well see if I can make it work. So here’s what I have to work with, the “before” shot:

Pretty rough stuff there. So the first thing to do was to trim the head down to the diameter of the main shaft. I sharpened my newly-acquired hatchet and took to it.

Whip out the trusty drawknife, and with some creative planing stopping I manage to produce something roughly cylindrical and close to the right diameter.

Now I’m not sure if I need to cut any of the top of the head off. I think the shaft will be tenoned and pinned into the new head, but I’m not sure yet about dimensions. But I thought that that hole would be a liability; I don’t think I want to use the current hole as is, even if there is a little bit of new wood around it. So I decided I will put the new hole in perpendicular to the old one. But first, to fill that hole. So I got some of the wood I recently found in our neighborhood, and with hatchet and drawknife got an okay-dimensioned peg to fill that hole. I put the grain perpendicular to the direction of the new hole; seemed better that way.

After the glue dried, I trimmed the peg and it looks like a decent enough fit! Next I’ll laminate the block for the new head. I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m having fun!

-- Eric at

6 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3644 days

#1 posted 06-01-2010 04:06 PM

sweet job on the shaping.

I can’t tell much from the photo in terms of grain direction, but at these thicknesses – do you think there will be a wood movement issue here in the future as the plug tries to expand hole and split the screw? might be worth considering now.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3779 days

#2 posted 06-01-2010 04:18 PM

Good point. I hope this won’t be too much of an issue because I don’t think there is really a wood movement issue here in Malaysia. I mean – hot and humid is pretty much the way it is year-round, so is there really any wood movement?

If there is, maybe I’ll still be okay because this wood was only hacked off the fallen tree a couple/few months ago, and maybe is still acclimating? Perhaps it still may shrink a bit more, giving it room to expand (if it does, which I’m not sure of).

But again – worst case scenario I just go with a homemade screw!

-- Eric at

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#3 posted 06-01-2010 04:29 PM

I doubt there will significant wood movement in a small plug like that.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3156 days

#4 posted 06-01-2010 05:32 PM

From pic #4 it looks like you have the grain running in the right direction. If it were perpendicular to the length, then you might have problems. Most expansion is along the rings, not across them.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3668 days

#5 posted 06-01-2010 11:25 PM

Nice job.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3779 days

#6 posted 06-02-2010 05:04 AM

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