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Workshop Projects

March 3, 2012


Plans are now available for this project, see them here


Homemade Quick Release Vise Pages: 1 , 2 , 3

This article is different from my usual. In it, I've used a lot more video than I have before. I believe that this can give a better understanding, since some things are better shown than explained. There are less photos and text than in my other articles, but I think that a bigger project like this can really benefit from the detail you can only get from video. I expect that I will be doing all future major projects in this way and may go back and add video to older projects as well (most notably, my Advanced Box Joint Jig).
I hope you all like it.

I've wanted to build a large side vise for a while. Making it so that it would be quick to adjust was the one design aspect I had been mulling over, to come up with a reliable and reasonably easy way to make it work. I also wanted to make it from commonly available parts, and as much as possible from wood. My intention is to eventually produce plans for this vise and make it easy to build for the average woodworker - no tricky cuts or hard to find hardware.
For me, the best way to work through the first basic ideas of a design are on paper:

Sketch on paper.


I'll doodle something roughly, more or less just giving my thoughts a visual representation. From there, I can further develop the concept in SketchUp.

To get started, I used a zipcut blade in my grinder to cut the nut in half:

1" nut cut in half.
This could be cut by other means: hacksaw, for example. I made the cut from point to point to have the flat spot (arrow) against the wood to make cutting out the notches that these sit in easier.


The jaws of the quick release mechanism are two pieces of hard maple cut to size:

Stock prep for locking jaws. Locking jaws machined.

These are machined for the threaded rod to pass through and to house the split nut. A simple dado cut, straight across for each half of the split nut.

Part 1 of the video series on the construction of this vise cover these first steps in the build:

To watch the latest videos of new projects, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Nut fits well.
The v-groove is large enough to easily clear the 1" threaded rod as it passes through, but still provide good support for the nut. This part of the build is probably the trickiest, and it requires some fairly precise measurements and cuts.


Video 2 goes through this in detail:

The nuts are glued into the notches with slow set epoxy. This needs to be as strong as possible and slow set epoxy is the only adhesive I trust to do this. Filler blocks are cut to 60 degrees and glued in as well:

Nut half glued in. Completed locking jaws.

The excess is then trimmed off and sanded flush.

At this point, it's a good idea to grind or file the upper and lower edges of the threads, so that they will clear the rod easier when the jaws are open:

Close up showing where the nut should be ground.


This makes the adjustment smoother and does not have any impact on the clamping pressure.

Pages: 1 , 2 , 3

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