How to Build a Wagon Vise

A wagon vise is a very useful vise on a woodworking bench. It is the end vise I decided to put on my Roubo workbench. I have a leg vise for the front vise and this wagon vise for the end vise. I did not take pics during the build, but I will put several pics below on how to build a wagon vise.

This wagon vise was built using different ideas I found on the web. The screw I used is the tail vise screw from Lee Valley. Click here to purchase the same screw to build your vise with. It is a very well made vise screw. It comes with all the screws you need to attached the nut and the garter when building your wagon vise.

Five things are needed to build this vise; the Lee Valley tail vise screw, a block to attach the screw nut to, a block to travel with the bench dog, 3/8″ aluminum tubing, and 1/2″aluminum channels. This can be retro-fitted into an existing bench. Mine was built into my Roubo workbench as it was being built. That is less than $50 in materials.

Here is the top view. The vise has just over 15″ of travel. I made the wagon vise dog block from the dog hole board. When building the bench, I made the dog hole board extra long and cut off a 5-1/2″ piece to use as the traveling part of the vise. That assured me the traveling dog block would be a perfect fit in the vise opening. I did take a couple of passes with my smooth plane to each side, just to assure that the traveling dog block always slid freely.

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Now, some shots of the underside, the working part of the vise. The aluminum tubing runs through the wagon vise screw nut block and into the aluminum channel. The screw nut block it glued to the dog hole traveling block. The nut is recessed into the block and then screwed into place.

One tip is to keep everything that moves back and forth, the blocks and the aluminum tubing, keep all of it square. It did take just a small amount of trial and error to make sure the vise traveled smoothly.

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The wooden parts you see around the aluminum channels is just strips of wood I cut a rabbet into. I did that to protect the aluminum channels from any damage. And also so I can still put a clamp on that end of the bench if I need to.

One last thing, since the screw fit directly under the bench top, there would be a thin section of the workbench top. So I added a couple of small metal brackets on the underside of the top for support.

Wagon Vise

The only thing I might change would be to make the dog hole block a little bit longer and put two holes for bench dogs on each end. That would reduce the distance I have to turn the screw sometimes. But this is not a major hindrance. It works very well as is. Here is a quick video of the vise movement. I can spin the screw with one finger.

I hope this helps you be able to build a wagon vise. If you have any questions, please comment below. Thank you for visiting my blog.

2 Comments

    1. Thanks David. There is no racking on the vise. All of the parts holding the block in place fit together very well. You don’t need much pressure from the wagon vise to hold parts in place on the workbench, so not a lot of force is usually needed.

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