Chris Schwarz's Blog

You Want a Pizza or a Twin-screw Vise?

This is the last post on Joseph Moxon’s double-screw vise. Promise.

Wednesday morning while I was in the shower, my brain clicked. (Hey! twice in one month!) On Tuesday, Glen Huey and I were discussing how to make a double-screw vise without a wood-threading kit. He suggested bolts. I suggested pipe clamps. We left it at that.

Then, at 5:15 a.m., the lukewarm water of our shower brought on this idea: F-style clamps. Everyone has them. So I scurried off to work and immediately began fussing with some poplar at my bench. I had a rear jaw and chop already prepared for threading. The holes were drilled, and the blank for the handles was waiting on the lathe.

Instead I took the poplar parts to the table saw and milled a 1/4″-wide groove in the ends of the rear jaw and the chop. Each groove intersected a hole and was just wide enough to accept the bar of an F-style clamp.

I slid two short F-style-clamps into the grooves and filled in the grooves with some poplar scraps (purple poplar , my personal favorite).

Does this vise work? Heck yes. And later that day Glen and Robert Lang and I came up with some other ways we could do this without permanently installing the F-style clamps. (However, I prefer it this way.)

The best thing was that making this twin-screw vise took , at most , 30 minutes.

Perhaps I should shower more often.

– Christopher Schwarz

Other Workbench Resources You Might Enjoy

– “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” Now in its third printing.

–  “The Best of Shops & Workbenches” CD from Popular Woodworking.

– “The Workbench: How to Design or Modify a Bench for Efficient Use DVD” from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks

23 thoughts on “You Want a Pizza or a Twin-screw Vise?

  1. Ken Peluso

    Why bother with the ho.es and slots at all. Yeah, it’s nice to have them hanging there but I’d imaging it’s altogether loose and sloppy. If you’re going to stop this short in making the vise, why not just have the front piece adn clamps separate and use the, to help sandwich the workpiece in the vise?

    Nah, that just as bad. Either do it the right way, or try the pipe clamp route as suggested. This is definitely one place where convenience doesn’t work.

  2. James Watriss

    I’m also taking bets on how long it’ll be before someone cuts those clamps back out of that board.

  3. James Watriss

    I’m used to your bench problem manifesting in newly built versions of old designs, built stoutly and with care.

    A face vise made with scraps and F-clamps that gets clamped to the top of the bench seems a little out of character for you.

  4. AAAndrew

    I can easily see modifying this kind of setup for different kinds of needs. If you do a lot of small drawer or box dovetailing, I could see a version of this that has wooden dogs attached that just slip into the dog holes on your bench and a hold down keeps it solid rather than having to clamp the whole thing down to your bench.

    A quick vise type of action you have on some clamps would also be useful, to minimize the amount of twisting or turning clamp or screw handles. That would be most useful when you’re working with varying thicknesses.

    I would imagine that the height of the boards used to clamp the piece are really dependent on how high off the bench you want it. It’s a matter of good sawing stance.

    Hmmm.

    AAAndrew

  5. Ron

    Don’t those F clamps come apart? Guess not if you did the slot. Pipe clamp sounds like a great way to go too.

    What if you took apart a wood clamp and used the acme threaded rods and their threaded inserts? They come with wooden handles already and if you do it right – you could still use the wooded clamp.

  6. Gregg Counts

    That’s a good functional way to approach it but the wood screws look so cool I am going with them.

  7. Shawn G

    Whoa! Big Jump… How did you and Glen Huey go from wood talk to showering together…

    (Pronouns)

  8. Alan Ennis

    Instead of wood screws could also just use a couple of small vice screws like these.

    http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id=22373&name=vice+screw&user_search=1&sfile=1&jump=44

    but smaller ones. I have one on my leg vice. It is probably more expensive than buying a wooden screw box and tap but I am sure you can get them cheaper somewhere else.
    I would be worried that until the f-clamps start to tighten up you have the front jaw and the work and two f-clamps all flappin’ around and only two hands to hold it all.

    I like the wood screw option but the tail vice screw would be my next choice before f-clamps. Although as you say ‘ everybody has them’ and on a tight budget and when needs must etc…

    All that being said I’ll be experimenting with this in the shop over the next while.

    All the best.

    Alan
    Ireland/Dublin

  9. thewitchwoodapprentice.blogspot.com

    Hi Chris !
    I,n new to hand tool woodworking. The little of it I have done so far I really enjoy !
    I have been following your blog for a little while. I think you give out great info. I live
    in a tiny apartment and my budget is also tiny so i appreciate great ideas like this one.
    I’m building a small workbench that will be very simple. When I start working on
    dovetails this vice will be very helpful.
    -Joe
    The Witchwood Apprentice

  10. prrk47002.myopenid.com

    Great idea. It’s easier to justify the F clamps vs the wood threading tools.

  11. Steve Wirt

    It was one thing when you were going after historical accuracy. But this seems like a lot of trouble to go through to just F-clamp a pair of handscrews to the bench. What am I missing? If it is the height, then you could clamp the handscrews to a spacer block to the workbench.

  12. www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmBL_t_hyNeiF0fLEGeoJK-7N_InPivLF4

    Maybe consider cutting a recess or something in the back or a lip on the sides of the vise so that you can fasten it to the bench with holdfasts instead of clamps? Not that this really makes a whole lot of difference.

    I have to admit that you’ve got me seriously thinking about making one of these. I have about a million other things to tweak on my bench first, though, I think.

  13. Matthew Given

    I do this all the time. Works great. I keep several different sizes of wooden jaws (usally 2×4 construction lumber) around for this purpose.

  14. Steven D

    Would it not work as well to just cut the 1/4" slots in the rear for the clamp bar with no holes and have the holes in front for some play? This would hold the clamps in place and not flop or rotate.

  15. Gene

    It seems that you could also just use good, old-fashioned pipe clamps instead of the F-clamps. No need for a slot, and they’d fit in the holes without too much flopping around. For speed, you could use the Pony clamps with the crank handles. And, as an added bonus, you could use short pipes most of the time, but still swap out longer pipes for a big clamping job. (Not sure how that would be better than pipe clamps alone, but the option’s there.)

  16. Mark

    Gee, you do realize that you are evolving toward using 2 pipe clamps over the sides of the bench to hold the work. Actually, this would be a lot simpler.

  17. Greg

    Of course, you could always just put the clamps over the outside of the vise "jaws" – that way you don’t even need to drill holes. Or maybe just clamp the board directly to the front of the workbench? (One time when the build-up dog hole strip in my Frid-style bench is an advantage).

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