The Leg Vice – Simple & Heavy Duty

by | Aug 24, 2012 | 9 comments

Leg Vice (De-)Evolution

I’ve spent a lot of time lately developing Crosses and Shafts for a pin less leg vice. So it’s been easy for me to loose sight of just how good the simple original really is.

This traditional vice has always been one of my favourite types of face vice. Mainly because no matter what I threw at it, the job would be done, and clamped ten times as strong as I would ever need.

Once I began to sell workbenches, I wanted to recommend traditional forms of work-holding. I felt that there’d be some persuasion needed to encourage others to choose this particular historic relic, over the modern faces vices they’re used to.

Perceived as a hassle to use; with it’s parallel guide and pin, the humble leg vice needed a make over. We took it through several stages of development, and the current ‘Shaft System’ is certainly winning people around.

Back To Tradition

Today though, I fitted a leg vice in a way that I hadn’t attempted in quite some time. I went back to tradition and used just a simple parallel guide and that unsung hero, the ’pin’.
I had expected this leg vice to disappoint, but instead it made me question just why I needed to alter it in the first place!

Ok, so the shaft does make the vice super smooth and pin less, but for something so humble, today’s leg vice really did work a treat. I would certainly advice anyone who thinks that building with a ‘pinless’ leg vice is a touch on the expensive side, not to dismiss this vice in its original and simple form!
Leg vice, with parallel guide
P.S I’m being completely honest here. So I can’t avoid adding that a large diameter wooden screw, really is in a league of its own within any vice. If you do feel like splashing out with your leg vice, sod the pinless systems and opt for a wooden screw!

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About Richard Maguire

About Richard Maguire

As a professional hand tool woodworker, Richard found hand tools to be the far more efficient solution for a one man workshop. Richard runs 'The English Woodworker' as an online resource and video education for those looking for a fuss free approach to building fine furniture by hand. Learn More About Richard & The English Woodworker.


  1. david barron

    I couldn’t agree more. The wooden screw feels nice, looks good and grips like a lion. All the best, David.

  2. Hans Hazendonk

    Dear woodworker,

    I like this vice, and would like to have it on the workbench I’m building right now. So is there any chance you could send me information about installation/building this vice please?

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind regards,
    Haasie (Netherlands)

  3. warren williamson

    where can i buy this leg vice ?

    • peter miller

      make it yourself. Easy and very satisfying.

  4. Kenneth Parker

    I am building a work bench now an would like to have more info on
    Humble leg visr

  5. Ocelot

    Looking at that picture of the leg vice, I wonder if a ratchet at the bottom could replace the adjusting pin? A hinged, toothed arm that you can reset simply by lifting with your foot to adjust the distance.

  6. Darrell Stone

    Please do a video build of this workbench. It is just what’s needed for a limited space workshop.

  7. René L TOrres M

    I like your comment about this traditional leg vice ,I have metal screw kit that I acquire 40 years ago and used in my mechanic shop and intent to use it on a wood workbench,I will appreciate if I can get some help from you to hhow to go about building one.

    Thanks René

  8. Brad Ansley

    I use a leg vice just like this for 11 years as a joiner at Derecktor Yachts in NY. I miss it every day. The pin system works perfectly.


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