Several yeas ago I saved my pennies and splurged on the relatively new (at the time) 24″ Veritas Twin Screw Vise. I debated, and finally settled on a face vise install vs. end vise. Before I purchased the Veritas I relied on my trusty Record No.52 for my workholding needs, so the record took a backseat to the twin screw and was relocated to the end vise position. This layout has worked well for me and today this is still how my bench is laid out.
All was sunshine and lollipops for the first while after installing the Veritas…but once the novelty wore off things started to bug me. For one thing, the two screws, actually no…the two screw handles…are a PITA. Especially the inboard screw…it was always in the way, and sticking up above the benchtop. Thats easy it would seem, just back off the nifty brass screws that fix the handles in place and let the handle slide down out of the way! But then the clickety clack of screw handles slamming back and forth drove me nuts while adjusting the vise, but not for long…after a day or so the inboard handle clattered to the floor…the screwed on handle end split and the handle fell out. Perfect…I glued the split handle end and re-installed the handle and used the “nifty” little brass thumbscrews to keep the handles in position.
Also, the nifty little handle that is on the drive screw (you know, the little steering wheel knob doohickey), kept unscrewing itself and coming off in my hand…@&#@%@%!*$&!!!!
Then after a while the vise became very stiff to close the last 3/4″ or so…after a few minutes I discovered that the vise jaw had shrunk a bit and the nifty steel rods that keep your stock from hitting the screws no longer lined up perfectly with the hole in the jaw…I had drilled the holes the same size as the rods, so here’s a hint: Drill these large enough to accommodate any wood movement and you will not have any clearance problems.
All these niggling little problems started me wondering if I had wasted my time on the twin screw…should I go back to the Record No.52? But the twin screw was so handy…cutting dovetails and joints were great in the twin…Frack!!! What to do, what to do…I unscrewed the end of the handle on the inboard screw (“The Nutcracker”, as it were) and removed it so it wasn’t in the way. Now it looked stupid with the cast handle head still there, so I got a punch and hammer and drove out the pin and removed the head. This left just a part of the smooth shaft protruding about an inch past the faceplate. then I looked at the handle that was left on the outboard side…I wanted to remove that little bastard of a thumbscrew and let the handle float freely, but I knew that the end would split off like before. I had a length of dowel in the shop the correct size, so I cut a length about half again as long as the Veritas handle and bored and screwed two ends in place with 3″ screws and installed it. These have not split off, or screws loosened since I installed it. Oh yeah…trashed the steering wheel knob too!
Then some minor adjustments to compensate for my modifications…To compensate for removing the inboard handle, I made adjustments to allow the right side of the vise to close JUST before the left side to ensure a consistant grip. Then while I had things apart I planed a slight taper on the vise jaw so that the top closed before the bottom for that extra firm hold. After I got things all re-assembled I realized that the screw on the inboard side was the one with the mechanism to allow the jaw to be skewed for angled work (the one I had removed the handle from) so I ripped it all apart AGAIN…and re-assembled with the screws switched side to side and re-installed the handle on that side and removed from the other…Whew!!!
So how does it work? Well, I am pleased with it as it sits and have been for a good while. Much more convenient to use and I no longer contemplate returning to a regular face vise. Not saying you should do this to yours if you have one, but the ideas are yours to steal if you like…
A couple pics (excuse the dust and shavings):