Introduction: How to Make a Wooden 6" Bench-Vise

Picture of How to Make a Wooden 6" Bench-Vise

I have a great little vise. I use it a ton (pun not intended)! The only problem with it is that it's tiny-- It opens to a little more than 1.5"

I wanted to buy a bigger vise (for my birthday), but the prices are INSANE!

As a "maker", I don't think it makes sense to pay $100 to $500+ on a vise, when it's basically a big chunk of metal and a bolt. I know that I'm not the only one that thinks that.

I decided to build my own 6" (~16cm), with free reclaimed wood, and less than $5 worth of hardware.

Did you know that if this Instructable gets 150,000 views, and 5% of the people that would see it would build the vise, it would mean that this Instructable saved ~MILLION DOLLARS!!! Share, Share, Share!


*Pssst! Make sure to check out my top comment (in the comment's section) for a chance of winning several free PRO memberships to Instructables!

Step 1: The Plan

Picture of The Plan

Back in April, I tried to build a vise, but it didn't really work out like what I wanted. You can see that vise here.

This vise is bigger, stronger, can fit in a small Drill-Press, is easier and faster to use, and many more.

While I don't have Sketchup Plans (I still haven't learned how to use it) for this vise, you can see the pictures above for the plans, along with fully detailed instructions in the next steps. If you need any more help, feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Also, if you want to build your own vise, but am not really fond of my design, I recommend seeing this collection of homemade vises, which many different DIY designs.


Let's get started!

Step 2: What You'll Need:

Picture of What You'll Need:

Hardware & Materials:

European Beech Wood (The dimensions are written later in the Instructable)

3/8"X29cm Threaded Rod (I bought it at a hardware store for less than $5)

2 Pieces of 290X8mm Metal Rod

2 Washers

16mm Beech Dowel

2mm Metal Rod

Plywood

2 Screws

Paper Towels

Chemicals & Adhesives:

CG-90

Wood Glue

Varnish

Alcohol Pad

Tools (+Attachments):

Abrasive Dremel Cutting Bit

Homemade Hot-Glue Mallet

Vise (the small one)

Drill-Bits: 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 19mm Spade Bit, 27mm Holesaw

Hammer

Clamps

Sandpaper: 200 Grit

Steel Wool

Paintbrush

7mm Chisel

Caliper

Tape Measurer

Speed Square

Screwdriver

Electric/Power Tools:

Drill

Drill-Press

6-in-1 Woodworking Machine (It contains the Mini Bench-Grinder)

Dremel

Circular-Saw

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Recommended Safety Equipment: Earmuffs, Respirator, Safety Goggles

Cost (for me): <$5

Difficulty: Fairly Hard

Approximate Time: 5 Hours (It took me more10 because I didn't have written Instructions...)

Step 3: Cut Wood to Size (& Glue for Making the Final Size)

Picture of Cut Wood to Size (& Glue for Making the Final Size)

Since this is made from reclaimed wood, I thought there would be no point in making two different steps, for cutting, and then gluing, to the final size. For example, if this was made from a 2X4, the base wouldn't have been made from two different parts. Makes sense? :)

I started by measuring and marking cutting all of the European Beech Wood parts with my Drill-Powered Circular Saw.

After that, I glued them together with wood glue, and clamped them together while they dried. For the actual build, I had to split this steps into several parts, because I didn't have enough clamps.

Here are the dimensions in centimeters:

3.5 X 4.5 X 7cm of European Beech Wood

2 Pieces of 5 X 9 X 7cm of European Beech Wood

32.5 X 9 X 2.5 of European Beech Wood

Step 4: Drill Holes for the Front & Back Jaws

Picture of Drill Holes for the Front & Back Jaws

I aligned and clamped both of the 5 X 9 X 7cm pieces one on top of another. Make sure they are totally aligned before you drill, this is REALLY important!

I drilled a 10mm hole in over the middle part of the first block, and then drilled two 8mm holes for the metal rods.

After I drilled them, I used my Drill-Press, again, to slightly widen the holes so the rods could slide better.

Step 5: Chisel Holes for the Hex-nut

Picture of Chisel Holes for the Hex-nut

The nut is going to fit inside the back jaw, like my first homemade vise, I decided to chisel out the holes. This works really well!

I first traced the outline of the nut over the hole, after that, I used a sharp chisel to chisel out the hole, and then hammered it in.

Unlike my first vise, I used one hex-nut, and made it a tighter fit, instead of using Epoxy.

Step 6: Glue the Rods

Picture of Glue the Rods

I mixed up some 2 part Epoxy, and glue the rods inside of the holes that were previously drilled in the first jaw.

Since this a tight fit, make sure that you apply a lot of Epoxy.

Step 7: Glue the Front Jaw

Picture of Glue the Front Jaw

Glue the front jaw to the base with some wood glue. If you want to turn this into a Bar-Clamp, you won't need to do this ;)

I clamped the joint until the glue dried.

Step 8: Make the Handle

Picture of Make the Handle

I started by drilling a 9mm hole in the tip of the 3.5 X 4.5 X 7cm piece, and when I made sure that the rod fit snuggly inside, I drilled a 2mm hole through the wood and the rod. This will help strengthen the bond.

After that, I quickly mixed up some new Epoxy (stronger), and pushed the rod inside. Don't forget to add the 2mm strengthening rod!

After after about an hour, I came back, and drilled a 19mm hole through the piece of wood for the handle.

To finish it off, I drilled a 27mm hole in some hard plywood, drilled two small holes in each end of the handle, and screwed them in.

I let everything cure for a few hours inside the holes of my second Homemade wooden vise ;)

Step 9: Sand Everything

Picture of Sand Everything

Since this is reclaimed wood, a small part was actually sanded and finished, the most, however, was not.

I started by sanding the wood with steel wool, and then finished it with 200 grit sandpaper.

Step 10: Cut & Grind Off the Rods

Picture of Cut & Grind Off the Rods

The rods were a bit longer than I wanted, so I cut part of them off. I'll use the leftover piece for a future vise.

I also used my mini Bench Grinder to remove some of the sharp edges. Handheld this time!

Step 11: Varnish

Picture of Varnish

I applied a coat of varnish.

2 Hours later, I came back. I sanded the whole vise again, and applied another coat of varnish.

I hope this will make it waterproof.

Step 12: Grease the Rods

Picture of Grease the Rods

Greasing the rods- I've said it a lot, and I'll say it again.

This lowered the amount of friction probably to a fifth. I suppose I'll have to do this again every once in awhile...

Step 13: Use It!

Picture of Use It!

Congrats! You've built your own Wooden Bench-Vise!

I don't need to explain how useful this will be. You'll see this in MANY more of my upcoming Instructables!

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I read and answer ALL comments, so make sure to leave your suggestions, upgrades and improvements in the comments below!

Comments

Yonatan24 (author)2016-08-05

HUGE Giveaway? YES!

Want to help me save YOU over a million dollars? Share this Instructable on social media!

You can win 5 free PRO memberships to Instructables by ONLY sharing this on four social media websites. This can take you less than 2 minutes.

Prefered sites listed by order: Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and others

Here's what you have to do to be able to receive the free membership:

1. Follow me on Instructables

2. Leave a comment down below writing that you're going to post it on social media (This will eliminate confusions. I WILL NOT give it to you if you don't do this, even if you're first...)

2. Post a picture of the thumbnail in all four of your posts, with the link to this Instructable. Here are examples (scroll down)

3. Reply to this message with links to your posts

4. Nothing! I will PM you the free code!

Are you confused? Reply to this comment with your question so I can help you and others.

People with a larger audience will be rewarded with a bigger "prize" :)

TechnicalKid (author)Yonatan242016-10-12

Posted it on Google+

https://plus.google.com/116527196500823463195?hl=de

Yonatan24 (author)TechnicalKid2016-10-13

Thank you!

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242016-09-26

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

However, if you make one, I will still give you the membership...

Joe Pixie (author)Yonatan242016-08-16

I Posted this on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ThePixieJoe/posts/1021024...

i want to win this one, bit of a re-purpose nut myself. i hate wasting stuf that can be fixed or bettered , my wife hates my work space ...lol good vice tut, i will be building this one shortly. thanx bud

Joe Pixie (author)Joe Pixie2016-08-16

And 'ere...

https://plus.google.com/u/0/108090074198447514176/posts/p/pub

Joe Pixie (author)Joe Pixie2016-08-16

And 'ere

https://twitter.com/JoePixie1/status/765557681021038592

Yonatan24 (author)Joe Pixie2016-08-16

Awesome! Thank you so much!

I've sent you the free PRO membership to Instructables through a Private Message. Please let me know when you recieve it! :)

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242016-08-05

Do you want a FREE PRO Membership?

I'm still giving a FREE 1 Full-Year PRO Membership to the first member that makes their own bench vise with my design!

Here's what you have to do to be able to receive the free membership:

1. Follow me on Instructables

2. Reply to this message with pictures of the end result (And any explanations, If you want)

3. Nothing! I will PM you the free code!

If this Instructable doesn't reach 50K views before the end of August, I'll be giving away only 3 months :(

DavidG809 (author)2017-06-26

Great work! You just solved a small mystery for me. My father had made a few like these for his work bench, I was always transfixed on this as a kid bet never got around to ask how he made it - sadly he is no longer around to ask. But your simple tools has inspired me. I may try to replicate those old tools!memories

Yonatan24 (author)DavidG8092017-06-27

:)

DavidG809 (author)Yonatan242017-06-27

Quick question: the hand grinder you are using. Is it the part of the 8-in-1 mini machine?

If it is how do you like it, any regrets?

Yonatan24 (author)DavidG8092017-06-28

Yes. Hmmm... That's a hard one.

That's not how the grinder is supposed to be used, and currently, I've converted it into a router table, which you can see in my last I'ble.

I guess the concept and SketchUp model of this tool can be great, but to be honest, it isn't that good. It's everything in everything, but nothing really is as good as I'd expect. I mean, if more parts were aluminum or even steel, I could say it's worth the money, but it's actually quite flimsy.

I I can say that they could have simplified its design to make it with less parts, more tools, and quicker to assemble.

If you have the money that it costs to spend on tools, I'd go to an antiques store or something like that. I think you could get more for what you would spend.

Also, you can't buy replacement parts such as jigsaw blades. And the grinding bits that they supplied are totlly off centered. It's more of a toy.

Helps? :)

DavidG809 (author)Yonatan242017-06-28

Yes it does. Thanks

Mikhandmaker. (author)2017-04-20

Excellent projetc! Congratulations

Yonatan24 (author)Mikhandmaker.2017-04-21

Thanks! :)

Yonatan24 made it! (author)2016-08-07

Update!

It's funny how I find exactly what I need after I buy it, and finish making the project. I just found some really big bolts which I think would work really well. You can see size of them, when compared to my hand, down in the picture.

Does anyone know a simple and easy way of removing rust without stinky chemicals like WD-40 (WD-40 works really well, but it smells awful)? I think I've heard of something with electrolysis.

The only thing that is really important, if I replace the threaded rod, is to drill a hole that's exactly a tiny bit bigger. I learned this when I built moxon vise from the turnbuckle, where I drilled 25mm holes for an M20 bolt. I suppose these are ~M15.

nvanbkirk (author)Yonatan242017-03-17

Cola works really well for this, too (don't know about off brands, but Coca-Cola has worked wonders at home). Local car shops used Coca-Cola to clean up car battery rust so they could recharge and resale a salvageable battery. also, world to clean up 'exploded' battery juice in gadgets (I generally use Cola for the larger items and use water with baking soda for cleaning up dried battery juice that learned into the contacts for my smaller devices).

may make sure to watch your solution ; the acid in the child's that does the work can start to eat thru the metal you are trying to salvage if left long enough.

nvanbkirk (author)nvanbkirk2017-03-17

sorry, few word corrections... my phone's keyboard has this nasty habit of replacing "just" with "may" and I'm not seeing a way to edit my prior comment.

^~- "just make sure to watch your solution; the acid in the Cola that does the work can start to each thru the metal that you are trying to salvage"

Anyways, I've enjoyed some of your Instructables (I think I stumbled onto one of yours from a link in an email directly from Instructables site) and as a person who cannot afford all the tools necessary for the random gadgets and contraptions I wish to make, it's nice to see that there are other people out in the world who are also willing to try to make a workaround (your drill press was one such example) - sometimes a simple use of odd bits lying around can allow you to turn a functional tool into something else... there's a Chef (the sciency one) who says that you should never have a 'tool' in your kitchen that has only one use, and because woodworking often requires 1 tool that does only 1 thing, it's nice to find another way to use said tool.

anyways, cheers!

Thanks,
DudeSerius

Yonatan24 (author)nvanbkirk2017-03-18

:)

BradenG2 (author)Yonatan242016-08-16

Yes, heat the metal up red hot and then quench it. That will get any rust off.

Nitehawkhp (author)Yonatan242016-08-14

Metal Rescue is the best stuff I have found for removing rust. My boys had left several tools in the yard after using them, and when I found them they were heavily rusted. After purchasing Metal Rescue from home depot, I placed the tools in a plastic container and covered with the product. When the tools were removed, they looked almost brand new. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Workshop-Hero-1-qt-Meta...

It can be a little on the pricey side $12.48 for a quart or $25 a gallon.

Hope this helps.

Yonatan24 (author)Nitehawkhp2016-08-16

Thank you! It is a bit pricey, and I don't think I need that much, so I'll try using vinegar. :)

BeachsideHank (author)Yonatan242016-08-08

I use plain old white vinegar to remove rust, cheap, effective, no harm when disposing either. Just wire brush first to dislodge heavy crud, put items in a vessel, cover with solution and next day it's usually ready. Neutralize with a water rinse, dry quickly to avoid flash rust, coat with whatever. ☺

Yonatan24 (author)BeachsideHank2016-08-08

Sounds good! I think I'll do that when I need to use one- I won't do all of them at once, because as you said, I'll need to oil them, which might be hard to remove if I ever need to epoxy on a handle :)

Yonatan24 made it! (author)Yonatan242016-08-07

I posted part of this on Lumberjocks: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/261178

I thought they might like it, and they did! It was featured at the "Top 3" projects of the day!

I thought this would be featured on the Homepage (of Instructables) since I think I took a pretty good thumbnail. I did this by putting a white melamine board in the sun. No other editing was one except for adding the words :)

RickyM35 (author)2017-03-15

Excellent plan of action and clear steps here.

Yonatan24 (author)RickyM352017-03-15

Thanks, glad you liked it!

dilly5 (author)2017-02-15

I am pretty sure you remember me yotana(i spelled ot wrong i think), but now i got a drill that is good for wood but not metal, and i would make this if i had the supplys and tools :(. But i dont so i am stuck to using pliers :)

Yonatan24 (author)dilly52017-02-16

Maybe you can try making a pipe clamp bench vise, only with bar clamps since they're cheaper: http://www.woodworkersworkshop.com/graphics16/wood...

makify (author)2016-09-16

This vise looks great! You've inspired me to make one.

Yonatan24 (author)makify2016-09-16

Thank you! Glad you liked it! :)

Drake88 (author)2016-08-21

One suggestion - You might want to make the inside faces of the vise jaws with one solid piece of wood and a VERY large washer on the Jaw face with the handle. Doing this could prevent a future problem - having the glued block split suddenly from material fatigue during use.

I have seen all wooden vise jaws split once before, but they were made from one large piece of wood, and the vise had been handed down two generations(from grandfather to grandson, the father of the grandson wasn't interested in doing woodwork). It may have just been old age and loads of use, but I believe that the wood may have also been extremely dry - the grandfather had not used it for years, and it had sat out in a hot barn for years without much care before the grandson received it.

Of course it could just be me - I tend to over-think and over-engineer things sometimes.

Yonatan24 (author)Drake882016-08-22

I thought of that, and that's the reason for why I put the threaded rod in the top part, and used two really thick washers. With a vise like this, you can really "feel" how much clamping pressure you're giving, and this vise if for fairly light duty work.

The vise was made from fairly hard wood that I salvaged from an old table, so I didn't have another option. I'll try to remember to let you know if anything similar to that happens :)

cafe-au-lait (author)2016-08-21

I think this was a very useful and practical idea, which I feel I could do. Thank you.

Yonatan24 (author)cafe-au-lait2016-08-21

Thank you! Glad you liked it!

jluther3 (author)2016-08-16

This reminds me of the first bench vise I made. Good design. Your future vises will only get better.

Yonatan24 (author)jluther32016-08-16

Thank you! I'd love to see a picture of your vise!

Yonatan24 (author)2016-08-09

I just build a Magnetic Quick Release Vise Mount with a swiveling base! Don't forget to check out the new Instructable if you build this vise!: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Magn...

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242016-08-09

*Built

guy90 (author)2016-08-08

Another alternative to hex nuts or T-nuts is threaded inserts. Nifty little fittings that you can drive in with an Allen key, and loaads more teeth than T nuts so they're less likely to drop out. Another great instructable though, keep at it

Yonatan24 (author)guy902016-08-08

Thank you! I'll have to check those out, I think I've seen the in IKEA furniture once

K B (author)2016-08-08

It all looks fairly straightforward - and, amazingly, within my skill level. I am, however, unclear about what the two little pieces of hard plywood are for?

Yonatan24 (author)K B2016-08-08

The small plywood circles are used to hold the dowel in place, so it doesn't slide out of the hole of the handle.

Look at the first, seventh, and ninth picture of step 8 :)

BeachsideHank (author)2016-08-05

I can help save even more money on the project and also do a recycle deed; use the guide rods found in printers and scanners that are tossed out as part of the vise build. They tend to be precision ground and polished, perfect for this use.

Also, one may find a "T" nut easier to install rather than chiseling and inlaying a nut

http://www.woodpeck.com/media/main_tnut.jpg

These can sometimes be had free on the bottom legs of furniture.

Yonatan24 (author)BeachsideHank2016-08-05

You couldn't have worded that better! They're strong, polished, pretty easy to find, and free! I've salvaged a lot of these!

I found 4 T-Nuts in a bed that I saw of the curb. I already lost two of them, but I'm using the other two for making a different project :)

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242016-08-06

Forgot to add this: If I had the right sized ones, I would definitely use them. It's way easier than chiseling everything, as you said...

Yonatan24 (author)Yonatan242016-08-08

Or, now that I think about it, it might be another reason for reason to build a CNC machine!

Mike977 (author)2016-08-08

This is a great idea for people like me that are on a really tight budget. great job!

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