A year ago I solicited your feedback on which vise I should use for the leg vise on my bench. The only option that seemed viable as a result of your feedback was the big honkin’ wooden screw that I got off of eBay for $10. The only problem was that it looked like it was in pretty bad shape. I decided that while I wait to get the lumber on my bench, I’ll see if I can’t replace the rotting head on the screw. I’ve ordered a 1 1/2″ threading tap and die set, so if I totally botch this job I can just chuck it and make my own screw. But since I have this one (which is just over 2″), I may as well see if I can make it work. So here’s what I have to work with, the “before” shot:

Pretty rough stuff there. So the first thing to do was to trim the head down to the diameter of the main shaft. I sharpened my newly-acquired hatchet and took to it.

Whip out the trusty drawknife, and with some creative planing stopping I manage to produce something roughly cylindrical and close to the right diameter.

Now I’m not sure if I need to cut any of the top of the head off. I think the shaft will be tenoned and pinned into the new head, but I’m not sure yet about dimensions. But I thought that that hole would be a liability; I don’t think I want to use the current hole as is, even if there is a little bit of new wood around it. So I decided I will put the new hole in perpendicular to the old one. But first, to fill that hole. So I got some of the wood I recently found in our neighborhood, and with hatchet and drawknife got an okay-dimensioned peg to fill that hole. I put the grain perpendicular to the direction of the new hole; seemed better that way.

After the glue dried, I trimmed the peg and it looks like a decent enough fit! Next I’ll laminate the block for the new head. I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m having fun!