The Holy Roman end vise is installed and functioning quite well, though at one point I thought I was going to curl under the bench and shed some Holy Roman tears.
After bashing out the slot and mortises for the end vise gear and then paring them true, I fit the two maple blocks that support the screw. One block is a vise nut. The other, at the end of the bench, acts like a bushing to support the screw. Both support the moving dog from below.
These had to be planed so everything was in the same plane, allowing the wooden screw to move without binding. The threaded vise nut is merely friction fit into its mortise. It needs to be easily adjustable so you can lower all the components after several flattenings of the benchtop.
The end block is lag bolted to the bench with two 5/16” x 5” Spax lags (I recommend you always pay the upcharge for Spax). When I need to lower the position of this block I’ll drill new holes for the Spax lags or make a new bushing.
Then came the fun part (I use the word “fun” ironically): Installing the metal screw that mates the wooden screw to the movable dog. This had to be screwed into the end of the vise screw with a lot of fuss. It had to be centered, and the hole needed to be dang vertical.
So I spent about an hour fussily boring a perfect pilot hole. Then chasing a clearance hole for the unthreaded section of the screw that was going to be buried in the screw. I cut threads in the pilot hole with a regular old steel screw. Then I lubricated the vise screw with some paraffin and drove the screw in.
And snap. Literally. Not like the kids say “snap.” The screw snapped about 1” below the rim of the hole.
After weighing about 100 options, I decided to use a 5/16” x 1” lag and washer to do the job temporarily until I could devise a solution that didn’t look so Mary Shelley.
Tomorrow I’ll drill the dog holes, make some nicer nuts for the face vise and do the “make pretty” so it’s presentable for Woodworking in America. If I’m lucky I’ll get to replace the wooden tommy bar for the end vise with a crank that Peter Ross made me. But time is running out.
— Christopher Schwarz