In Tricks of the Trade

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I frequently need to clamp wood on edge to saw tenons or work the edge of a plank, but I don’t have a traditional woodworking bench.

While studying at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, I worked at a traditional planking bench where boards were clamped to the edge of the top. That inspired me to make my “wedge edge vise.”

This simple shop-made vise clamps to a rolling cart or my assembly table. It can be adjusted to hold nearly any size piece of wood, but stores away easily and takes up little room. The vise consists of two plywood and 2×4 sandwiches that are glued and screwed together to form the jig. Each is cut out to form an L-shape that is clamped to the tabletop. A wedge is then used to secure the board against the edge of the table.

I use 1⁄2″ plywood and scraps of 2×4 that are 6 1⁄2″ long to make the jigs. Once they are glued and screwed together, I cut out the L shape. The plywood adds strength to the 2×4 core.

The wedges are also made from scraps; they are 3⁄4″ thick x 1 3⁄4″ wide x 7″ long, with a taper toward one end.

Put an edge on your work with this portable, versatile, adjustable vise that can be stored in your toolbox. -Erek Johnson

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