Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Leg vise accessories

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Three accessories for those with a leg vise ...

I posted recently about the kitchen doors I am building ... 22 in all. They are all in Hard Maple, from rough sawn timber imported from the USA. As mentioned previously as well, all Shaker style to replace doors with raised panels from the existing kitchen built 20 plus years ago.

I've now completed 12 of the doors, and am in the process of assembling the rest ...

As I was clamping yet another frame to side of the bench, I decided that I had enough of fiddling with this process, and decided to modify my leg vise to make it more friendly. The problem was that the section of the bench facing the chop was lined in leather for added grip. This lifted the work away from the side of the bench, and, when clamped in the vise, the frame would rack. I had got by through shimming the gap. Of course, if I adjusted the frame, the bloody shim dropped out, and I would have to start all over again!

The first accessory was easy enough ... a shim that would not fall off the bench ...

The shim is the same thickness as the leather ...

Next ...

One of the big advantages of a leg vise is that one can clamp a door down one side. The problem is that the vise racks. Over time the vise will damaged. More immediately, it does not hold as firmly as when the full width of the face is used. The time honoured method for dealing with this is to have a deck of wooden cards that may be dropped in the opposing end. Something like this version, which is sold by Lee Valley ...

I did not want something that would be lying around. I have enough bits and bobs lying around already. Even the shim (above) is another item to lie around, and I shall have to come up with a better idea to replace it.

Well, I came up with an idea for the vise which I have not seen before, so it may just be original (I doubt that, but it is nice to imagine). This a simple depth stop for the outside of the chop.

This was built from Jarrah scrap. I found a thread that I could mortice into the wood. The hole for the thread was drilled with a brace and bit.

It was hard going. The bit was sharp and the threads were clean and designed for hardwood. But they were not going anywhere, even with much downforce. I recalled a tip that a fellow Aussie had posted on the Australian forum (and, indeed, had won a prize from Pop Wood magazine). It involved how to use a forstner bit with a brace. To do so, he drilled a pilot hole:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_unwqESVfA&feature=youtu.be

It occurred to me that this may work with the bit as well ...

Did it ever ..!

So here is the depth stop ..

Finally, all could be used together, and attaching and holding frames became a breeze ...

The third accessory? Well, have you not wanted to use the leg vise like an end vise, that is, to clamp boards across the bench? Like this ...

Obviously, on the bench are dogs like these ...

These are from Lee Valley. I cover the faces in leather to prevent marring sides (I do the same will all hold downs).

The other side is the leg vise chop, and that, too, has a dog sunk into it ..

These are also from LV, the "prairie dogs", which are spring loaded ..

When no longer needed, they are pushed into the chop and out of the way. Pop them up again when you choose ...

Lots of fun, but all useful.

Now, how do I build the shim into the bench?

Regards from Perth

Derek

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