I’m relatively new to woodworking myself, been at it a few years and not any sort of expert.
Workholding is one thing I seldom see covered in advise to beginners. We don’t often have a bench with a vise when starting out. This was a huge problem for me at first.
I tried a metal vise, awful. I put wood jaw plates in. That just made it not mark the wood as it didn’t hold it well. I tried modern clamps, awkward to impossible. Sometimes I could clamp the workpiece to a piece of wood, then clamp that wood to the bench I’m working on (bench as in homework, computer, etc. Not even a proper adult sized office desk). I screwed a planing stop to the top, then another thinner one replaced it. Helps a lot for a very few things. I made a wooden vise – hand turned and carved a 28″ by 2.25″ bench screw and matching nut. No lathe, just brass screws as centers. Spun it by hand, holding a pencil to mark the high spots, then removed wood when it was not spinning with spokeshave, plane, and finally card scraper! Lots of work, lots of fun. I get to pat myself on the back everytime I look at it sitting in the corner on the floor since I haven’t finished my proper bench to mount it on.
I finally bought three handscrews from HF, $8 each. You can spend more but its one of those things that is safe to buy there as it’s hard to screw up. They clamp to each other, hold really well, and with three you can hold things in so many ways, clamping one to another and then that one to a work surface. More and larger is better, but three is a good start.
One thing about actual vises – it isn’t just the vise itself, but how it works with the bench layout. Here I’m in the realm of regurgitating stuff I’ve read like I actually know it, but it makes a lot of sense. Again, Chris Schwarz book and various articles cover how the whole bench works as an integrated workholding device. He discusses a variety of vises as well, seems they tried most of the common options on one bench or the other in the book. Definitely worth a read when designing a workbench or choosing a vise.
The only problem I had was fitting them to the underside, because my bench thickness is thicker than they install to so I had to make some quick housing dados.
I just installed the same vise, (Jorgensen 41012), which seems to be a very nice one. I also had to make the housing dados which was not too bad, the part I found really hard was getting the right size hole in the apron. I made lots of measurements and thought I had it figured out…. but then had to keep enlarging the hole (seems like 10 different times) until I could finally get it to slip through. I’m sure there is a minimal size whole that would work and look neat, but I never really found that size. Luckily no one can see the bit of butchery that went on 🙂
no, but we could make some pretty cool airplanes from that I bet… I wonder if Paul would ever do a video of that.
I watched a program about the recently built only flying De havilland Mosquito or ‘The Wooden Wonder’ as it was known and thought along the same lines as you 🙂
Jim - Derbyshire.
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