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Farm Bench Leg Vise #1: Roehl Leg Vise

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Blog entry by Rick M posted 11-13-2014 03:45 AM 1992 reads 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Farm Bench Leg Vise series Part 2: Brace & Mayne Workbench & Vise »

[update: better pics on my personal blog]
http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/2014/11/unusual-early-20th-century-farm-leg-vise.html

Posting this here so it doesn’t get buried in the workbench thread.

While perusing Google Books I ran across an unusual leg vise arrangement on a Nicholson style bench in Farm Woodwork by Louis Michael Roehl, 1919. The leg vise has two angled braces rather than the usual pin bar. The angled braces, along with the screw, form a triangle that rides underneath the top keeping the chop parallel to the leg. As the vise attempts to rack, the downward force pushes the tail of the bracket into the benchtop keeping it level. The pictures explain better.

The book can be found free online at Google Books, archive.org, and wkfinetools.com

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/



23 comments so far

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2800 days


#1 posted 11-13-2014 10:03 AM

That whole bench looks nothing short of brilliant. The vise is amazing and certainly innovative. Another thing that caught my attention is the tool tray. Instead of an enclosed tool tray that just catches dust, shavings and other debris, this one is not enclosed like the traditional ones and the design makes it very easy to keep clean while still being able to keep tools below bench top height. The designer was one smart guy! Thanks for posting this Rick, it’s really interesting.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View doitforfun's profile

doitforfun

199 posts in 1074 days


#2 posted 11-13-2014 11:06 AM

It seems recently that every time I turn around I discover a new leg vise contraption. And every time I see the latest one, I say to myself there can’t possibly be any more. And I’m always wrong. So now I think I’ll just sit back and be patient and wait for the NEXT one to present itself! :-)

-- Brian in Wantagh, NY

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7483 posts in 1473 days


#3 posted 11-13-2014 12:59 PM

Those are the widest aprons I’ve ever seen on a bench. The way we like to try and fit “5 pounds of crap in a 10 pound sack” would make the area under that bench be just a lot of wasted space :-)

The vise IS rather “unique” as you have pointed out.

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

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1625 posts in 2099 days


#4 posted 11-13-2014 02:01 PM

Cool bench. That design could be built in a day, with $75 worth of 2X lumber. I like the apron….I’d make mine slightly smaller and add some dog holes and other refinements. I’d probably incorporate shelving/storage into the space under the table too.
The vise is interesting indeed. Seems like a great design for a farmer or avid DIY’r that needed to clamp/plane larger items like doors, window sashes, etc.
I do question the long-term durability of the vise design though. I see a few weak point that I suspect would fail with age or heavy usage. But as I said, it was probably perfectly adequate for a guy that just needed to occasionally plane an ill-fitting door.
I’ll be saving this picture for future reference. Thanks for posting.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7174 posts in 2264 days


#5 posted 11-13-2014 02:29 PM

Simple, easy, cheap. ...... Excellent.
Someone was a creative thinker.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View doubleDD's profile (online now)

doubleDD

5243 posts in 1509 days


#6 posted 11-13-2014 02:39 PM

This is one great reason why having a computer is so great. You can find anything out there. Just so happened that I came across this a couple weeks ago searching for ideas for building a simple bench for myself. There are so many different ideas out there that it can get confusing. This is one that I saved for future reference.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days


#7 posted 11-13-2014 03:11 PM

IMO, This is going to be the problem spot. All of the force will be applied here, so the horizontal piece will break, and if it doesn’t it’ll crush the bottom of the face. That 1×3 isn’t going to take much to break.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1625 posts in 2099 days


#8 posted 11-13-2014 05:39 PM

I also love the gap on the far right end of the bench. I assume that’s for hand saw work?

BTW- Just looked through the book….lots of great projects and information besides this bench/vise. Definitely worth A LOT more than the $0.00 asking price.

View Mosquito's profile (online now)

Mosquito

8125 posts in 1758 days


#9 posted 11-13-2014 05:44 PM

Don, if you make the opening in the apron larger than the 1×3 going through it, wouldn’t it act just like a regular leg vise? That is, the screw becomes the pivot point, and the rest just holds the bottom of the chop from racking

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days


#10 posted 11-13-2014 06:07 PM



Don, if you make the opening in the apron larger than the 1×3 going through it, wouldn t it act just like a regular leg vise? That is, the screw becomes the pivot point, and the rest just holds the bottom of the chop from racking

- Mosquito

We may need a “proof of concept” or I need another cup of coffee! :-)

But I don’t think the screw would be the pivot point in a regular leg vise, the pin at the bottom is. There is a “straight pull” action which helps with racking. The force of the jaw pushed down, and the force from the pin pushes up, keeping the screw level.

In this design, the force from the pull would push down on the chop, which pushes up on the angle piece, which then returns the downward push. So either the horizontal piece or the screw would need to keep the chop from dropping.

So to answer your question, I do believe making the hole in the apron larger would then make the screw the pivot, but I think that would be a huge problem.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2084 days


#11 posted 11-13-2014 06:08 PM

I believe the ‘gap’ is a bench hook.

Aprons like that are common to Nicholson-style benches.

Someone with an extra vise screw really needs to build this!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Mosquito's profile (online now)

Mosquito

8125 posts in 1758 days


#12 posted 11-13-2014 06:13 PM

I think I see what you’re saying Don, and I think it makes sense.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days


#13 posted 11-13-2014 06:15 PM

to try it you don’t even need a vise screw. Use a bar clamp to test the theory.

I’d like to see the results as well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View Mosquito's profile (online now)

Mosquito

8125 posts in 1758 days


#14 posted 11-13-2014 06:21 PM

I’ve got a 3/4” wood threading kit too. Haven’t gotten it to work yet, but I might have to try… scale model benches? Hmmm lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7929 posts in 1846 days


#15 posted 11-13-2014 06:56 PM


Those are the widest aprons I ve ever seen on a bench. The way we like to try and fit “5 pounds of crap in a 10 pound sack” would make the area under that bench be just a lot of wasted space :-)

The vise IS rather “unique” as you have pointed out.

- JoeinGa

That is a Nicholson style bench. My understanding is that it was designed to be built from construction lumber at the jobsite so storage wasn’t a requirement. The wide aprons have dog holes for supporting wide stock for edge planing. It’s not clear in the drawings I posted but this bench also has a pop up stop for surface planing. The style became popular because it’s inexpensive and fast to build. But as you say, they are not great for storage.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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