Benchvise Handle Repair

The problem. The end knobs have come off several times.

The problem. The end knobs have come off several times.

Over the years the knobs on the ends of my benchvise handles have come loose several times. They are held on with fluted dowels glued into the handle and the knob. Re-gluing didn’t last long so I looked for another fix. The logical solution, or so I thought, was to pin the dowel with a 1/8″ dowel in a cross drilled hole. This worked very well for a long time. Then one day the fluted dowel broke at the 1/8″ pin location, the weakest point. Time for yet another repair.

Repairing this handle would be a lot of work. The broken fluted dowel would have to be drilled out of the handle and the knob and a new dowel glued and pinned in place. And after all this work the handle would be no stronger than before.

The fix. A 3/8" lag screw was used to hold the knob on a new maple handle.

The fix. A 3/8″ lag screw was used to hold the knob on a new maple handle.

A new solution to the problem had to be found. First I thought of using a wooden threaded dowel to hold the knob on the handle. In theory this would have been a good fix. In practice I knew it would not work. I wanted to make a new handle and knob out of hard maple for durability. To use a threaded dowel to hold the knob on would require tapping blind holes in endgrain maple. By previous experience I knew this would not work with the tools I had so I leaned on my many years of metal working experience and came up with a quick, easy solution.

The pieces that were to be used for the new handle and knob were prepared. The exact center was marked on each end. One end of each piece was center drilled for the lathe drive center and the other end was drilled for the lag screw threads. A 3/8″ hex head steel lag screw was used to thread the hole in the new handle blank and the new knob blank. Then I cut the head off of the 3/8″ steel lag bolt and used a hacksaw to cut a screwdriver slot in the end to facilitate driving it deeply into the handle. As can be seen in the above photo the new knob blank can now be screwed tightly to the new handle blank.

The new handle being turned in the lathe.

The new handle being turned in the lathe.

 

Now the new handle with integral knob and the new removable knob are turned to finished dimensions and sanded smooth in preparation for finishing.

The new handle/knob assembly temporarily mounted on the vise.

The new handle/knob assembly temporarily mounted on the vise.

After turning and sanding the new handle was trial fitted to the vise. Rubber O-rings were used to dampen the shock of the knobs hitting the steel vise fitting. Now all that is needed is some finish. If used unfinished the handle will look grimy in short order. I don’t like this look so I will put several coats of my favorite varnish on it and reinstall the handle permanently. The varnish will keep the new handle looking good for years to come and I think the new attachment method will outlast me.

As always, thank you for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment if you like.

 

 

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About R & B ENTERPRISES

Professional furniture maker and restorer. Dealer and collector of vintage and antique woodworking tools.
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6 Responses to Benchvise Handle Repair

  1. dowel pins says:

    Nice technique for handle repair and its home made so anyone can easily repair the handle.

  2. Bogdan says:

    Cool. Great thanks for this technique

  3. Rick says:

    Can you make me one with a 7/8″ diameter shaft? Like you I don’t like dirty wood on my bench but that’s only eclipsed by having a pipe handle in my vise. I don’t have a lathe.

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