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Workbench #1: Wagon vise from scratch

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Blog entry by yuridichesky posted 579 days ago 2571 reads 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Workbench series Part 2: vise handle, bench dogs, and legs »

The bench I’m building is a small one due to very limited shop area (about 10 by 4 feet), so the top is 40” by 10” (laminated pine) plus tool tray (about 6” wide). As for vises after some considerations I decided to go for leg vise and the wagon vise.

It took me a while, but now top and wagon vise are ready.

Here is my wagon vise kit ready for assembly:

The hardware is a 3/4” (19mm) machine screw with square brass nut ($10 flea-market find).

The screw was extended with the spigot so it got proper length and the flange to apply pressure to. The spigot was secured on the screw with three 1/8” rivets.

Square screw nut gave me some problem: initially I wanted to silver solder it to the brass base, but then I decided that this would not hold clamping pressure.

The solution was to wrap the nut with steel cover and weld it to the steel base. Then I drilled and tapped four 5/16” (8mm) holes to bolt the nut to the moving vise block (3-1/8” x 3-1/8” x 2” piece of beech with oak rail glued in):

The dados for moving vise block was chiseled out and waxed (candle wax) before gluing the top. (Memo to self: when gluing parts that must fit accurately to each other it’s best to provide some means to secure them before any glue applied (dowels would work in my case), clamps won’t let you position parts precisely because glue makes them very slippery.)

To fix end of the screw I made brass washer (that works as a bearing too) secured with 4 screws.

The end cap is a beech block drilled and chiseled accordingly:

I have a dozen of 3/4” (20mm) round nuts left from some past project, so I decided to use them to secure end cap with 3/8” (10mm) bolts. I’m 100% sure I’m not the first one who came up with this little trick: I drilled 5/32” (4mm) blind hole and tapped it at the end of the nuts to be able to install and to extract them to/from deep holes:

This was real time saver, it took 5 minutes max for each nut (not to count that I broke two taps learning how to tap those blind holes), and it payed off on second disassemble of the vise.

So this is first tangible result since I started building the bench. Dog holes are yet to drill, non-dog clamping capacity is 6” (150mm)—not bad for small bench.

I think I’ll wax the screw and all other metal parts and oil wooden parts of the vise.

The only power tools used when building top and wagon vise were corded and cordless drills for metal work (it was really tiring to drill 5/16” thick metal plate by hand).

Next stop is legs and leg vise.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)



15 comments so far

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

836 posts in 830 days


#1 posted 579 days ago

Hi Yuri and welcome to lumberjocks. Nice build on the wagon vise. I too have a screw and nut (actually from an end vise, but no mounting plates) and was thinking of turning it into a wagon vise. Yours should work great but keep us posted after you get the dog holes in and how you like it.
Jim

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View terryR's profile (online now)

terryR

3053 posts in 942 days


#2 posted 579 days ago

Nice job, Yuri. Looks like ton of work…but a project to be proud of! Thanks for sharing all the photos…can’t wait to see your bench completed!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

836 posts in 830 days


#3 posted 579 days ago

I was looking at the photos again and realized that the outboard guide bar is longer than the dog block. If you were to cut a taper or wedge shape to it it would push any chips or sawdust out of the channel like a snow plow. The side with the screw you can see to keep it clean, but the none screw side is hidden from view and forgotten till it clogs. Of course now it’s all put together so it might be a little late for this modification.
Jim

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

156 posts in 633 days


#4 posted 579 days ago

4’x10’ wow. Looking at your pics is proof you don’t need a big shop to turn out quality work.

-- Ted

View stefang's profile

stefang

12945 posts in 1967 days


#5 posted 579 days ago

Looks real good. Nice work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

315 posts in 597 days


#6 posted 579 days ago

Jim, thank you. Taper to remove dust/shavings from the channel is definitely good idea, I may come back to it later on the next “bench improvements” round. Now I just can’t wait to move on and have my bench equipped with legs and leg vise.

Terry, thanks a lot. It was quite a bit of work, but when you do it piece by piece it’s not that scary.

Ted, it’s 4’x10’ now, it’ll get couple of feet shorter when I’ll build tool cabinet and some storage compartments. Thank you.

Thank you, Mike, I’m glad you liked it.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1718 days


#7 posted 579 days ago

A lot of planning and work, but it is paying off big time for you with a great looking bench and vise. Thank
you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

315 posts in 597 days


#8 posted 579 days ago

Thank you, Gus. Such a warm reception really helps.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View jap's profile

jap

1226 posts in 687 days


#9 posted 578 days ago

looks good

-- Joel

View mileskimball's profile

mileskimball

82 posts in 647 days


#10 posted 578 days ago

Good metal work! Wrapping the nut in steel must’ve been tricky.

-- Miles

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

315 posts in 597 days


#11 posted 578 days ago

Thanks, Jap.

Thank you, Miles.

I had to hire professional metal worker for all the welding stuff due to total lack of appropriate equipment and (most importantly) conditions for this type of work at my place. And yes, it was tricky. As the guy explained later his first attempt was total failure, but fortunately second one went well. There’s still some little issue with the nut: its bottom side is not parallel with the base plate, but nut’s axis is dead parallel with the base, so it works perfectly with wagon vise application.

The spigot that extends the screw was also outsourced to professional turner for the same reason.

The rest of metal work—shaping screw cover plate, making square nuts, drilling and tapping all the holes—was mine.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6809 posts in 1785 days


#12 posted 577 days ago

Wow great vise Yuri! Great work.

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

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

315 posts in 597 days


#13 posted 577 days ago

Thank you, Mauricio!

You know, I just examined your wagon vise build and I started to realize that I might take over-complicated route. Will see how mine will work, but yours is an example of perfect match of form and function: just a few parts, just a few cuts, easy to fit and maintain. Cool!

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View Mauricio's profile

Mauricio

6809 posts in 1785 days


#14 posted 577 days ago

Yeah but yours is much nicer than mine. Thanks though!

Check out PurpLev’s blog, he is the one who gave me the idea. He also put a wheel crank on it which is really nice.
http://lumberjocks.com/PurpLev/blog/17919

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

View yuridichesky's profile

yuridichesky

315 posts in 597 days


#15 posted 577 days ago

That wheel is a beauty. If some day I find a wheel of suitable diameter (3-1/8”) I’ll give it a try thought it might be too small.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

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