Every carpenter needs a way to firmly secure his work. A wooden bench vise is a perfect tool for this. Check out how I build mine with plywood and some metal.
This project is actually a part of a bigger build. I am turning a contractor table saw into something more multifunctional. So if you are interested be sure to subscribe to my Instructables channel !
I probably used all the tools I got in my workshop for this build (starting from brad nailer and finishing with welding machine), so I am not gonna list them. You might not have all the same tools but that does not mean you can´t build it. Just be creative an yo´ll find a way ;)
This whole project cost me around 20 euros
Step 1: 1
First I cut my plywood to size. One that was 2 cm thick and one that was 3 cm.
After that I ripped two 1 cm thick oak strips. These were to be glued and nailed on the top edge of the jaws to give them sturdiness and a nicer look. Flush trimmed and sanded after that.
The 2 cm plywood I attached to the table with couple furniture bolts.
Step 2: 2
On with the mechanism.
From my local metal distributor I got a 2 cm thick metal rod ( 2 meters for only 5 euro) and M 27 threaded rod with few washers and nuts. Also from there I got 4 mm thick (6 cm wide) flat bar. This was all the metal I needed.
From my scrap bin I found some oak that I decided to use for the guides. For the threaded rod guide I welded two nuts to a flat bar and attached it all under the table with screws (see pictures).
On the outer jaw I decided to add the flat bar I mentioned earlier. This added tremendous amount of stability to the whole structure.
Important thing is to try to line it all up correctly otherwise it will not work.
I also welded a washer to the threaded rod. This was so that the outer jaw would also move when the rod is tuned. Without it the jaw would stay in it´s position and would have to be moved manually.
Step 3: 3
For the turning head I glued together cherry and oak. On the lathe I turned it to desired shape. With this being my first turning project I´m pretty happy with it. Using chisels I made a recess for the nut. On the drill press I drilled a 2 cm hole through for the handle. This part I messed up a bit because I got the hole under a slight angle. Not a big deal but still....
The handle is just a spruce dowel with cherry plugs on the ends to prevent it from slipping out. Finished it all with linseed oil.
Also on the outer jaw I drilled 3 cm deep holes for the bench dogs. This is why I used 3 cm thick plywood for the outer jaw (instead of 2 cm which would have been sufficient). But of course single row of bench dogs won´t do you any good so I still need to add the other holes on the actual table. I will do this when I get to finishing. I just have to mind the mechanism part underneath.
Step 4: The Finale
I also have to paint the flat bar and apply linseed oil on the jaws to complete the build. I will do this when I am done with the rest of the workbench improvements. I will share it when I´m done.
I hope I have inspired you! I did my best trying to explain how I build this vise. If you still have some questions (or suggestions) let me know in the comments.