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Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

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  • Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

    I finally got tired of my 2x6 workbench top and decided it was time for something a little more serious. A solid maple bench from the ground up just wasn't in the budget, so this is what I came up with.



    I'm still using my original 2x4 legs. A bag of sand, a box of chain, 2 motors and an old tool box help weigh it all down nicely.

    The top was made from 1 1/2 sheets of baltic birch ply. I'm a lefty, so I put my wagon vise on the front left and my twin screw vise on the right end. I have a quick release face vise on the back.



    The wagon and twin screw vises are all homemade. I've always wanted a twin screw chain vise, but couldn't afford to buy one. I examined a few pictures and decided that I could make one for fairly cheap. Here's some more pics.



    Here's the twin screw chain vise:









    Making the twin screw was fairly simple and cheap. A length of 3/4" thread rod: $8x2. 2 gears: $4x2. A whole whack of 3/4" nuts and washers: $5-10. And the chain. 10ft for $18. Only needed 2 feet though.
    I sandwiched the gears between washers and 2 nuts and welded it all together. For guides, I welded two nuts together, then welded them to the top of some U channel I had left over from a mastercraft mobile base. The guides are bolted on the inside of the bench. Brass bushings are embedded in the end of the bench to help prevent wear.

    Ok, maybe not so simple to explain. If someone wants more details I can make another post. The vise is kick butt! Works as advertised. The only downside is the 3/4" rod. It has fine threads, which mean lot's of turning to open or close. I couldn't find a local source for 1" course thread rod, and doubt it would have been cheap. I can live with the extra few turns. The vise is nice and smooooth.

    The wagon vise was made from left-over parts.

    I also made some hold-downs from left overs...







    They are ugly as sin. The welds look more like my glue-ups. But they are strong and they work *really* well.

    Anyhow, for maybe $200 all-in I'm really happy. I'm using some 1 1/4 dowel for handles at the moment. If I can un-bury my lathe I'll probably turn some of my own. I'd like to wrap the bench in hard-wood, but I didn't have any on hand that I wanted to part with, so maybe in the future. Right now, I'm happy it works, and I can clamp anything from any direction.

    Sorry for the long post and lots of pictures, figured someone might find this interesting/useful.

    Questions/comments welcome.

    Cheers
    Erron.
    Last edited by Erron in Arnprior; 03-12-2010, 11:04 AM.
    ---
    The grain has more direction then me sometimes.
  • Thread Continues Below...

  • #2

    Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

    Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

    That's pretty neat. One question, though...for your tail vice, the block that holds the dog, you have the layers of play oriented 90 degrees to the axis of force...is there any potential for you to rip the layers apart if you clamp with a lot of force? Just curious....

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

      Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

      Originally posted by charlton View Post
      That's pretty neat. One question, though...for your tail vice, the block that holds the dog, you have the layers of play oriented 90 degrees to the axis of force...is there any potential for you to rip the layers apart if you clamp with a lot of force? Just curious....
      Hi Charlton,

      There are two nuts embedded into that block. The block is screwed together. I highly doubt it will ever come apart. Over time the hole may widen or become mis-shapen (soft plywood), in fact the hole is a bit over sized at the moment. 1 quick wrap of masking tape snugs up my homemade dog.

      If I re-make the block, I'd grind down the nuts to make the hole a bit deeper. I could also insert a 3/4" I/D bushing and solve the problem of the hole warping.

      Cheers
      Erron.
      ---
      The grain has more direction then me sometimes.

      Comment


      • #4

        Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

        Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

        Erron,

        I'm really impressed with your bench top. The tortion box idea is very intrigueing and a super use of materials. Did you consider making this with mdf before going with the ply? I'm thinking that with the main parts that don't involve the vises could have been made with mdf and biscuits.

        Thoughts?

        Marty Schlosser
        sigpic[SIGPIC]
        Marty Schlosser
        Maker of fine wood shavings in Kingston, ON
        and member of Kingston Woodworkers Association (www.KingstonWoodworkers.ca)

        Comment


        • #5

          Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

          Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

          Originally posted by Marty S View Post
          Did you consider making this with mdf before going with the ply?
          MDF would be cheaper/heavier but not as stiff.

          Comment


          • #6

            Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

            Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

            Very nicely done.So what if your holdowns are ugly as sin.As my old riding buddy used to say, "chrome don't getcha home".
            See ya

            Comment

            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

              Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

              Originally posted by Erron in Arnprior View Post
              I also made some hold-downs from left overs...

              They are ugly as sin. The welds look more like my glue-ups. But they are strong and they work *really* well.
              Erron,

              I'm impressed - the hardware looks great. Maybe they look better in pictures, but I like the look of your hold downs. For one, they are shinier than the ones they were patterned after.

              You made the tail and wagon vises yourself... why bolt on a off-the-shelf face vise?
              Chris Wong
              http://flairwoodworks.com

              If you have a hard time getting things perfectly level, maybe you need a First Guess Gravity Gauge.

              Comment


              • #8

                Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                Great looking work Erron. One day I'll stop by for a close look.

                Comment


                • #9

                  Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                  Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                  That is one serious bench, and boss vises... thanks for the posting and pictures.
                  Bill "Hickory" Simpson

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                    Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                    Now there's a bench that should stay flat!

                    I applaud your industriousness.

                    Kerry

                    Comment


                    • #11

                      Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                      Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                      Nice work Erron !! Good use of materials and layout.

                      cheers

                      John

                      Comment

                      • Thread Continues Below...

                      • #12

                        Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                        Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                        Originally posted by Marty S View Post
                        Erron,

                        I'm really impressed with your bench top. The tortion box idea is very intrigueing and a super use of materials. Did you consider making this with mdf before going with the ply? I'm thinking that with the main parts that don't involve the vises could have been made with mdf and biscuits.

                        Thoughts?

                        Marty Schlosser

                        Thanks Marty,

                        I had considered MDF for all or part of the project. It certainly would have added weight. In the end I was concerned with dents and dings and spilling the odd tasty beverage, accidentally of course. I've been known to rest my coffee cup in places I shouldn't.

                        Sticking with one material made things easier measuring thickness. I also could have taken the whole bench from one sheet of ply. easier in that sense as well. Everything is screwed together and made of easily replaceable parts. If a year from now things go awry, I might consider a switch.

                        Cheers
                        Erron.
                        ---
                        The grain has more direction then me sometimes.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                          Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                          Originally posted by flairwoodworks View Post
                          Erron,

                          You made the tail and wagon vises yourself... why bolt on a off-the-shelf face vise?
                          Thanks Chris. Function over form. I've had the face vice for years. I just transplanted it to the new bench. Adds some extra weight and gives me more options.

                          Cheers
                          Erron
                          ---
                          The grain has more direction then me sometimes.

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                            Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                            Originally posted by Jack in Nepean View Post
                            Great looking work Erron. One day I'll stop by for a close look.
                            Thanks Jack. I've been thinking of having a gathering of the minds. Not sure how many folks would be willing to make the trek out my way, but there are quite a few Ottawa area folks on the forums.

                            When the weather gets warmer maybe I'll put something together.

                            Cheers,
                            Erron.
                            ---
                            The grain has more direction then me sometimes.

                            Comment


                            • #15

                              Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                              Re: Homemade Bench, Twin screw vise and holdowns!

                              Originally posted by Bill Simpson View Post
                              That is one serious bench, and boss vises... thanks for the posting and pictures.
                              Thanks Bill. It was in the back of my mind to take progress pics and maybe put together an informal how-to. Never got around to it unfortunately. I built the bench a few months ago. I just now got around to posting.

                              Cheers
                              Erron.
                              ---
                              The grain has more direction then me sometimes.

                              Comment

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