Thursday, April 27, 2017

Portable workbench part three

Of course, a portable workbench needs a twin screw, quick release vise, nothing less.  Spoiler alert:  this is hyperbole for the sake of amusement, although, as I will explain, there is something to it.  The vise does have twin screws and it does have a quick release feature.

Part of my goal is to build this portable bench and toolbox at minimal cost using mostly scrap material and things I have on hand.  The challenge was to come up with a lightweight but useable vise without spending anything.  This is something I already know how to do based on my experience years ago making Moxon vises using bar clamps.  Here is one that I kept:

It has collected dust since I made one with acme threaded rods, but now that I look at it again I am thinking it is better.  It's relatively light, fast as a result of being able to move the screw arm along the bar and nice to work on because the handles are in the back.  I am not sure why I mounted the rear jaw on top of the base, but I have decided to change that and go back to using it to see if I like it better.

The cool thing about using this idea on a portable workbench is that you already have the rear jaw: the bench itself.  I attached some tabs on the sides of the bench to hold light duty bar clamps at the right height:

I had a nice piece of 8/4 cvg douglas-fir (save for the pitch-pocket which I epoxied) to use for the front jaw:

The bar clamps fit in small notches in the bottom of the jaw that hold it in place.

I wasn't sure what finish to apply to a portable bench that will be spending part of its life outdoors, but I had some old tung oil on hand and decided to use it.  It seems like it might be a good choice as it didn't make the top slippery, but I have never liked the way it looks on douglas-fir.  I am going to use something else on the toolbox.

At this point, the bench is done.  Now it's on to the toolbox.


  1. Andy,

    Looks good. I have been thinking alone the same lines but using a couple holdfasts to do the job.