Wedge Powered Leg Vice that Works.

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Project by shipwright posted 08-28-2012 11:20 PM 17092 views 118 times favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple of days ago I posted the wagon vices that I have installed in the “outside the box” workbench I’m building myself. Today it is the leg vice. It is a very simple mechanism. In fact you could call it plane if you were so inclined. (sorry).

The jaws of the vice are fairly traditional except for the ability of the outer one to travel vertically. It is very different when it comes to power source however. As I said in the other post we boat builder types do very much like our wedges so this vice is powered by an 8 degree vertical wedge that offers about 1/2” of travel. In concert with two shims and a series of holes 1” apart that is enough to cover the vice’s travel of about ten inches face to face. The bottom spacer strut is conventional.

I think the photos will explain better than I can:

1) The vice as it fits on the bench in level clamping mode. There are no shims in place and the outer jaw is exactly level with the bench surface.

2) The same setup from the business side showing the stop pins and adjusting holes. These are very easy and quick to set up.

3) Shows the outer jaw in elevated mode. There is a 1/4” shim slid under the wheel at its base so that the jaw is now 1/4” above the top of the bench and can work against a dog. Also a really easy setup.

4) Same setup, other view showing a 3/4” shim in use. You knew I’d slip a little marquetry in somewhere didn’t you.

5) The lower strut, marked off in inches to facilitate setup.

6) One of the best things about this vice is that when not in use you can, by simply pulling the pin on the wedge rail, remove the whole thing…. leg bruiser and all and put it aside while you do other work on the bench.

That about sums it up. It is, like it’s designer, a simple soul but a good worker.

I haven’t played with it much yet but I can say that I can lift the end of the bench by a board clamped in this vice. The bench weighs 300 to 350 lbs ,is 90% plywood and you can just about build it with a skilsaw and a hammer. The dovetails you may see in some of the photos are strictly cosmetic.

The bench is a couple more days off. Stay tuned.

Hope this intrigues some of you and more important raises a few smiles.

Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome. Thanks for looking in

EDIT / Upgrade

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

42 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile


971 posts in 2103 days

#1 posted 08-28-2012 11:37 PM

Absolutely love your ideas. Especially like the wagon vise. Wish you had posted these ideas earlier. Iʻm in the middle of building a new workbench and would have liked to incorporate your ideas into my workbench. Maybe Iʻll make another workbench in my next life and use your ideas. lol.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Roger's profile


17851 posts in 1893 days

#2 posted 08-28-2012 11:37 PM

Paul, this is just 1st class all the way. Right down to the wood wheel. Luv the V-8 emblem on there. Now lay some rubber??? maybe some wood instead… :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View BertFlores58's profile


1648 posts in 2011 days

#3 posted 08-28-2012 11:44 PM

Hi Paul,
Another brilliant idea from you. I was looking for the correct angle for a wedge. The problem is it becomes so tight and difficult to get out (using 3 degrees). Plane wedges is 10 degrees and I tried this but slips when an impact is there. Now, I will try yours at 8 degrees. “Is it the same angle as MORSE TAPER .. those being used by dead center or lathe live centers.?” Dont bother I will search it. Thanks,

Good to have you around for those simple facts to ponder with.
God bless,

-- Bert

View DIYaholic's profile


18013 posts in 1764 days

#4 posted 08-28-2012 11:48 PM

Versatility does not have to mean complex!!! Great job & thanks for sharing this.

This is one of those ideas that I dream of incorporating into my own shop. The other is a wagon vise I recently saw. Lol.

People like myself (read: undercapitalized or POOR), will find this very helpful. I look forward to seeing the entire bench…....

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View woodshaver's profile


3555 posts in 2442 days

#5 posted 08-29-2012 12:05 AM

Wow! That’s one beautiful vice! I agree with Roger! “First Class all the way”!

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View shipwright's profile


6277 posts in 1887 days

#6 posted 08-29-2012 12:10 AM

Roger, are you saying that some scoundrel has used my “8 Degree Vertical” logo for some infernal combustion machine….. the nerve.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Cygnwulf's profile


30 posts in 1213 days

#7 posted 08-29-2012 12:42 AM

I know a lot of people keep saying they wish they had seen this earlier because they already started/built their benches, but it came at a fantastic time for me. I had been toying with the idea of an all-wood construction for a while but dislike the fragility/price of wooden screws. plus the fact that they still require metal grommets, etc….

-- Stephen H -- If it ain't broke, it probalby still needs fixing....

View LeChuck's profile


419 posts in 2152 days

#8 posted 08-29-2012 12:55 AM

This is very cool. Can’t wait to hear about the bench because as I’ve been building my workshop I’m now in need of a workbench and work table, on a frugal budget.

-- David - Tucson, AZ

View rance's profile


4197 posts in 2250 days

#9 posted 08-29-2012 01:01 AM

And I thought Marquetry was your vice. Nice viSe there Paul. Not sure I’d marquet an emblem for a tomato drink into my vise though. :) But I am a little surprised that your numbering on the lower strut was not done with marquetry. Pencil marks? Seriously?

>“The bench weighs 300 to 350 lbs ,is 90% plywood and you can just about build it with a skilsaw and a hammer.”
Now this is what the specs. for a bench should be.

The innovation with this is wonderful. I like the addition of the vertical movement for use with the dogs. Clever, and still simple. Nice job all around.

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

View SPalm's profile


5186 posts in 2971 days

#10 posted 08-29-2012 01:14 AM

I am inclined to think that I already have enough vises. But a new vise is always a pleasure. And yours Si,r is a pleasure.

I was also going to say something about 8 degrees of separation, but I won’t.

Nice job Paul. Truly clever and very inspirational.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View grizzman's profile


7633 posts in 2393 days

#11 posted 08-29-2012 01:28 AM

cant really add more then what has been said, it for sure is first class, and i would be disappointed if you didnt have something like this in your shop, in a way its to bad your retired now, after all the years you took to become a master boat builder, just when you got warmed up, you want to retire and drink v-8…ive heard its good for your system…..i remember from school days getting a wedgie , but nothing like this…:)

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Roz's profile


1684 posts in 2876 days

#12 posted 08-29-2012 01:54 AM

Fantastic! thanks for the post. I love shop related projects.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14396 posts in 2195 days

#13 posted 08-29-2012 02:24 AM

Cool. Great looking vise!!...........Jim

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

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 1978 days

#14 posted 08-29-2012 02:42 AM

Paul another great idea! I really like the simplicity and the engineering that goes into these inventions. Then to top it of a little marquetry and you just gotta love the added grooving of the wheel to limit sawdust collection. Only a shipwright would figure it all out!!!!!!!!!!!

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View kiefer's profile


4219 posts in 1756 days

#15 posted 08-29-2012 03:14 AM

PAUL I am tuned in and waiting for the GRAND FINALE ,you got my attention and I love simple /practical design .

-- Kiefer 松

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