Twin Screw Face Vise

I’ve been reading as Christopher Schwarz and Peter Follansbee actively reconstruct the twin screw (double screw) face vise from Moxon’s diagrams.  The most radical bit of thinking is that the vise is not permanently attached to the front of the bench.  It is loose and can be clamped in a variety of positions.  This arrangement could be quite useful in dovetailing and I certainly see the merit in the design.

I am not as concerned as they are about being technically and historically accurate.   I will continue doing what I have been doing that serves the same purpose, is very similar, and is generally a lot more flexible.  It is relatively quick to set up and works well for dovetailing.


This is my version of the twin screw face vise.

The configuration requires no specialized tools.  Just a pair of handscrews and pair of F-clamps.  When they are not in use in this configuration, they go back to regular duty as ordinary clamps.   The F-clamps hold the handscrews to the surface of the bench and the handscrews hold the workpiece.

Advantages of the Handscrew Face Vise:

  1. No specialty vice that will have to find a place in my small workshop when I am not using it.
  2. The handscrews can be clamped farther apart if working on a wide board or panel.
  3. When not in use, they are no longer clamped to the bench so it doesn’t permanently add any protruding object  to the bench.
twinscrew wide vise

Here is an example of the vise holding a wide board ... sorry I didn't have any 24 inch wide boards laying around so I had to put in a board lengthwise for display purposes.

For a day or so after I first read of Chris Schwarz’s double screw vice, I had seriously considered building one, but using the hardware from a single handscrew instead of those wooden screws that Chris used on his.  Instead I decided not to as I don’t dovetail often enough and the hand screw method I already use has no real shortcomings.  It is stable, and reliable.  What more can you ask for?

Reader's Comments »

  1. By Torch02 on May 31, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one doing this – though I call it a quad-screw vice 😉 It get’s quite the workout in my garage, as I’ve yet to build a bench with any integral vices.

  2. By swirt on June 1, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Hey Torch02, thanks for commenting. I thought about the Quad-screw moniker, but didn’t want to confuse the issue LOL I actually played around with unscrewing one of the handles on each vice and screwing onto the same side as the other handle so that both faced forward. This made the vice a little bit faster to work with in this configuration, but made it nearly impossible to use as a regular handscrew. The gain in speed in the vice setting was not great enough to warrant the complete loss of speed when it is doing handscrew duty.