Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ #1:   Are your vises made in the USA?

  • Yes, our vises are made in the USA at our shop facilities in Erie, Pennsylvania with Hard Maple primarily grown in our surrounding area. The lumber is custom sawn and dried by a wood supplier that specializes in large diameter wood stock.  All of our hardware and metal stock is also sourced from domestic suppliers.

FAQ #2:   Why do you make your vise screws, nuts and handles out of hard maple?
  • Hard maple is a dense and close grained hard wood that has incredible shear strength as compared to many other hard woods such as Ash or Beech, which makes it the best choice for this application. 
  • Many of the finest wood work benches made today utilize hard maple and the screw kit complements the work bench perfectly.

FAQ #3:   Is the vise screw made of one piece of wood or two laminated pieces?

  • Our vise screws are made out of one solid piece of hard maple hand selected for this purpose.

FAQ #4:   What is a wood vise "Garter" and what is it for?

  • A garter fixes the wood vise screw hub to the wood vise front jaw "chop" so that it allows the vise jaw to move in or out by turning the screw.  The garter itself can be made of either metal or wood (we use brass and hard maple).  An external garter is composed of 2 semi-circular, half-moon shaped pieces (similar to a large thick washer that is cut in half) that are joined together around the vise screw garter groove to ultimately secure  the screw to the front jaw chop.  An internal garter usually consists of a piece of wood that has a half-circle cutout to match the garter groove machined on the visescrew which is installed in the vise chop with a mortise.

FAQ #5:   Should I install and use an internal or external Garter on my wood vise screw?

  • It depends on what type of vise you are going to build.  External garters are well suited to leg vises and tail vises, where there is no need to remove the garter on the fly.  They are also easier to install and provide an aesthetically pleasing choice.  The 1/4" thick brass is sturdy enough to hold up to clamping or spreading loads, such as when using a tail vise as a spreader for disassembling furniture.
  • Internal garters are usually best for twin-screw vises where you can remove them for clamping angled workpieces.  They can also be used for other types of vises as long as spreading force is kept to a minimum.  There is extra work involved in installing an internal garter as a mortise must be carefully cut to accommodate it.  We do, however, suggest that you don't glue your garter in place to your vise chop just in case you would ever want to disassemble the screw.
  • No garter at all is another option for twin-screw vises, although you will have to pull the vise chop out manually after winding your screws out.  This is featured on the Dominy bench.

FAQ #6:    Can you make vise screws with different garter groove configurations or no garter groove at all?

  • Yes, but it might entail a longer lead time as it will have to be worked into the next available production run.  Please contact us with your requirements by email or phone call.

FAQ #7:   Do I need to finish my wood vise screw or handle?

  • Your vise screw kit will arrive having already been sanded down to 220 grit ready for you to finish as you deem appropriate.  It will also be packed in a sealed poly bag and wrapped in bubble wrap to further protect it during shipping.  If you choose you can sand the hub to a higher grit level, but most will find that the 220 grit is sufficient.
  • If you plan to stain your wood vise screw kit, it is important that you do so prior to applying any final finishing product.
  • For the threaded section of the screw we advise that you use an oil or oil-varnish mix such as what you might finish your workbench with.  We don't recommend any finish that will build up a film, such as polyurethane.  A good option would be to use a danish oil finish such as "Watco" or "Deftoil". 
  • The hub can be completed with whatever finish that you find appropriate.
  • After final finishing, we also recommend that you wax your vise screw and internal nut thread with a good quality wax of some sort (paraffin, beeswax or paste wax) to allow smooth and easy functionality.  A nylon brush can be helpful when putting wax on the threads of the nut.

FAQ #8:   Can I shape and finish the hub of the vise screw myself on a wood lathe?

  • Absolutely, all that you have to do is let us know at the time of order via Email and we will leave the lathe turning stubs on the screw for you to turn and finish the hub to your own specific design.
  • Of course we can't be held responsible for any damage that you may do to your wood vise screw.

FAQ #9: Can I obtain a wood vise screw in a different type of wood other then hard maple?

  • As our research on various wood species indicates, hard maple appears to offer the absolute best balance of properties to make a durable, functional and long lasting wood vise screw.  That said, if you require a different wood species please contact us to discuss your needs and we will do our absolute best to accommodate them.

FAQ #10: Can I substitute a Wagon Vise Screw for a Shoulder Vise Screw and Vice versa on these types of vise installations?

  • Absolutely.  The only actual difference between our wagon vise screw and our shoulder vise screw is that the wagon vise screw is approximately 2 inches longer than the shoulder vise screw.  The Wagon Screw was designed to be longer than the Shoulder Screw mainly to provide additional "travel" to accommodate approximately 8" of distance capacity when using the wagon vise.  Whereas, the Shoulder Screw length was reduced to accommodate approximately 6" of "travel" distance capacity when using the Shoulder vise - so that it wouldn't stick out too far from the bench side.  If you would prefer to have a Shoulder Vise installation that accommodates approximately 8" of "travel" capacity, then feel free to order and install the Wagon Vise kit.  If you prefer to have a Wagon Vise installation that only provides 6" of "travel" distance capacity, then feel free to order and install a Shoulder Vise kit.

FAQ #11:   Do you stock wood vise screws / components or build to order?  How long to ship?

  • Our products are made in production runs and typical turnaround times from order placement to shipment varies.  To see the most current product availability, please go to the Products Tab (or click here). In the rare instance that shipping would exceed this timeframe, you would be notified.

FAQ #12:   I have accidentally chipped my vise screw threads, is the vise screw still functional?

  • It depends on the extent of the screw thread damage as to whether the vise screw will function properly.  Small chips on the thread shouldn't prove any issue as chippage won't affect the overall strength and clamping functionality of the vise screw and is not considered a manufacturing defect.
  • Slight thread chippage over time is a fairly common thing with wood vise screws, however this should not affect the overall integrity of the screw itself.
  • In the event that you need a replacement vise screw, we sell individual screw component parts on our Product page.

FAQ #13:   Can I order a custom wood vise screw or hub design?

  • Custom wood vise screw or hub design orders are possible but we would ask that you contact us via email or phone to discuss your specific design needs.

FAQ #14:   I have an old work bench and the screw or nut is damaged, can you replace it?

  • It depends.  Please contact us via email to discuss your specific wood vise screw or nut replacement needs to determine if we can successfully manufacture a replacement for you.

FAQ #15:    Do you allow ordering and shipping outside of the United States?

  • Yes, simply order your product via our online ordering system and we will ship your order via the United States Postal Service. It simply could not get easier.
  • We have now sold and shipped our Vise Screw products to 6 continents around the globe.  The only one we have not shipped to is Antarctica, but you never know if there is a scientist or a penguin down there that may be building a workbench.  A small sampling of International countries that we have shipped to includes: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom..

FAQ #16:    Does Lake Erie Toolworks charge tax for online purchases?

  • Since Lake Erie Toolworks is located in the US State of Pennsylvania, that is the only US State for which we are required to charge and collect tax.  Otherwise, we do not charge tax for online purchases.

FAQ #17:    What payment methods do you accept for online purchases?

  • Lake Erie Toolworks currently accepts major credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) for payment via our website as well as PayPal.  PayPal transaction processing includes both true PayPal account processing as well as credit card use and settlement via PayPal (Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover).
  • All of our online transactions are processed through Authorize.Net which offers true secure SSL Encrypted E-Commerce Credit Card processing services for Lake Erie Toolworks.  Furthermore, we maintain a paid running subscription with First Data Corporation's - PCI Rapid Comply.  This service ensures that we are fully PCI-DSS compliant for the utmost in credit card processing security and fraud prevention.