One of the odd things about the face vise I’m building into this Holy Roman Empire Bench is the twin-screw face vise. Unlike every other face vise I’ve seen in the wild, this one is inset into the benchtop instead of proud of it.
Why? On its surface this plan seems less than ideal. Because the jaw of the vise will be sitting in a notch in the benchtop, it won’t be useful for edge-jointing long boards. If the jaw were proud of the benchtop, it would be ideal for edge-jointing.
I’ve been scratching my head about this for months (maybe longer). The best explanation I can come up with at this point is that this assembly allows you to save a little wood. You can cut the jaw away from the benchtop and then use the off-fall as the vise’s jaw.
So that’s exactly what I am doing today.
The jaw is 1-3/4” thick x 26” long. I laid out my cuts and then used my circular saw to kerf the benchtop, giving me a nice guide for my rip saw. After ripping the jaw with a handsaw, I clamped the jaw and benchtop together so I could crosscut the jaw free from the benchtop without it falling or splintering away from the work.
The resulting surface from this operation is pretty clean, though it is a little in wind (less than 1/16”), which I’ll address after the bench dries a bit more (did I mention the top was at 60 percent moisture content?).
Next up I’ll dress the jaw cautiously so I don’t lose too much thickness. Then I’ll turn the threaded screws and nuts for the vise and line the jaw with adhesive cork.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. I think I’ll scratch my head bald about the end vise. More on that in the coming week.