How to Build a Wood Screw Vise

Written by chris baylor
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How to Build a Wood Screw Vise
(Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Most commercial woodworking vices use a steel screw that is lubricated by oil. While this mechanism makes for a very smooth operating vice, it can cause problems with the finish of the wood when the woodworking project comes into contact with the grease and oil on the screw. Conversely, a woodworking vice built with a more traditional wooden screw will not cause damage to the stock being clamped should it come into contact with the screw. With the proper parts, a wood screw vice can be built for nearly any type of woodworking bench vice you need.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Woodworking bench
  • Wooden screw kit with garter, knuckle and handle
  • 2 evenly-sized hardwood jaw blocks
  • Wood screws for mounting the jaws
  • Power drill with drill bits and screw bit
  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Measure the diameter of the large wooden screw at its widest point.

  2. 2

    Drill a matching hole in each of the two hardwood blocks with a bit that is 1/8-inch larger in diameter than the wooden screw.

  3. 3

    Insert the large wooden vice screw into the hole in the front jaw block, and attach the screw's garter (the metal ring just in front of the hole for the handle). Tighten a single screw through each hole in the garter into the front jaw block. Pre-drilling these screw holes would be advisable to keep the block from splitting.

  4. 4

    Attach the rear hardwood block jaw to the side of the bench in the desired location with some long wood screws through pre-drilled holes.

  5. 5

    Using the large hole in the rear jaw as a guide, continue the hole through the edge of the workbench to accommodate the wooden vice screw.

  6. 6

    Align the hole in the centre of the knuckle with the hole in the back side of the bench support you drilled in the previous step. Mount the knuckle with screws through pre-drilled holes.

  7. 7

    Insert the large wooden vice screw through the rear jaw block and into the knuckle. Turn the vice screw clockwise to engage the threads.

  8. 8

    Attach the wooden handle through the large hole in the front of the vice screw.

  9. 9

    Turn the handle clockwise to tighten the jaws. Then, loosen them to the jaws' widest point, checking for smoothness of travel.

Tips and warnings

  • Should the jaws need lubrication, rub a bit of hardened candle wax on the screw to loosen the travel.
  • When working with power tools, always wear appropriate safety equipment, including safety glasses.

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