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I find myself heading to the hardware store quite often to make tools from various things throughout the store. I’ve posted a few on my other blogs, but I’ll transfer them over to here when I have the chance.

Here is a fork vise I made that can be held in a regular old bench vise. Pretty simple to make if you have the right supplies and tools. You’ll need a front QR axle. This is where that old rusty front wheel comes in handy!

I have included Plans on the Downloads page


Fork Vise Secure in Bench Vise

Underside of Fork Vise

Underside of Fork Vise

Birds Eye View

Birds Eye View


1- 2″x 2″ steel angle – you’ll need about 85mm, but this exact dimension depends on the cones and locknuts you use.

2- 9/16″x 1-3/8″ “U” Bolts with washer and nuts

1- front quick release axle with skewer

4- front axle cones with the same Outside Diameter (OD) (old pitted cones work best!)

2- front axle locknuts

2- front axle washers


Hack saw or band saw set up to cut steel

Round File to clean up drill holes

Flat file for edges and surfaces

Bench grinder (optional)

Drill with 1/4″ bit meant for steel

Scribe, center punch and counter sink to mark and line up drill holes

Cone wrenches

Box wrenches or ratchet

Tape measure, calipers, or ruler


Disassemble the axle and reassemble putting an extra cone on each side as shown in the photos and plan. Measure the spacing of the exterior faces of the locknuts and maintain 100mm between the two surfaces while maintaining equal axle stubs on each side. Tighten all the pieces against each other on each side. You should now have a front axle with the cones forming a rounded circular groove on each side.

Put the completed axle on one flange of the steel angle. Line up the edge of the angle with one of the exterior cones exterior face. At the other exterior cone, scribe a line on the angle at the cone exterior face. This is where you’ll cut the angle. You want the four cones to make contact with the angle flange, but you do not want the locknut (which has a larger OD) to contact the flange. See the photos and plan. You’ll end up with a piece of steel about 85mm long give or take a few millimeters.

Mark the longitudinal center-line of one of the flanges. Scribe a line parallel to the center-line offset by 3mm away from the perpendicular flange. This is the line your axle will sit on. The 3mm offset is to account for the perpendicular flange. This will make more sense when you place the “U” bolt washers on. There won’t be enough room for the washers unless you do this.

Put the axle on its seat line and center it lengthwise on the angle flange. Mark the location of the two circular grooves on the angle. Scribe lines perpendicular to your axle seat line at these marks. These are drill hole center-lines. Measure the distance between the two prongs on the “U” bolts. Mark the locations of the drill holes on the drill hole center-lines making sure they are centered around the axle seat line.

Punch mark and run a countersink bit at the drill hole locations. Make sure you have at least 8mm of steel around all the holes. Drill the holes and finish all the surfaces with files.

Assemble the tool and mark the “U” bolt prongs for cutting or grinding. (Without doing this, the prongs will be too long and will interfere with putting the tool in the bench vise). Cut the prongs and finish with a file. Reassemble and tighten down the nuts.

If you don’t have cones of the same OD, then you can grind a flat on the larger ones. Don’t bother putting it together without doing this. You’ll just bend the axle when you tighten the nuts.

You’ll find the plans on the page called Downloads. Below is a partial image of the plan. My scanner isn’t big enough for big sheets.

Fork Vise Plan Image


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