Workbench #1: Leg Vise

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Blog entry by Randy Klein posted 11-18-2007 03:03 AM 6146 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench series Part 2: Leg Vise Update »

What do you get when you cross a cast iron vise with a leg vise?

After reading Chris Schwarz’s new book on Workbenches, I got inspired to try out a leg vise. I didn’t have a vise screw to use, but did have one of those run-of-the-mill cast iron vises that was doing a pathetic job in the tail vise position.

So I crossed the two and added it to my soon-to-replaced-by-a-Roubo-style workbench. And this is what I got. I must say, I really like the leg vise. I got some more to do with it though.

You’ll notice that in the closed position, it’s not flush. This is, of course, due to the angle the cast iron vise has to ensure it’s top engages first. Now that it is on it’s side, that angle doesn’t work for me. I’ll have to plane down the board to match that angle.

But the benefits over the traditional style is that there is no screw in the middle to impede a tall board from being clamped floor to bench top, as shown in the last picture.

This benefit is at the expense of not being able to clamp a tall board on the left side of the vise. But I’m not sure how often you would do that.

Please, any thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, let me have it. This was just scrap wood and a few hours, so nothing will hurt me.

4 comments so far

View rjack's profile


110 posts in 3822 days

#1 posted 11-18-2007 03:39 AM

I also just finished Charle’s workbench book. I’m planning on building the Holtzapffel bench. What kind of wood are you using for your Roubo bench? Are you making any modifcations to the plans described in the book?

-- Roger - Havertown, Pennsylvania

View Randy Klein's profile

Randy Klein

17 posts in 3894 days

#2 posted 11-18-2007 04:16 AM

I’m going to follow Chris’s suggestions and plans as best as possible. I’ve talked to Chris about the wood and he ensures me that Southern Yellow Pine is readily available at Home Depot. He says go find that 2”x12”x16’ #2. It’s really clear and knot free. He says it has something to do with the loads that size must be able to support which necessitates a clearer knot free wood than say those gnarly 2×4’s. So I went to both Home Depot and Lowes to verify, and he’s right. There is some nice and very cheap SYP available. Now you just need to figure out how to transport 16’ boards…

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3929 days

#3 posted 11-18-2007 05:11 AM

If you look at HD or Lowe’s there is usually a chop saw available for use. Cut ‘em in two.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4032 days

#4 posted 11-18-2007 07:38 AM

Great looking addition to your bench – looks like it can be real handy for certain projects.

Thomas is right, the Lowes & HD here in Louisiana will crosscut the boards for you.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

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