Workbench - Part 3: Hand wheels

This installment will cover the manufacture and installation of the operating handles for the vises. These are attached to the Acme threaded rod with a grub screw. It is also possible to use a cotter pin all the way through the rod. This would avoid tapping a thread.

The Acme threaded rod is sized down at the handle end. Leftover traces of the threads can still be seen on the photo. Sizing down can be done on a lathe, with an angle grinder, belt grinder or using a file. The resulting shoulder bears against the opposite side of the flange. There should be a dimple for the grub screw to fit in. Install the handle and mark its position with the grub screw. Remove and use a suitable drill bit to make a shallow depression.

The handle is a hardwood dowel drilled through. The hole should be 0,5mm larger than the screw so the dowel will spin easily. Enlarge the hole at the outer end to make room for a washer and the bolt head. Drill it first with a Forstner bit and then drill the smaller hole all the way through. You may have to do this starting from both ends.

The metal crossbar is 5mm thick. I tapped a thread in it for the bolt handle and used a nut to lock it in place. The crossbar is welded to a 30mm round steel hub with a hole that fits the downsized end of the ACME threaded rod.

At the back of the front bench leg vise there is an Acme nut welded to a metal plate. Once again, you can use a series of small holes if you don't have a large enough drill bit for the ACME rod hole in the metal plate. You can also use a thick plywood square and press fit the nut into it.

On the other side of the bench leg vise goes a 10mm thick UHMW square to support the ACME threaded rod. It should be attached with four woodscrews into a slightly larger recess. This will provide some space to adjust the support for smooth operation. You can use a Forstner bit to drill the central hole in the UHMW.

It is also possible to build hand wheels out of wood. In my case the plywood didn't look good with the hardwood used for the bench so I decided to build metal handles instead.

That covers the metal parts. If you need dimensions, please write me at The next installment will cover the wooden parts.

[ Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 ]

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