Vise Screw Overhaul

  • Advertise with us
Project by FJPetruso posted 05-29-2011 04:36 AM 5636 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was going the include the following project as part of my soon-to-be woodworking bench project. But I quickly found out that this would be a project in itself.

I purchased a couple of Sjobergs woodworking benches over the past years but I have always wanted to make my own bench. That woodworking bench project finally started moving forward when I found what was labeled an “Old Wooden Clamp” in an antique store. I could see right away that it was a leg vise with a wooden vise screw. The owner had it marked at $45 but I managed to get it for $38. It was barely readable but the vise screw & nut are made by Ohio Tool Company. The chop & parallel guide were home-made & were still attached to the old leg of the work bench. Chop is made of oak & the parallel guide is made from an old tongue & groove board. The only parts that I’m using is the screw & nut which is 27-1/2” long & has a thread diameter of 2-1/2”. The other parts will be wall hangers for my shop.

I had some trouble getting the nut off of the screw (!?) because the previous user had put spray lithium grease on the threads & let it soak in & swell the threads a bit. There was also a build-up of gunk on the threads. When I finally got it apart I could see that the groove for the garter was all wallowed out. Probably from being used on a rough cut garter. There was also a small chunk of wood missing from the threads. Chucking it up in the lathe was a bit of a challenge because I found the screw to be a bit warped. So no matter how true I got it into the drive spur or chuck, it would wobble somewhere along it’s length. I marked the center of the hub end & drilled a 3/4” hole & glued a dowel in the end. With this dowel sticking out I was able to use my four jaw adjustable chuck to true up the rotating surface wherever I wanted to work along the length of the vise screw. This allowed me to just sand the surface with out shaving down the whole thing. Then each time I wanted to clean up one of the decorative grooves on the screw I re-trued the screw right where I was working & managed to keep from getting grooves with uneven depths. I then trued the screw to the area of the garter groove. I used a gouge to clean out all oily wood & got to the fresh wood. I mixed up some epoxy & spread a thin coat on the raw wood & quickly added some sawdust to the epoxy & filled the groove with the putty like mixture. I did the same with the chipped thread. After it cured overnight, I smoothed out the surface & cut a new 3/8” garter groove. I cut into the fresh wood on the handle side & the epoxy on the threaded side. this way I wouldn’t have any epoxy showing after I put the vise together later. Then I shaped the threaded area with a file & sandpaper. I drilled a couple of 3/8” pieces of oak with a 1-5/8” forstner bit & tested the fit for the garter I would make later. The results were more than satisfactory.

Now it’s time to make the handle for the vise screw.

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

5 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20270 posts in 3068 days

#1 posted 05-29-2011 05:37 AM

Nice job or rejuvenating an old tool like that. There is a lot of power in a screw that diamete
Thanks for sharing.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jcees's profile


1058 posts in 3761 days

#2 posted 05-30-2011 02:41 PM

Nice rehab. It will serve you well for many years to come.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View CartersWhittling's profile


453 posts in 2636 days

#3 posted 10-19-2011 05:58 AM

Beautiful screw, good to see it back in action.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View olddutchman1's profile


69 posts in 2374 days

#4 posted 11-07-2011 05:23 PM

That is a nice project! I would like to build one also. Time is not on My side though. I may have to let some One build it. Thanks for taking Us into the rehab! Very nice to see something being saved!

-- Saved! and so gratefull.Consider Who Created it All

View whitewulf's profile


454 posts in 2899 days

#5 posted 07-21-2012 07:51 PM

You could also use the original to make a new nut and screw!
Thus providing a usable new parts for your workbench

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics