Instructables
Picture of Leg Vise (Threadless)
LegVises_history.jpg
   I've been getting by with an engineer's bench vise for years now, always watching the catalogs for a sale that will drop this wood vise to a reasonable price. I knew this was never going to happen so I kept looking for alternatives, and instructables delivered, like always.
   The one that inspired me was by SlickSqueegie: http://www.instructables.com/id/Shop-mad-bench-vice/   The only obstacle I had was getting a acme threaded rod long enough to do the job. I searched for a while but couldn't get one without paying more than the price of a cheap wood vise (like this one). At some point on this search I had a moment of engineering clarity: I have one of those quick-grip bar clamps , why not use that instead of a screw... so I 'invented' a vise with a low pivot and place for the clamp.
  Naturally I had not invented anything, the leg vise has been used at least since the 18th century, see the second picture above. This is a good thing because I could research different styles of leg vises and modify my design.

I've also created a 3D model of this vise, so if you'd like to see it all in more detail you can download it here.
 
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Step 1: Plan / Design

   I played with the plan in AutoCAD for a few days. At first I didn't have the slide (I don't know what it should be called, see the picture below to see what I'm talking about). The purpose for the slide is to keep the jaws parallel so that the whole face of the jaw holds the work piece, not just the top or bottom). It is adjustable to accommodate different work pieces.
   I've included my dimension sheet in the second photo but this will vary depending on the size or your workbench.
vincent752011 months ago
Very nice, but why did you make it threadless since you used Iron : you could have soldered easily a couple of nuts to them to insert a thread. Or am I missing something ? … 
markbyounger (author)  vincent752011 months ago
I wanted to use a screw but the appropriate threaded rod to use would have an acme thread and these (and the nuts) are quite expensive in a length that I would need (http://goo.gl/AoLmx8). I spent some time looking at screw jacks and old c-clamps but nothing I could find (for cheap or free) was long enough.
Ah ! I understand.

Very nice anyway.
pat425861 year ago
Just thought of a great idea, which im going to do with my model that I made. Put two holes in the top of the outside clamp piece, and two holes on the workbench for bench dogs. The two in the clamp can be just 2 inches down or so, and the bench holes will go straight through and rely on the bench dog's "stop". I'll post pictures when I'm done.
bfk2 years ago
Nice, nice job. When my parents passed, I brought my dad's vice home. Before I wa born, he used it to build his first house and growing up, I used it to build my projects. The wood jaws were too heavy and bulky to ship, so I packed the hardware, handle and "slide" as you call it. I threw the dimensions of the jaws in with the parts and sent it home. It sat around for a decade until last year when I built new jaws and put it together again. Now I'm using it to build my projects again.

Instead of a bar clamp, could the hardware for a pipe clamp to be welded to the forward steel cross beam that would float in and out with the forward jaw? That way, the clamp wouldn't stick beyond the outer jaw and the slide part of the clamp would stay with the rear steel under your bench and out of the way. to tighten it, the bar clamp adjust screw could push against another steel bar that's securely attached to your outer jaws. The angle iron you show in your photo would slide partially out of the grooves in the vice's jaws as the jaws move backward, tightening against the work piece being held.
markbyounger (author)  bfk2 years ago
Excellent idea. putting my clamp the other way around wasn't possible because of a shelf I have back there.
I have a shelf behind my dad's vice too. I moved the vice over so the threaded rod and the slide run just outside the bench's legs. Not a perfect mount, as the back jaw overhangs the top of the table by 5/8" but I've had no problems with it so far. btw, those 2 pieces of grey painted wood, the slide and the handle are about 80 years old. They're the only wood parts I brought back with me.
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pfred2 bfk2 years ago
I think I'm going to have to take my vise apart and refinish its hardware now. Yours looks so much nicer! It's the little things ...
WoodVisejaw.jpg
bfk pfred22 years ago
No... It's the fine patina of the gently aged wood:)

pfred2 bfk2 years ago
Well I was thinking more cleaning and painting the metal. The wood forget about it. It did look good at one time. Let me see if I can find a picture going back that far. Ah, here is one:
ViseNew.jpg
bfk pfred22 years ago
Nice... Mine had to go on one of the long sides (space issues). I never touched the metal from when I brought the vertical vice home. Same with the slide and handle... The slide is torn up at the far end, but because it's original, I won't touch it.

btw, Did you get the pictures of the speed vice attachment I made from your Instructable? By using spring steel wire, it's clean and works beautifully... Because the handle is wood, it was possible to add an additional aid to make everything faster yet:) (the crank is a 5/8" dowel. I thought it might get in the way, but it rotates down 90º and out of the way (and stays that way) until it's needed again. I love your idea... Next will be my 3-1/2" bench vice.

Here's what it looks like, plus I also wrapped the handle of a bar clamp (hard to see, but check how I hid the wire ends). If markbyounger (it IS his thread, after all) decides he can use a bar clamp with his unique setup, it would also have those capabilities.
Photo Jan 25, 2 34 56 AM.jpgPhoto Jan 25, 4 59 48 PM.jpgPhoto Jan 25, 4 58 43 PM.jpg
pfred2 bfk2 years ago
You know, I think you are the first person that ever made anything I posted here. I was using some C clamps earlier today and thought about wiring them up, but I just struggled with them like I always do. I thought it would have been a bit extreme, but they do the same thing vises do. So I might end up wiring some of my clamps.
bfk pfred22 years ago
I doubt I'm the first, but maybe the first to tell you about it. Back when I was attempting to sell my ideas to industry, the biggest problem was showing them that simple ideas do, in fact work. I've had to travel to Virginia because patent examiner's had to be shown a working model before they understood how something worked. Once they experience it, it makes sense, but trying to show something via description, drawings or photos is nearly impossible. People have too many prior assumptions about what they "know" does and does not work. They have to physically see something operate before they go "duh".

pfred2 bfk2 years ago
What you describe brings to mind my theory that life is naturally counter intuitive. Rare is the gift of clear sight.

If you enjoy reading this is something I have found inspirational:

http://www.history.rochester.edu/ehp-book/shb/start.htm

Shows what hyper clarity of vision can accomplish! The body of work speaks better than I can, but I'll just say since I finished it I've looked at everything differently.
ktow pfred22 years ago
Any shot you could post the book you guys are talking about again- that link is cranky for me! Thanks!

ktow
bfk pfred22 years ago
Thank you.

I'm looking forward to reading it.
pfred2 bfk2 years ago
It starts off slow but give it a chance. My words can't do it justice. I'm not sure if he invented anything flat out, he just figured out better ways of doing things people were doing really stupidly for long periods of time. But in doing just that he shaped the modern world!

I bet he was a real SOB IRL still, it would have been cool to have known him personally.

markbyounger (author)  bfk2 years ago
Use the thread all you like, I'm learning things
blkhawk bfk2 years ago
Could you post pictures of your vice? Would like to see the finished project. Thank you.
markbyounger (author)  blkhawk2 years ago
Step 9 shows the finished wood vise, the second picture in step 10 shows the bench (Metal) vise ready to use (held in the wood vise jaws).
pat425862 years ago
Great Instructable. I made one myself! Except I didn't want a clamp to be out of comission, so I used a threaded rod with some scrap as handle. I'm excited.
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markbyounger (author)  pat425862 years ago
Looks great.
pheenix422 years ago
You know...I have a book at home here someplace of boy's workshop projects, and this vise is detailed there! Nice to see that good ideas keep popping up!
bfk2 years ago
Congrats on being featured! This is a neat idea and it deserves to be on the front page!
pfred22 years ago
If you ever do put in dogs don't do square ones. It's not worth it! In practice round ones are actually more versatile and work better too. What a 3/4" hardwood dowel costs isn't the price of grief you'll have cutting one square hole. I'm not a half bad woodworker either but cutting all them square holes exactly identical, well good luck on that task. Lets just say that it didn't work here for me when I tried to do it. I know when you are making a bench there are ways of avoiding it, but still having had both I wouldn't want square holes today even if they were as easy to do as round ones are. I have lots of different style round dogs but these are some of my favorites. Sometimes I just put a flat onto the dog peg too. Depends what I'm doing.

Oh, and for acme thread look to some car jacks. Some of those have suitable threaded rod and nuts that you might have to do some elaborate joinery to use, but can be made to work.
Dogs.jpg
markbyounger (author)  pfred22 years ago
Thanks for the advice, round dogs are looking better all the time.
Look at it this way drill round ones and try them, then if you don't like them you can always square them up. But I'm telling you square holes are a nightmare! If I had to to do all over again I am thinking I might have splurged and went with one inch, but in practice 3/4" holds good enough. Especially my block dogs like are in that picture.

I have a whole collection of dogs I made plus plugs for my whole bench and I still have half the 3 foot long dowel left over. So the argument that with square ones you can rip your own is moot. Oh here is a picture of when I put the dogs in my bench. You could say I wanted them nice and square. it really went pretty easily with that setup.
DrillDogs.jpg
blkhawk2 years ago
Great idea! An great way to secure a project.