Milkman's Workbench with Wedge Vises

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Project by pinebox posted 423 days ago 6945 views 45 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last summer I saw the wedge vises that Shipwright showed on the Lumberjocks site and really liked them. You can see these at Shipwright has a nice little video on how they work and a Sketchup drawing showing the details.

Later I saw the “milkman’s workbench” in an article by Chris Scwarz and immediately liked it too although I didn’t know what I would do with one. You can see the original article at and an updated article at which includes a video of it in use.

Why not combine the two? I didn’t want to spend the time to make the wooden screws anyway. Of course as I was typing this up I found that Ilkka Sivonen of Finland had already done something similar. You can see his version at Sivonen’s version is really nice but he used big wedges whereas mine uses small ones like Shipwright’s to allow a plane to get at the project easier.

So here is my version, warts and all. I tried it out on the deck and really liked it. It works better than expected. The front vise has a removable spacer which is just a super-wide version of the spacers in Shipwright’s vise. The bench is made of pallet wood and I haven’t cleaned it up yet but you can look at the different versions for ideas to make your own.

It’s a fun project. A view of the trees sure beats a windowless basement when the weather is nice.

19 comments so far

View dragonnotes's profile


69 posts in 1617 days

#1 posted 423 days ago

Wow, just checked out your videos. You are the real deal. If i can even make some of the joints required in this piece, I would love to make one for working outside as well. Thanks for sharing. After looking at this a bit. There is so much to it I am intimidated. :) Where do you start?

View Ken90712's profile


14821 posts in 1774 days

#2 posted 423 days ago

Nice work, should serve you well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Brandon's profile


4136 posts in 1536 days

#3 posted 423 days ago

Nice rendition of the milkman’s bench! These are great for using on those days where it’s just perfect outside.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)


15271 posts in 1452 days

#4 posted 423 days ago

That’s a wonderful design and it looks like it would be a joy to use. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View JoeinGa's profile (online now)


3050 posts in 592 days

#5 posted 423 days ago

Nice little bench!
Just make sure you dont drop anything while working near the edge :-(

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Don W's profile

Don W

14496 posts in 1152 days

#6 posted 423 days ago

Excellent project.

Any idea why its called a “milkman’s” bench

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


4695 posts in 1162 days

#7 posted 423 days ago

A definite favorite, thanks for posting a great idea.

View Brandon's profile


4136 posts in 1536 days

#8 posted 423 days ago

Don, it’s called that because Chris Schwarz saw one of these that was owned by a milkman.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Airframer's profile


2210 posts in 538 days

#9 posted 423 days ago

Very nice!

-- Eric -

View shipwright's profile


4807 posts in 1383 days

#10 posted 422 days ago

Good one.
I like it and it’s nice to see someone else using the wedge idea.
I’ve been using my bench a lot and am still impressed with how well they work.

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

View Dakkar's profile


297 posts in 512 days

#11 posted 422 days ago

The wedge vise idea certainly is interesting. You seem to have found a sturdy base to clamp it to, as well, but I don’t think that would work for me. I’d be spending half my time jumping over the rail and chasing things that roll down the hill.

View stefang's profile


12410 posts in 1919 days

#12 posted 422 days ago

Looks very handy and easy to use. Well done.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View pinebox's profile


29 posts in 553 days

#13 posted 422 days ago

The main problems with this bench are parts falling off when it is clamped to a railing and storage of all the little wedges and spacers. I’ve got the beginnings of an idea of creating a drawer on the bottom of the bench that would extend and work as a tray to catch rolling parts when the bench was in use and then slide in and act as a storage compartment for the loose parts when not in use. If I make another one, I would try to work out the bench dog spacing better too.

View Philip's profile


1061 posts in 1124 days

#14 posted 422 days ago

Bravo! Looks like a great idea. I’d like to figure out a good way to make a tote that transforms into a mini bench/vise.

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View whitebeast88's profile


3382 posts in 775 days

#15 posted 422 days ago

very nice,great build.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

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