stevenbunn Thu, 02/26/2015 - 15:19

 To recap from an earlier post. I really liked the min-bench featured in the December 2014 issue of FWW. I wanted to make a copy of it. But I also wanted to keep the cost of materials down, and frankly, I am incapable of following any published plan exactly. I like traditional wooden vises and hand-turned wooden bench screws. So the version of the small bench I made incorporated a vise I made, and the other parts were constructed from scraps and cut-offs, which might otherwise have gone in the woodstove. The bench I built is inspired by the FWW bench, but is not a duplicate of it. Consequently be aware that any dimensions I mention may not agree with similar measurements given in the earlier article. You are free to use the information given in this and the following posts to make a similar vise for your mini-bench. The only cost to you is a beer drunk to my health, in thanks. To keep things simple, rather than attempt one article length post, I am breaking the story up into smaller segments. This keeps things sane for me and keeps the number and size of the accompanying photos within the limits set by the blog program.

Building A Wooden Vise for Your Mini-bench

The Fixed Jaw

The mini-bench I built has a Maple top 2-1/2 inches thick, 9-1/2 inches in width, and a length of a little over 42 inches. Adjust any of the measurements shown here to fit your top. The  faces of the vise are both made from material 1-1/2 inches in thickness, 5 inches wide and 9-1/2 inches in length. I started construction of the fixed jaw by cutting away a chuck of waste to create a large rabbet in the work piece 1 inch deep and 2-1/2 inches wide. This created an L shaped block. The rabbet seats against the end of your top, with the narrow lip forming the gripping face of the fixed jaw, and wider lower section, fitting tightly against the underside of the top, is threaded and lag-bolted to the bench top.


In this small block drill seven holes. In the upper narrow section, two counter-sunk screw holes for the #8 x 2 inch wood screws that secure the jaw to the end of the bench. A larger thru hole centered in the length of the block, and 1-5/8 inch up from the bottom face of the stock. This hole will be threaded, so the diameter of the hole you drill should equal the root diameter of the tap you use. The used a 1-1/4 inch tap and die set. The hole I drilled at this point was 1-1/16 inches in diameter. There are two 7/16 inch diameter through holes in the  lower face of the jaw through which the guide bars in the movable jaw pass. And two 3/8 inch diameter holes drilled vertically in the lower arm of the L, so that 3-1/2 inch lag bolts can be screwed into the underside of the top to lock the jaw securely in place. Note: I will add a dimensional drawing later this week showing the location of the holes described to this post.