Video: Adjust and Use a Woodthreading Set - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Video: Adjust and Use a Woodthreading Set

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Schwarz on Workbenches, Woodworking Blogs

Threading and tapping wood is fairly easy work, once you get your thread box set up.

When I started here at the magazine in 1996, we had a bunch of threading kits sitting on a shelf. Like the handplanes next to them, they looked great in the background for photographs, but they didn’t see much work.

I fooled around with our sets a bit and found that the cutters were dull and knocked out of alignment (a quick trip to the concrete floor can do that). So I fussed with the tools until they worked to my satisfaction.

Now that you can get woodthreading kits for sizes up to 1-1/2″ (check Woodcraft and Highland Hardware) for less than $45, you might consider trying a set to make some handscrews, a dedicated twin-screw vise or perhaps a device to threaten unruly neighborhood children with (imagine something with a hole for putting an appendage into, and let your brain do the rest).

To show you how easy it is, I took a new wood threading kit out of the bag this morning and set it up while Megan Fitzpatrick shot this video. Like with any hand tool, the trick is putting the cutter in the right place.

After we shot the video, I finished making a second double-screw vise (shown below). Total elapsed construction time: one hour.

– Christopher Schwarz

Other Workshop-specific Resources You Might Enjoy

– Michael Dunbar shows how to make wooden handscrews using a thread box and tap in the February 2007 issue of Popular Woodworking.

– Download free plans for a traditional sawbench from Woodworking Magazine.

– “Projects for Your Shop” (Taunton) by Matthew Teague.

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Showing 13 comments
  • Emile

    Woodthreading kits at Woodcraft and Highland Hardware are 6 or 8 tpi which is a bit too high for a leg vise. Any idea where to get 2-3-4 tpi (preferably 2″) ? Thanks!

  • Thanks Chris. My pocket is now $46.11 lighter. 😉 Though, I figure now I can make my twin screw vise and save $200. 🙂

  • Bob Simmons

    Chris…In 50 years your grandchildren may be talking about the longevity of these handscrews.

  • Bob Lang

    Where Chris comes from that is a wrench. In fact, it’s a complete set, imperial and metric.

  • Don Knott

    I know what Tom’s problem is: just as you wouldn’t try to produce a nice piece of crown moulding with a chisel and a parallel clamp, neither should you try to tighten an acorn nut–whether it’s brass or not–with a pair of Vise Grips. That’s a job for a wrench. As somebody once said, "The right tool for the job."

  • Don’t know what Tom’s problem is – been using vise grips on brass for years and haven’t hurt them at all.

  • Ross

    Hi Chris,

    Now all we need is to get the manufacturers to scale up one more time & produce a 2" version with nice deep threads & about 2.5TPI.

    I’ll bet there would be quite a bit of interest in this as it would provide the ideal size for making bench vices. I have held off on the smaller kits, feeling the diameter is a bit small & the pitch to fine.

    I did notice St Roy has instructions for making a tap and thread box, but I’m not so confident of getting good results & it does require some metal working.

    So how about it – a bit of encouragement for WoodCraft or Highland for a jumbo screw kit??

  • Eric

    Thanks Chris. My threading kit is being hand-carried over to where I am, so I should have it within a couple weeks! Looking forward to trying it out, and appreciate the tips on adjusting the cutter.

  • Beall. Right. Good to hear cheaper is good enough. I’m certainly spending a lot of money these days to do things the "old fashioned" way.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    I’ve seen that Beall router-based system work. It is very cool and produces results superior to that of a hand thread box. However, I don’t get too worked up about the hand process. As long as we still have trees I’ll be able to make a quick replacement thread.

    And my grandfather’s handscrews (which he made with a thread box) are still going strong after 50 years — you have to really remove a lot of threads for the things to stop working.

  • KAS

    Overstudying the pic of the double screw vise, looks like it’s on the latest "Cherroubo". Did you add the tool slot towards the back left of the bench as it appears on so many Roubo plates? Do you like it or does it get in the way of a flat work surface? Maybe only best putting things there to complete the task at hand / not permanently. Also, I was thumbing through Scott Landis’ Workbench Book and saw a picture of a book binding vise (shop-made) clamped to a bench that looks alot like an adaptation of Moxon’s twin screw concept. Pretty cool.

  • Have you tried the Lee Valley threading kit? Any problems with cross-grain breakage?

  • tms

    Hey Chris,

    I can’t believe that you disrespected that tool by using a pair of Vice Grips on a soft brass nut! Please don’t ever ask to borrow any of my tools.


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