I have always loved the look of a homemade front vise. The classic carpenters benches all have these, and they are very useful. The front vise I was using up to this point was very small. When I decided to make my own, I knew that my homemade front vise had to have a certain look and size.
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The first thing I wanted was a very chunky screw handle socket that looked similar to what was on my fathers bench. I restored his bench in another article, so I had been working with it for a while when I made the decision.
The socket is made with two pieces of 8/4 Mahogany that were laminated together. Next, the hole was drilled through the two pieces, and it was turned on the lathe.
I have always liked wire burned accents, so I added a few of them on the piece. If you want an easy way to make wire burners, pick up a set of guitar strings. They will all be different thicknesses, and they can be wrapped around smaller pieces of wood to make a nice burning set.
After making the shape the way I wanted, I sanded the piece down to 220 grit on the lathe. This final sanding over the wire burned areas removes any burn from the front vise handle socket that made it out of the grooves. This will happen with wire burning sometimes, and is easy to remove.
Fitting everything together was a little tricky, but the vise works well. I also discovered that Acme screws are very expensive if you don’t know where to buy them. I found one in my shop on accident, and it saved me a ton of money.
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Anyone who knows me, or sees me, would not guess that I workout a lot. I don’t. However, I do have a small weight set in the shop with barbells for curls. I just happened to notice that each of the barbells was an Acme screw with a rubber handle in the middle. Once I cut off the rubber handle, it was a medium length Acme screw. This was perfect for building a homemade front vise. And cheap.
The barbell set I had was Gold’s brand, and I bought them at Walmart several years ago. They still carry the same barbells today. Unless they changed the design, there is still an Acme screw hidden under the molded rubber handle. If you pick up one of these, you will have a cheap Acme screw without very much effort.
Assembling the homemade front vise and mounting it to the bench took a while, but now I have a very large front vise that I can use to hold all kinds of projects. If you are thinking about making a vise like this yourself, I recommend using square guides instead of round dowels like on mine. The vise is loosening up the more I use it, but it does get a little tight every now and then on closing.
Try making a homemade front vise handle socket to add some weight to your vise. I really like the look of mine, and it has a very traditional feel. Also, look around for an Acme screw before spending too much money. I don’t know why these are so expensive, but you don’t have to spend that much.
If you have any questions about my Homemade Front Vise, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.
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