Building a workbench. Need help with vises. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 12-23-2017, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Building a workbench. Need help with vises.

Forewarning everyone, my terminology of things will probably be terrible in this post and I apologize ahead of time. Anyway... let's begin.

I wanna build a good sturdy workbench and I think I have the design down for the most part. I guess the design is called a roubo? Dog holes down both sides of it, with a split down the middle, an end vise on one end, a leg vise, and I think the last thing is called a sliding deadman (the thing with a bunch of holes in it so you can use the leg vise to plane the sides of large panels).

No idea how to build the deadman.

I have the build for the leg vise mostly done except I don't know how to attach a hand wheel to a threaded rod. The rest of the leg vise has been drawn out, researched and finalized. I literally just don't know how to attach the wheel to the threaded rod. I'm guessing it can be as simple as a set screw. So this part isn't too bad.

The end vise is where things get tricky to me. I've seen the ones with a handle on both ends of the vise and if you crank either handle the whole thing clamps and I like that. How do I build that? Or should I just stop being a tightass with my money and buy all the hardware for one from veritas or lie Nielsen or similar? The idea of spending that much money just on one vise makes my wallet shiver in fear though so there's that. Any help is appreciated.

Happy holidays!
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-23-2017, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by renraw9002 View Post
Forewarning everyone, my terminology of things will probably be terrible in this post and I apologize ahead of time. Anyway... let's begin.

I wanna build a good sturdy workbench and I think I have the design down for the most part. I guess the design is called a roubo? Dog holes down both sides of it, with a split down the middle, an end vise on one end, a leg vise, and I think the last thing is called a sliding deadman (the thing with a bunch of holes in it so you can use the leg vise to plane the sides of large panels).

No idea how to build the deadman.

I have the build for the leg vise mostly done except I don't know how to attach a hand wheel to a threaded rod. The rest of the leg vise has been drawn out, researched and finalized. I literally just don't know how to attach the wheel to the threaded rod. I'm guessing it can be as simple as a set screw. So this part isn't too bad.

The end vise is where things get tricky to me. I've seen the ones with a handle on both ends of the vise and if you crank either handle the whole thing clamps and I like that. How do I build that? Or should I just stop being a tightass with my money and buy all the hardware for one from veritas or lie Nielsen or similar? The idea of spending that much money just on one vise makes my wallet shiver in fear though so there's that. Any help is appreciated.

Happy holidays!
If you have a descent enough vice I don't think you really need the deadman. It essentially just props one end of a long board so it doesn't slip down. On my vice I could just stick one end of a 8' long board in it and it would stay without anything propping it up. To answer your question though you just mortise a hole through the bench top which allows the board to slide through. Then behind it you put a vertical board with a series of holes behind the deadman so you can put a peg in it to have an assortment of heights to set the deadman. I think it would be a lot simpler to just put a leg in line with the vice and just use a wooden clamp to hold the other end up. It would also eliminate the frustration of trying to find the correct peg hole to use on the deadman to get the board level.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-23-2017, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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If you have a descent enough vice I don't think you really need the deadman. It essentially just props one end of a long board so it doesn't slip down. On my vice I could just stick one end of a 8' long board in it and it would stay without anything propping it up. To answer your question though you just mortise a hole through the bench top which allows the board to slide through. Then behind it you put a vertical board with a series of holes behind the deadman so you can put a peg in it to have an assortment of heights to set the deadman. I think it would be a lot simpler to just put a leg in line with the vice and just use a wooden clamp to hold the other end up. It would also eliminate the frustration of trying to find the correct peg hole to use on the deadman to get the board level.
Oh I like that better. I was kinda playing with the idea of building drawers for under the bench top anyway so without a deadman in the way those would be easier to get in to.
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-23-2017, 08:18 PM
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Oh I like that better. I was kinda playing with the idea of building drawers for under the bench top anyway so without a deadman in the way those would be easier to get in to.
If you end up actually needing a deadman you could make a wooden block the right thickness and just pull one of the drawers out and set the block on the drawer to support the board.
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-24-2017, 11:05 AM
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A deadman like this works well, & is easy to move.


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post #6 of 22 Old 12-25-2017, 06:02 AM Thread Starter
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That's the kind of dead man I had in mind. Is it just a groove in the bench top and you put the dead man in place when you put the top and base together or can you remove the deadman if need be?
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-25-2017, 09:54 AM
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Building a workbench. Need help with vises.

The deadman is removable. The top of the stretcher is chamfered on bot sides. The deadman is notched to slide on it.

The deadman is rabbeted at the top to fit into a deep slot in the benchtop, leaving some space between the rabbet shoulder & benchtop. The deadman can be lifted up, bottom swung out, & removed.

I can take some photos & send them if this description is clear as mud.


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Last edited by WesTex; 12-25-2017 at 11:36 AM.
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-25-2017, 11:40 AM
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Here are a few photos:






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post #9 of 22 Old 12-25-2017, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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Here are a few photos:

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That'd be perfect. I'll definitely try to add that into my bench build. I really like that it's removable.
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-25-2017, 05:58 PM
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The deadman (and the bench) is from Christopher Schwarz’ book ‘Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use’.

It’s clear, concise, & entertaining, if you like his sense of humor. It includes detailed instructions and patterns.
I found it very helpful when I built my bench. I read it twice before I bought any material.
There is now a second edition out.


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post #11 of 22 Old 12-26-2017, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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The deadman (and the bench) is from Christopher Schwarz’ book ‘Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use’.

It’s clear, concise, & entertaining, if you like his sense of humor. It includes detailed instructions and patterns.
I found it very helpful when I built my bench. I read it twice before I bought any material.
There is now a second edition out.


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Maybe I'll read it before building my workbench. I talked to a few ppl about building a leg vise and end vise. Even my dad said I was probably better off saving up and buying pre built hardware for the vises rather than try to piece everything together myself.
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-27-2017, 09:37 AM
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I bought the leg vise screw from Woodcraft for about 80 bucks. It made the vise build & installation a breeze.


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post #13 of 22 Old 01-10-2018, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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A friend of mine is trying to find some parts for a leg vise, threaded rod, hand wheel, etc. The leg vise seems brain dead easy to build myself, but the end vise I'm resigned to just buy a pre-made twin screw vise. Might splurge and get a lie Nielsen twin screw vise or veritas, or something with the money I save building the leg vise myself.
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-10-2018, 08:13 AM
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Leg vises ... I have this one ... extremely happy with it.



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Yost end vise ... $53



https://www.amazon.com/Yost-Tools-YE...and+vise&psc=1

... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:

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post #15 of 22 Old 01-11-2018, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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Leg vises ... I have this one ... extremely happy with it.
Actually my friend found a threaded rod and handwheel that looks to have the nut and everything in that photo except it's a handwheel and not meant to accept a bar. It was part of a machine they were going to throw out at his job. I'll take $80 back in my pocket, yes please.
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post #16 of 22 Old 01-11-2018, 10:51 AM
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Actually my friend found a threaded rod and handwheel that looks to have the nut and everything in that photo except it's a handwheel and not meant to accept a bar. It was part of a machine they were going to throw out at his job. I'll take $80 back in my pocket, yes please.
Nice find! Do keep in mind that the tpi (threads per inch) count will make a big difference in useability. Four or five threads per inch opens and closes a LOT faster than twenty.
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post #17 of 22 Old 01-11-2018, 09:44 PM
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I use a block clamped to the apron to act as a dead man.. it pretty much accomplishes the same thing and is dirt cheap.. It's of course nowhere near as pretty, but you know..if I wanted a pretty bench it wouldn't be used to do work on it and would be in the living room instead of the garage..
By the way if you're looking for a good acme screw try these guys and they do sell to the public..I called awhile back.
http://www.dependableacme.com

I figured it's time to change my signature so hold your breath. This is it.
Impressive, huh?

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post #18 of 22 Old 01-12-2018, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Nice find! Do keep in mind that the tpi (threads per inch) count will make a big difference in useability. Four or five threads per inch opens and closes a LOT faster than twenty.
I guess the rod from his machine was meant to center large pieces of some kind of material so the threads are probably in the area of 4 or 5 tpi. he'll have to cut the rod cause his are probably a good 10' long at least.
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post #19 of 22 Old 01-12-2018, 09:59 AM
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I guess the rod from his machine was meant to center large pieces of some kind of material so the threads are probably in the area of 4 or 5 tpi. he'll have to cut the rod cause his are probably a good 10' long at least.
That's a nice find!
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post #20 of 22 Old 01-13-2018, 01:42 AM Thread Starter
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That's a nice find!
Agreed. funny enough it's a friend i've never met in person. We know each through a game we both play... er I used to play. he built me a pallet dismantler tool and mailed it to me. pretty awesome guy. He makes glass display... things. crap i can't think of the word. Those things like you see in churches with the pictures being made of different colored pieces of glass. He's pretty good at it. He was trying to describe to me how to build the twin screw vise like I want, but for something like that I have no issue spending good money on it cause guaranteed it's something i'll use for every project. Plus for a twin screw vise there's no question I'll mess something up if i try to build it myself lol.
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