Hi, I’m hoping to get some advice. I’ve just finished making Paul’s bench (I’ve absolutely loved every minute of the project), and I’ve fallen at the last hurdle. Whilst fitting the vise I was cinching up the coach screws and over tightened one, snapping the stem. I’ve attached it exactly as per Paul’s instructions, in that I’ve used two beefy bolts underneath, and two coach screws through the inside jaw. It’s the screw in the jaw that I’ve snapped. Its snapped inside the apron with none poking out. Not sure whether to try… drill it out? Maybe leave it and try to drill a new hole in the vise and put a new screw in? Although the vise might be too tough (it’s the Eclipse 9″ quick release). I can’t really move the vise left or right because to the left there’s the wedge pushing the leg straight, and to the right I don’t have any more room on the spacer block I’ve glued to the under side of the bench-top to support the vise. I guess I could extend it but I’m hoping there’s a way that’s less work. Any ideas and suggestions are welcome!
Second approach would be to remove the vise, use a chisel or gouge to excavate around the screw shaft to allow a pair of locking pliers to grip the shaft and back the screw out.
You can then drill out a hole large enough to cover the gouged area and glue in an appropriate sized dowel or plug. And start over. ( predrill and lots of wax)
I agree with Craig with one additional point.
You don’t need to bolt the front face on tightly, and actually you should avoid over tightening the front bolts especially if you have a vintage vise.
This is because it would cause conflicting stresses in the metal body of the vise, which could lead to cracking.
I’ve seen this on vintage vises.
The vise should be firmly bolted using the four big bolt holes in the base, and lightly fixed at the front.
I only use the front screws to attach the wooden jaw covers to the vise face and bench. I use long wood screws, not lag bolts.
Thanks Darren, with that in mind I think I overtightened both screws in the jaw. It’s a new Eclipse vise so hopefully isn’t in danger of cracking. I’ll back the unsnapped screw off slightly. Considering what you’ve said, I’m wondering if I can leave the snapped screw where it is and put in a smaller wood screw at a slight angle so it misses the embedded snapped screw. What do you think?
Several thoughts come to mind.
-Did the lag bolt break only because it was overtightened, or was it a poor fastener? The large home center near me sells fasteners that I will no longer buy. They are too soft, so the heads strip out and, as you experienced here, sometimes they shear off.
-Think of the repair as an escalating series of trials. If you go right to Craig’s core extraction, and it doesn’t work, you have a big gaping core to deal with. On the other hand, if you try to extract the fastener with minimal damage to the wood, you still have various, more aggressive things left to try if it doesn’t work.
If you have a bolt extractor, that is what I would try first. It is almost worth buying one for the (frustrating) experience of trying to use one. On the other hand, if it works, you have a pilot hole to run the same sized bolt into.
If that does not work, or isn’t an option, then you can try to dig out the top as suggested previously to grab with a pair of vice-grips. Again, you may be able to use the same size lag bolt. If you dig too deep, you may just need to get a longer fastener of the same size. If things are too wallowed out, you can go up a size (larger diameter. This may require you to ream out or otherwise increase the diameter of the hole in the vise, which should be soft, cast steel.
One of those should work, but if they fail, then extracting a core as in Craig’s first suggestion starts to look good. The problem with cores and dowels, though, is that you end up (usually) setting your fastener into end grain and, sometimes, the dowel or plug you install can be brittle.
As you suggested, you can also drill a new hole in the vise and place the bolt elsewhere, but I’d rather not do that, if that were my vise, and the other things should work. On my Eclipse vise, there are 4 large lag bolts under the vise going up into the underside of the bench that bear most of the weight and stress. The front holes don’t really support the vise. In fact, are you sure those holes aren’t meant to receive countersunk wood screws as part of attaching a jaw liner? (It has been a long time since I installed mine…..)
It bears repeating: Make sure you don’t buy junky fasteners for critical things. I have no idea if those are good are not, so please do not misunderstand.
Thanks for the thorough response Ed. What a wonderful resource this forum is!
I don’t think the screws are to blame – I did over-tighten it. Couldn’t resist one extra half turn! The screws aren’t terrible quality, but they’re not the best either. It’s possible a better one wouldn’t have broken.
I like the idea of a series of trials! It makes sense to progress up to the most destructive option. The first thing I’ve tried is cutting away a little material to expose the stem:
I now have my neighbours locking pliers and in a mo will try unscrewing it. I’ll update the post with my progress. If it fails I might buy a bolt extractor and try that as my next option.
I think you’re right about those holes by the way, maybe they are intended for attaching jaws. I’m following Paul’s suggested way of doing it explained here – https://youtu.be/VkTqt-rxQfk?t=1058
Thanks for the assistance everyone, I really appreciate it. It’s sorted and the vise is now fitted.
The locking pliers did the trick:
Here’s the finished vise:
In case it’s not obvious, I’m fairly new to woodworking so thanks for the help to get this sorted!
That looks great, and well done on the workbench!
Woodworking is awesome, welcome to the hobby / pastime / therapy / obsession / time pit etc! 👍😀
My woodworking hobby expanded to include buying and restoring vintage tools (including vices), and that really is a rabbit hole! 😂
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