Shop-made Saw Vise - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Shop-made Saw Vise

 In August 2015 #219

1-0815sawviseCombine wood, leather and steel for a new take on an old tool.

by Jason Thigpen
page 29

If you sharpen your own saws, a proper saw vise is an essential tool. The jaws on a saw vise clamp down tightly on the saw plate, holding it securely as you file each tooth. A well-built saw vise will absorb vibration and chatter, resulting in faster filing, longer file life and better results.

There are a handful of new vises in production today and vintage versions are plentiful. Vintage versions are great, but damage and wear can pose problems. The clamping mechanisms on a lot of old vises are a weak spot, either broken or worn past the point of use.

After months of searching for a well-made unit that wouldn’t require a lot of rehab, I began to design my own saw vise. The result is a vise that not only has a classic look, it is a workhorse that has greatly surpassed the performance of any other vise I’ve tried, new or old.

All you need to make it are a few off-the-shelf components and a weekend. You can use any hardwood you like, provided it’s straight-grained rift-sawn or quartersawn material. For this vise, I used some hard maple and white oak scraps.

This shop-made saw vise excels due to a few key features that all work together. The heart of the system is the 5⁄8″, eight threads-per-inch Acme-threaded screw and wing nut. Acme thread is capable of applying a great deal of force, and the threads won’t gall, strip or weaken over time.

Web site: Visit Jason Thigpen’s Texas Heritage Woodworks web site for high-quality tools rolls, shop aprons and more.
Free Model: Download a free SketchUp model of this project.
Article: “Saw Filing – A Beginner’s Primer,” free at
To Buy: “Super-tune Your Backsaw with Matt Cianci,” available as DVD or download.
In Our Store: “Handsaw Essentials,” by Christopher Schwarz, in hardcover or PDF download.

From the August 2015 issue

Buy it here

Popular Woodworking Magazine August 2015 Cover

Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search