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Thread: Building a Saw Vise? One Post or Two? How Long?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Boulder, CO

    Building a Saw Vise? One Post or Two? How Long?

    I'm at the point where I need to start storing my saws with a bit more care than laying them in a pile on top of my tool chest. So I'm planning on building a sawtill.

    But before that I'd like to sharpen them, which means building a saw vise. Does anyone have a design they particularly like?
    It seems like the metal saw vises and some of the wooden ones have single beam in the middle where as most of the wooden designs I've seen seem to have two posts for more clamping force?

    Second question, is it worth it to build a full 26" vise or is this overkill? Build two vises, one for long panel saw, one for short/medium?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Fairbanks AK
    I built the till first so when I got around to sharpening them they would have a safe place to be sharp and safe. :smiley:

    I use a 2x2 about 40 inches long with a 32 inch kerf in it. I did put a chamfer on a couple corners so I could get the saw low in the wood but still get the file to the gullets. Less squeaky that way.

    Secure the 2x2 with the saw in it with any old bench vise. I do sometimes clamp the far end of the 2x2 away from the vise with an F clamp across the bench top.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Seems to me Lie-Nielsen has a YouTube video that shows the wooden versions they use in production. Here’s a tutorial on how to build one:
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Cockeysville, Md
    I built mine 26" from scraps. The jaws are a piece of cherry that was bowed pretty good which makes it perfect for this.

    The significant problems we encounter cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

    The penalty for inaccuracy is more work

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    Roy Underhill had an episode, about building a portable saw vise....I'd have to go and look up the episode number...."Swinging Saw Vise?"

    Me? I have an old wentworth no. 1 saw vise...
    saw vise.JPG

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    I've never used a wooden saw vise, but can tell you for a fact that mass, and rigidity make a big difference. I used an old Stearns for 40 years before I found a longer one from Lee at The Best Things. The larger one has no name on it, and even Lee had never seen one before. It's one of those things where you think what you have is just fine, until you get something to serve the same purpose, and it ends up being Way better.

    With the Stearns, I had to move a 26" handsaw twice, and with the larger one, only once. Less moving the saw is better.

    I've been looking for just the vise part to an Acme for 20 years, but never found one that I can afford.

    I think after using these that I would never be satisfied with a wooden one.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    If you PM me with your email address, I will send you some plans. One of my favorites was from a Lee Valley post. Paul Sellers had a very simple saw vise, but I do not have a copy of his plans. The advantage of his was that there was very little to it, but I have forgotten the details.

    You can also email me to andrew (or andy) at

    I do get a lot of email so sometimes I miss one

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    West Tennessee
    I'll probably end up with a nice metal one, when found ... in the interim, I built one to use in my bench end vise. My design is bits & pieces extracted from attributes I liked gleaned from many pics of others. This one uses several scraps of wood and the cam; I'm still working on the locking flat, but its close.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Don Coffman; 05-11-2019 at 9:57 AM. Reason: Attached thumnails?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Sebastopol, California
    I've noticed that the jaws on my metal saw vise curve slightly, so they close at the ends first and then in the middle. This should ensure that the sawplate is held over the full length of the jaws. It would be hard (not impossible, just hard) to get that sophisticated with a wood jaw, so posts would make sense on a vise made from wood.

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