Threadboxes: One More Song the Radio Won’t Like
Whenever I write about threadboxes, my personal blog gets swamped with spam from the Pacific Rim. So batten down the firewalls, mateys.
I started writing about the Moxon double-screw vise in 2010 (original post here) and have made many of them using a threadbox and tap that you can buy from many reputable woodworking stores.
My first threadbox worked fine until it needed sharpening. The blade was so brittle that it snapped while I gently stoned it. Since then, I have bought at least five other threadboxes from the same Chinese manufacturer and they all have been hopeless for one reason or another.
The worst problem: the pitch of the threadbox and tap didn’t match. So there was no way the tool would work. And so I beg you not to buy these until the manufacturer improves the product.
Beall Tool Co. makes a nice router-powered version, but not everyone has a router. I’ve been using it when I teach classes where we build a double-screw vise. But I have long wished for a more portable solution. I’ve tried to hunt up some vintage threadboxes, but the ones I have found have been dogmeat.
So I finally bit the bullet and bought a German one from Dieter-Schmid Fine Tools. Jennie Alexander, author of “Make a Chair from a Tree,” showed me hers recently, which was old enough to be stamped that it was made in “West Germany.” Alexander had only good things to say about the threader, its cutter and the results.
Her only piece of advice on the tool was to keep it lubricated with tallow.
My 26mm threader showed up last week and I have been eager to try it out. But first I need to turn down some spindles and start them soaking in linseed oil for a couple of days.
While I have high hopes, I wouldn’t run off and buy one of these German ones. If you are OK with metal screws, there are lots of less-expensive ways to make a double-screw vise, including buying Acme-thread rod or even the Benchcrafted hardware.
I want to be able to make hundreds of these vises with students, so for me this tool could be a good value.
— Christopher Schwarz
Obsessed by workholding? Me, too. You might like “The Workbench Design Book” and “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” Both are available at ShopWoodworking.com.