Introduction: 'NoMatterWhatHorn' - a Really Heavy Custom Vice

A solitary vice - a vice not fixed to a workbench - is something very useful in a workshop. Some projects just need to be clamped steady & sturdy while you need all the space around you can get.

Making a canoe-paddle, for example, starting from a complete log. You want it steady and so you need a vice. But there are 4 sides to profile. Yep. Not easy in a classic setup - unless you love climbing your workbench to work the backside of your project.

I don't like it, that workbenclimbing. So: let's go for a solitary vice.

Anchoring a pole in the ground and fixing that vice to it can be a solution. It'll be great that moment you're needing it - let's say once a month - but the rest of the time all you've got is a f... pole in the middle of your workshop. And a damaged car. And blue knees.

Anticipating is not my strongest point, but I choose wisely to build a relatively easy to move all-in-one heavy vice.

'Relatively' is an important word here, since there's also 'really heavy' in the title.

It took me a while to design this project and more than a few days to build it, but in those few years I'm using it it's become one of those tools I really like. It IS heavy enough. It IS stable. It IS movable - relatively - and it IS really really helpful.

I like it, my NoMatterWhatHorn.

Time for an upgrade.

Step 1: Inspiration

The name comes from one of the most epic mountains in the Swiss Alps, called The Matterhorn.

This block of rock - in reality a piece of continental African earth crust that's been left on the Eurasian continent after the collision between the two plates, forming the Alps, amazing story - has exactly the same shape as the wooden base of my tool.

The only difference is the weight.

Mine is heavier. Sure.

Image credit: http://www.superbwallpapers.com

Step 2: Finding the Right Wood

I could have used heavy steel I-profiles, but I wouldn't. Big heavy wood, that's what I wanted. So I found a 'declassified' beam of badi - a beautiful yellow African hardwood often used for construction purposes.

5x5 inches thick, 15 feet long. Heavy. Paid it halfprice. Just what I was looking for.

Commercial & local name: Bundui, Badi, Kusia, Opepe, Akondonc, Aloma, N'gulu-maza, Kilingi, Angolo, Mokese, Linzi

Also called: Kilu, Bonkangu, Sibo, Bedo, Ekusamba, Eke

Note: Always look for 'declassified' wood aka cracks with some wood around.

Most people hate them, those cracks, but I just didn't care - especially when I heard the price of it.

Step 3: Planing the Beam

Dirty outside, beautiful inside.

No sanding, just planing.

Badi is beautiful.

But Badi is heavy.

Step 4: Cutting the Main Sections

To build a the 'Big A', 2 legs were needed.

To get that A straight up, 2 more were needed.

Measuring lengths & measuring angles, cutting with a handsaw & correcting with a plane.

At the end you've got 4 legs pushing a car.

Step 5: Building the Centerpiece

This PI-shaped piece holds the Big A together and maintains the base of NoMatterWhatHorns arm later.

Built from a log of oak, 3 inch thick.

Glued & screwed together - 5 inch inox screws, torx bit.

Note the hole drilled in the side. This will serve the steel pin that will hold the adjustable arm in place.

Step 6: Digging the 'Big A'

The centerpiece holds the two legs of the Big A together.

Instead of just glueing & screwing I prefered it to be 'sunk' to make it more solid.

So, I started pre-cutting the badi with the PMF, and after that cheap tool started burning I finished the job the old fashioned way with the chisel.

Step 7: Assembling the 'Big A'

When the digging was done, centerpiece & legs could come together.

The whole would be screwglued, so holes needed to be drilled: small holes from inside to outside to guide the screws, bigger holes with the flat drill from outside to inside to sink the screwheads.

Heavy duty wood glue and inox screws, useful.

Ready was the 'Big A'.

Next step: the 'Small A'.

Step 8: Building the 'Small A'

Measuring, cutting, digging, assembling.

Same process, different shape.

The Big & Small A finally came together and were screwed with only 3 screws - easy to set up, easy to dismantle & transport.

Step 9: Some Fineshaping

Before building the arm angles had to be cut.

Head & heels were chopped with saw & angle sander and the whole was set to level.

Step 10: Building the Articulated Arm

One more piece needed to be built: NoMatterWhatHorns Arm.

The arm is made of two pieces of oak:
- one horizontal that slides into the heart of the Big A
- one vertical that will articulate in the first one and that will move towards the Big A with the help of a threaded rod

The horizontal: cutting & drilling - note the digged out zone in the Small A
The vertical: using flat drill bit to drill the first holes in the oak beam & circular saw to dig out the zone between those holes. Rasp & sanding paper finish the job.

Note:
- a bolt hole is drilled in the back of the Big A to hold the bolt of the rod. Small hole first, flat drill afterwards.
- in the horizontal piece of the arm a number of holes are drilled to adjust the whole in function of the size of stuff that you'll work with
- steel pins finish the articulation

Step 11: Plastic Surgery & Oiling

The wood cracks are filled up with chemical anchor - a resin used in construction to hold threaded rods in concrete.

Fast hardening, hard as concrete, the perfect hack.

I finished the whole with a few layers of teak 'tung' oil, wiping the excess away after each oiling session.

Note the two 'shoulders' attached to the Big A: a little helping hand to hold whatever you want perfectly in place.

Step 12: Big Wheel Keep on Turning

No bench screw without a cast iron handwheel.

Paid it a small fortune (almost 100 $) - as much as the whole wooden structure..

Some adjustments - cutting the rod to human size & adding a second bolt to stabilize, some welding & grinding & done was the whole.

Step 13: A Few Years Later...

And a lot wiser, I decided to upgrade NoMatterWhatHorn 1.0 to version 2.0

This upgrade was needed since I had discovered that the tool just wasn't helpful to work bigger sections of wood. There wasn't enough clamping space and the heavily payed iron wheel wasn't useful at all.

I needed more grip & more power, and so I went to my local steel supply and came home with a few new friends.

A big L-profile was added on top of the mountain, the atriculated arm was made longer and the iron wheel was replaced by a long handle my father made a thousands years ago for a tool to bend steel plates - tool-making is a family affair where I come from...

More steel, more weight, more power, more stability, more possibilities.

Adding a heavy ash-log - I need a paddle for my canoe - to the equation felt like coming home. Thàt was what we were talking about, thàt was the setup I was looking for!

No matter what, this device is stable as a rock. But a bit difficult to move, yeah...

Just like single malt, it's gettin' better with the years...

Comments

author
alastair.stewart.7146 made it!(author)2016-03-28

Just love the timber you used, certainly a work of art and it looks very sturdy.

Thanks for sharing!

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-28

It was a pleasure my friend, you're welcome.

author
terrible+tinkerer made it!(author)2016-03-28

Hi bricobart, Very beautiful & useful tool you have made! Tung oil brings the grain out well in your chosen wood of many names! I was thinking a sawhorse built to the height of the 2 "shoulders" would be useful to hold one end of long planks.

Great job, thanks for sharing. TT

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-28

Thanx a lot, I agree that oil is just awesome - I even use it as deodorant, really.

author
danzo321 made it!(author)2016-03-27

Vise, not vice! Please.

author
bruce.desertrat made it!(author)2016-03-27

My addiction to tool making is somewhat of a vice, so this fits right in :-) A timber framed vise certainly counts. I have no space for this, no need for this, but wow I want to make one now!

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-28

Next step: find a way to use it anyway!

author
Aljongr made it!(author)2016-03-27

Vise in US and Canada

Vice in UK and Australia

Bricobart is in Belgium and can therefore do as he likes

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-28

Liked!

author
poohnopster made it!(author)2016-03-27

American English, a vice is an immoral habit or practice, and a vise is a tool with closable jaws for clamping things. But in British English, the tool is spelled like the sin:vice."

(Bryan A. Garner, Garner's Modern American Usage, 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2009)

author
danzo321 made it!(author)2016-03-27

Really? Thanks!

author
cousinarlo. made it!(author)2016-03-27

The original spelling of the clamping tool was vise; the primary meaning of vice is "moral fault or wickedness". Vice to describe the tool came later, at least according to this source. Cheers http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=vise

author
Onemansurfer made it!(author)2016-03-27

Fantástic Vice !! It's just what we need for these timbers we have been working with , I'm going to give it a try . Thanks for the design.

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-28

Guarateed hours of fun - in the making & in the using, you're welcome!

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skillcult made it!(author)2016-03-27

that looks amazingly useful. Awesome project.

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bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-27

Thank you!

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skillcult made it!(author)2016-03-27

speaking of cool vices, have you seen these wedge vices used in clog making? Definitely on my list of things to make. https://youtu.be/dt5BLJhiMO0

author
OldClockguy made it!(author)2016-03-27

I am quite impressed with your little leg vise, just the thing for carving kuksas and other small pieces like a full scale ark for times of extremely wet weather and maybe a portable spare bedroom or two if company comes around unannounced!!

Seriously, I marvel at your thought process in designing this in such large scale and coming up with such a workable project with minimal modifications on the first shot.

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-27

Thanx for your nice comment! You know, initially I didn't realise the potential of this project. It's only after a few months - and without having built one single kuksa with it - that I started thinking how I could optimise the whole.

I'm just regretting one thing: that it's done, now. Maybe I should make a few others to get some salt on my potatoes at the end of the month...

author
BeachsideHank made it!(author)2016-03-27

Finally, a use for all the acme threaded rod I've collected, nice post.

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-27

Thanx. All you need is a little bit of wood to complete the project!

author
SherpaDoug made it!(author)2016-03-27

You may be able to get a big screw cheap from a defunct office chair.

Rather than the expensive big wheel or the long handle which sometimes is in the way, I use a big nut and a removable box end wrench.

If the vise isn't heavy enough you can embed a threaded socket into the floor. Then use a turnbuckle to secure the vise to the floor when needed. When you don't need it the socket in the floor is no big problem.

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-27

Good suggestions! I needed it to be heavy on itself since my floor is just beaten earth - no 7 inch armored concrete yet...

author
ETAGadgeteer made it!(author)2016-03-20

As soon as I get the chance, I am most certainly building this! Thanks for the great instructable!

author
bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-27

If you manage to make it to the end, it'll be a build you won't regret. Enjoy the ride!

author
Ya%C3%ABnD made it!(author)2016-03-27

hello, nice to see the 34 on plate ! Hérault en force !

author
quas1mod made it!(author)2016-03-27

Haha, it's fantastic! I can't wait to see your Workbench of Gibraltar...

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jccruzh made it!(author)2016-03-19

I must build this. It's the best instructable I've seen I would like to have that piece of art it's beautifull and usefull.

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bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-19

Since I'm using it often I totally forgot about the beauty of it. Thanx for reminding me that - and good luck with your build, btw!

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CraftAndu made it!(author)2016-03-18

Beast!

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bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-19

It is!

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desertsniper made it!(author)2016-03-18

awesome design!

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bricobart made it!(author)2016-03-19

Thanx mate!

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freeza36 made it!(author)2012-12-18

Im confused

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bricobart made it!(author)2012-12-19

Don't worry, in a few weeks you'll know more!

author
HariKarier11+ made it!(author)2016-03-18

Great job and with the full size pattern layed out on the plywood is a lot better than a piece of paper. The only 2 recommendations I would make is to use an acme all thread and nuts and you should have brazed the all thread to the hand crank. I'm glad you were able to weld the steel all thread to the cast iron hand crank unless the hand crank was cast steel it's difficult to weld the two together. But you still built an amazing workable vice, one that Paul Bunyan could have used. Are you in the timber frame industry or what is it you do?

author
freeza36 made it!(author)2012-12-19

Great!

author
SlickSqueegie made it!(author)2013-07-14

Thanks for this. I really like what you did here. Great job.

author
bricobart made it!(author)2013-07-16

Thanx mate! Initially I made it to carve kuksa's (!) - I thought I needed something big to hold the burls, but that was long before I came up with the lazy carver. I'm using it as a multipurpose tool every time I need some stability. It just doesn't move!

author
dmiller0909 made it!(author)2013-07-10

This is great, is there any way to get some of the dimensions, maybe just the overall height and width?

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bricobart made it!(author)2013-07-16

Of course, I'll give you exact dims later but height is about 3 feet, en thus widt(s) as well because it's almost a square.

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Lorddrake made it!(author)2013-01-31

Fan-Friggin-Tastic!

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bricobart made it!(author)2013-01-31

I like that DIY compliment ;-)

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rimar2000 made it!(author)2013-01-31

Clever idea, good design, well worked.

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bricobart made it!(author)2013-01-31

Thanx rimar!

author
TheNerdWhoBuilds made it!(author)2012-12-18

>:o (whoa face)
so cool!

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