Wooden Vise Screw cutting?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by ChrisCarr posted 10-11-2012 01:36 PM 9441 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ChrisCarr's profile


196 posts in 2708 days

10-11-2012 01:36 PM

After looking at the prices of cast iron vises and sizes i want to build my own vise for my new workbench.
I want 2 twin screw vises but i can’t afford $300 each from lee valley for them so i thought i would build my own.
I thought about just buying metal vise screws but it would still be around $120 for 4 screws (2 vises).

So i thought about cutting my own wooden screws. I know woodcraft and highland sells 1 1/2” wood taps and dyes but no one sells anything bigger. The tap and sye are about $60. I’d like 2 vises for under $80
(i know its not enough money but i can’t afford much more).

Is 1 1/2” diameter big/strong enough for vise screws out of wood?
Could using wood stronger than maple for the screws make it do-able?

Any advice would great,

10 replies so far

View Sylvain's profile


679 posts in 2309 days

#1 posted 10-11-2012 02:25 PM

Look at CartersWhittling tutorial :

Look also at Mauricio’s posts

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View shipwright's profile


7737 posts in 2608 days

#2 posted 10-11-2012 03:22 PM

Have you seen my bench?
The three vices are all made of wood and work very well.
As your main motivator seems to be cost, these would be very hard to beat.

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

View bandit571's profile


18415 posts in 2493 days

#3 posted 10-11-2012 03:46 PM

There was a episode by Roy Underhill, about making a “screw-box” from scratch. He used an old file for the cutter. One could make any size box they wanted to, and re-make a file as the cutter.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Loren's profile


9546 posts in 3458 days

#4 posted 10-11-2012 03:52 PM

I never watched the Roy Underhill TV show but I read the
books I could find when I was starting out. One of them
describes how to hand cut a screw and how to make a
tap. I think he was making a cider press.

View bandit571's profile


18415 posts in 2493 days

#5 posted 10-11-2012 05:15 PM

Go to, look up The woodwright Shop. You will find about three years worth of shows. I think it was about two years ago. Making a file into a hardened cutter takes a bit of doing. Heat and re-heats. He used the entire 1/2 hour to show how to make one. Go to episode # 2704

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1518 posts in 3935 days

#6 posted 10-11-2012 06:40 PM

I like the various wedge driven vises and clamps on shipwright's bench that he linked up-thread, but I thought I’d also suggest: How about just using threaded rod? Home Depot’s web site suggests that they’ll sell you two feet of ¾” by 10 threads per inch for $7.49, if you’ve got a hack saw you can probably save some bucks by going longer and cutting it yourself. Epoxy some nuts in to your fixed part, drill a ¾” hole through a handle, put the rod in, drill a 1/8” or so hole across those two, drop a nail in and bend it over, and instant handle!

If you’re looking for more complex parts (ie: mating threads for quick releases), you can use kneadable plumber’s putty and mold it around the rod, or cut a nut or coupler in half.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Sylvain's profile


679 posts in 2309 days

#7 posted 10-11-2012 07:58 PM

If cost is the prime factor, follow shipwright’s route.
The thread rod from HD will work but you wil have to make many turns (10 to advance one inch); if you follow this route, try to file the rod a little bit to slightly reduce the outer diameter, because in its original state it is made to be tightened once and not to be tightened and untightened all the time.
This is recommended somewhere on the site of Matthias Wandel who has been making a lot of jigs using threaded rods.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18062 posts in 3486 days

#8 posted 10-12-2012 04:06 AM

If I were going to build a bench on a vise budget, I’d go the shipwright route.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MNgary's profile


296 posts in 2227 days

#9 posted 10-12-2012 05:16 AM

I have my grandfather’s furniture clamps made 100% out of wood (probably made in the 1930’s) and use them for many of my projects. They work so well for me that when I made my cabinet-makers style workbench (see my profile for picture of it) I made the vises using one and one-half inch dowels.

I’ve never used the workbench vises to hold a piece of metal that I could pound on, but they are regularly used to hold boards that I drill, plane, handsaw, route, carve, chisel (including using a mallet for some of the chisel operations). In short, for all my wood-working operations.

I used a thread cutter and die that was on close-out from a local Rocklers. Probably made in Taiwan. But I did put a coating of glycerine on the dowels before cutting the threads. And I had to “puff” dry graphite on the threads.

They don’t operate as smoothly as metal threads, but they get the job intended done!

-- I dream of the world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Mauricio's profile


7139 posts in 2961 days

#10 posted 10-21-2012 07:17 PM

Hi Chris, I just stumbled on to your post. I just made mine. I’m not totally finished but I think I finally got it to work. I see Sylvain already posted a link to my blog.

If you are looking to make a twin screw vise I think the 1 1/2” screws would work just fine. I mean, they work on the Moxon vises that everyone makes.

If you have Scott Landis’ workbench book you’ll see that there is a guy in there with giant roubo bench with a leg vise, His screw is only 1.5” diameter and he says it works fine. I just think it looks too small for a leg vise. But that purely aesthetic. But for a twin screw I think it would be ok and it would look right.

Correction, I just double checked the Landis book, his screw is 1 3/4” but still a twin screw would be fine with 1 1/2” screws IMHO

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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