Adam Savage's One Day Builds: Workbench Vise Upgrade!

Joylandi 5-Iyn, 2021
One of the biggest upgrades made to Adam's shop over the past year has been the addition of his new workbench, which was made by woodworker and engineer Andrew Klein. And as Adam has used this workbench's numerous features for his builds, he's come up with ideas of his own to make the bench work better for his needs. Today's upgrade is to the bench's vise, giving its handle better ergonomics and a design inspired by the handles on his mill.

Learn more about Adam's workbench here:
Andrew has listed all the elements he used in building Adam's workbench, along with links where to purchase them, here:
Watch Andrew build Adam's bench here:

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Shot by Adam Savage and edited by Joey Fameli

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  • Learn more about Adam's workbench here: Andrew has listed all the elements he used in building Adam's workbench, along with links where to purchase them, here: Watch Andrew build Adam's bench here:

    • @kevin bixler This is what I was thinking as well.

    • Have you considered a wheel with a small turning knob? It wouldn’t stick out as far as a non folding handle but it would be more mechanically reliable and you could offset the wheel inwards toward the bench to account for the knob as well.

    • Working on one's vices is a sign of true maturity. Good job.

    • Adam, I think you will like this (someone named Adam gives R2 some arms and legs):

    • @Josh Gray I don't think Adam's ego needs me giving him props for sub par design. I'm pretty sure he will survive me pointing out a better design. Its called feedback and that's how we improve designs and as a mechanical engineer with over 30 years of design experience I still expect the junior engineers under me to critic and improve my designs as well. If there is a better way to do a design why should one be afraid to learn about it? This is not an art project where the artistic aesthetics are the item's purpose.

  • Couldn’t you put the handles on the stoppers? So they’re normally straight and fold out 90 degrees?

  • I sincerely love to listen to Americans speak about technical stuff. It's just like an neanderthaler promoting the wheel! But hey Adam I do love your workshop!

  • Why didn't you just use roll pins instead of set screws for the slot?

  • My first thought at about 5 minutes in is, why not have the handle stick out the end of the rod? Then you can fold it straight or to the side. Might still want the slot so you can reliably fold the handle instead of rotating the body of the rod 'til the fold matches your grip. Of course, there's the question of total length, since the turning rods are sized for overall convenience, not merely aesthetic. Guess I'll watch the rest of the video and see how Adam's design turned out.

  • Adam starts talking about fold-down handles... I go: "OH, he's going to mount handwheels!" Uhhh; wrong... but I do kinda wonder why?

  • Just out of curiosity, why not put the handle on the end of the tube so that it's "collapsed" when it's straight and ready for use at 90°?

  • I wonder why he didn’t just put a bit of plastic or rubber in the end so it didn’t slam down on the set screw and not have to worry about it.

  • It will always amaze me that Adam doesn’t switch to metric. I grew up with imperial just like every other American but it’s still easier to measure and compare and size things in metric rather than fractions.

  • I wonder how long until Adam does install an overhead crane in his shop. 😂

  • I just realized how much I avoid big vises because of how many times I’ve smashed that stupid handle into my hand when the pipe drops.

  • Maybe I'm missing something in the original deign of the handles, but if I was to attack the same problem, those collapsible handles would be mounted directly into the ENDS of the tubes. To use, fold them over, and to collapse them, the stick straight out the end of the tubes. No need for that lump of handle hanging off the front of the tube.

  • Adam has one of the best concentration faces i've ever seen xD You can tell he's 100% invested in what he does

  • Speed is important if you are holding something precariously heavy in the other hand.

  • Why not just tap the handle into the end cap?

  • This is why they make vices with a quick release of the screw so the vice face can slide in and out instantly. You push the vice to the workpiece, let go of the quick-release lever and do a quarter turn or so to clamp the piece in place.

  • Google search for images of "mini benches for workbench" Like Adam, I need to get close to some things I am working on. Increasing the height of the standard workbench by 6 inches or so with a one or two-foot-long stand (I don't need another vice, I have plenty :), you can get up close and personal with what you are working on. Mine is a 1 1/2 inch slab of oak 10 inches long and 6 inches wide. Two 1 1/2 inch square 6-inch long hardwood spacers are screwed to it so the 10-inch end is solid wood on both sides. The final piece is a 3/4 inch piece of sacrificial pine attached to the spacers. I can clamp the oak or pine to my table and have a rock-solid workspace. The 4-inch tall work surface is its normal mode. Set up on the 6-inch edge, I have a piece of cherry with another short 1 1/2 inch square that slides into the gap between the spacers to make a 4 inch by 10 inch by 7 inch platform for really close work. 10 inches standing straight up is when I am working on something while standing and can be clamped as well. Add a good workbench swinging arm magnifying lens and light combo, I can work on the smallest things and do precise work.

  • Could you not find a dog-point set screw in the correct size?

  • I think Adam got self-conscious about saying how pleased he is and has reverted to saying to happy how he is instead

  • I originally thought Adam was going to add the collapsing handle in-line with the existing one by drilling out a cavity so it would fold out to the side and be within the width of the original handle when it's put away. The folding along side still looks great!

    • I was thinking the exact same thing: It would've had an even lower profile!

  • Adam, why didn't you tap a hole on the end of the handle pipe and attach the collapsable handle to the end of this, So when it is upright, it is linear with the pipe, and when you want to rotate, you 'collapse' the handle to 90 degrees, which now sticks away from the work bench.

  • Ironic that your Vices are your Vices... But not anymore ! :-)

  • How sturdy is that folding joint on the handle?

  • I took my ratchet wrench apart, but now I can’t put it back together. Angle grinders aren’t reassembly friendly.

  • cutting notches in wide flat bar. big time clamping horizontal and vertical. problam solved. Nice work, Some woodworking vices have a release lever to open the half nut .

  • Is that Mill getting shinier ?

  • The order of operations , caught me out with as a novice , pipe bender. did the inside sharp bends first and couldnt fit to do the second bends. had to remake work outside in.

  • I think your next mod is the flip out handle incorporated in the main pipe handle , similar to a breaker bar head....just thinking out loud

  • Chinese manufacturing plants watching Adam's videos: "Write that down! Write that down!" Efficiency is key

  • Am awesome mod to an already awsome bench. I immediately started thinking of how i could improve it. Where do i stop? When the vice handle costs a good part of the bench? Aaaaarrrgggh! Help!😀

  • *Comes for the project, stays for the stories* Love the channel! Been a big fan of yours for years! Loved watching Myth busters on tv as a teenager, now as an adult I come to this channel for ideas, Thank you Adam! You are amazing!

  • Gosh darn it, Adam! I was trying to type "choke" while watching you mess with the lathe and couldn't figure out why I kept typing "chuck"!

  • Nice build! Alternatives and adjustments that I personally would like: 1) An in-line handle that can fold out perpendicular (rather than stowing off to the side, it just folds out straight in line with the main handle rod). 2) A detent (spring or whatever) so that when the handle is fully extended and vertical it won't slide down on its own.

  • jesus.. when he is talking about the sizing for the milling of the set screw, you really realize how much easier metric is.... 200th of inches? gahh, millimeters are just so much easier.

    • Americans, especially those of us that have engineering backgrounds, have this strange habit of jumping to metric and back again at any point when doing precise measurements. Inches and centimeters, ounces and liters, meters and yards, they can all get used at some point during an engineering build.

  • Brilliant mod! To up your handle game, change the folding handle position so in the 'straight' / 'unfolded' orientation; the addon handle is at the end of the sliding bar. Then you can fold it 90° to the overall bar to the speed mode. Then straighten out the end cap when you are done. This should require 2x of these special handles but I think it will look a lot better (there still needs to be a stop which could be a machined lip.

  • Why not just put a 90 degree turn on the slot at the far end, and put the handle attached directly to the rod so you swing out on the right angle slot rather than doing the folding handle? It'd suit the handle more and remove the weaker folding mechanism whilst still keeping it out of the way

  • Tube not pipe. There, I said it.

  • I must say this is one of the only times I have immediately thought there are much better ways of accomplishing what he wants to do. Great video, but overly complex. One needs only to look at the mill and it's cranks for inspiration.

  • How about modifying the set screw with a spring loaded ball bearing and adding a couple of detents in the slot?

  • Well, a wood handle would be a whole lot simpler and take about 15 minutes. Why do you need a steel handle? 10,000 pounds of clamping force?

  • Link to "folding handles"?

  • Gearing is surely for torque and not speed

  • You should try Stodoys. You can try It and get your money back if you don't like it

  • I think it would make more sense for the folding handle to be screwed into the end of the pipe and then be "folded" when you want to use it and merely be used as an extension to the existing pipe. But I do understand where you want the crank to be fixed with a flat edge. This would allow you to have a folding crank on each end of the pipe.

  • As someone with nerve damage in my hands, the idea of gripping such a small handle and spinning it sounds horrifying.

  • I had no idea you had such an insane shop! Nicely done, Adam 👍

  • This may be an obvious questoin, but that seems like a lot of metal dust and vapor coming off the parts, why aren't you wearing any breathing protection?

  • made me think of the ball handles on steering wheels like this:

  • Skip the milled slot and the folding handle and let the thing rotate out of the way.

  • Sure hope Adam's tendon holds up. My pops had his let go and he was down for months. After surgery he couldn't lift two pounds. We used to laugh at him because he had to use a 3lb weight starting the rehabilitation process.

  • I’m curious about what other design ideas were considered for this project? Because in my mind with the handle chosen it seems that a simpler idea is to just mount it to the end of the existing bar so that when not in use there is nothing sticking out at all. Maybe that is too simple and would not make for much of a video.

  • Should add some nitrous to the bench... and gps....and stickers

  • I have a 1920's Samsonian ' Perfect ' quick release vice.....every other vice i have is slow and laborious compared to it.

    • Yeah, just made that comment above. Quick-release vices are the way to go.

  • I don't know if I would've put my hand that close to the cutting tool @ 9:50

  • I love the style and function of this vice and would love one in my shop, but what it desperately needs (for me) is a quick release function. The dual speed doesn’t quite do it - I thought that was going to be the mod you were going for at the start.

  • I realize the point is to make something new and possibly teach others in the process, but I can't help but ask... Why didn't you just replace it with a wheel and attach the collapsible handle?

  • Kinda surprised that Adam didn't put the handle on the end of the rod so that it folded in-line with it; it would be even less proud of the bench.

  • Brilliant

  • Spends two hours to save two seconds. Efficiency! Seriously though, great idea and fun project.

  • The OCD in me wants Adam to clock the gears so the handle rest vertically when fully closed. Great mod Adam!

    • Likely a pointless endeavor, since it's a 2-speed vice. Changing gears will mess up the calibration of that alignment.

  • Ironic that Adam's impatience ends up costing him more time than if he'd just taken time to do things right the first time.

  • This is a fantastic mod, thank you for sharing it!

    • You gotta sell this mod as an option - "Twin Turbo Vice w/ Savage Handle"

    • Andy, I thought you already built and toyed with selling an alt handle like the one Adam built?

    • I can see it now the Andrew Klein's Savage Vice

    • Ikr, I really want this for my workshop! Starting to set up my own blacksmith shop/workshop and I have been getting great ideas from him and others. UZfire is an amazing thing. =P

    • The GOAT of benches has spokith

  • Yup, YT has been messing around with audio volume. Four videos in a row, low volume, so i maxed the bar, then this one bam nearly blew my ears out. I doubt Adam's editor would have different audio levels between productions that are so close together.

  • I know you said you got moving lathe chucks down to a minimum of movement, but you still should consider getting something like a sky hook. It's very compact, certainly not like a gantry or ceiling chainfall or something. You've only got one back, Adam

  • I've been taking things apart and putting them back together longer than I remember having things to take apart and put back together. I will make sure my children do the same.

  • What is that black band on Adam’s arm?

  • "I don't have all second!" Spends all of those built up seconds at once to get rid of em. Love it. 💘

  • I love what you said about taking your tools apart- basically every tool I own, with the exception of simple things like screwdrivers etc, are all secondhand either from craigslist or from digging them up half burried where they were left a century ago when lineshaft tools started to fall out of favor. everything I use Ive gone through by hand, taking things apart down to the smallest screw to clean the rust off and get it running like new. I feel like that gives me a much better relationship with my tools as when something starts going wrong I can usually tell immediately what and where the trouble is. Plus it helps that im really not a fan of proprietary parts and so my things are all able to be repaired with simple parts from any hardware store.

  • The new handle looks a little flimsy for my taste - I hope it holds up.

  • Andrew has already created an attachment for his vises to make it easier to turn

  • Take it apart... put it back together... You ROCK Adam ! ;-)

  • "lifetime bench" probably take most people a lifetime to afford one >.>

  • When he showed off the handle on the mill I half expected him to describe it as the crotchinator

  • Vices are normally set up with a worm gear for a reason; a worm gear can drive the wheel but the wheel can't drive the worm.

  • why not put the collapsing handle into the end of the existing handle? then it folds to be in-line with the existing handle, you don't care if it spins (it may even be a feature), and it's a simpler solution...

  • The delicious sail actually shade because cracker similarly change unto a sore font. high-pitched, happy expert

  • Adam's infectious joy for making things has gotten me through this pandemic. And also inspired me to make my own maker's space in my garage.

  • Another option that would be a cleaner design would have been to have the handle be a folding end with spinning handle. And when not in use it would look and function as it did originally. The benefit would be when you don't want to use the handle it will function as a continuous bar as before. When you want the speed, the end would bend over on a ratchet. The end portion would spin and optionally you could add knurling to the grip or add a soft rubber or leather cover. I could draw a design if you'd like to have a better idea what I mean. But a simplified explanation would be to imagine that instead of tapping the side of the bar as you did, you instead attached it to the very end of the bar.

  • I thought he'd make a collapsible handle from another bar that's 1/3-1/4 of the bar, with some locking/spring mechanism to keep it up. there's many ways to cook an egg I guess..

  • You can always use 3 set screws or 3 set screws and 2 keys

    • Using 2 setscrews to lock the keys in place and having it slide on hardened keys instead of grinding down hardened set screws

  • What is that mangled looking rod at 14:56

  • Adam, why don't you put the handle with the TURNING knob directly into the end of the old handle, showing into the same direction of it, just to be rightangled in case of use? Then you could spare the handle from being fixed in one dimension as well...😉

  • So... how long til he dings his leg on it?

  • 14:54 nice beats here

  • 7:23 yes, it's called a TUBAL-CRANE :)

  • Extended tip set screws is what Adam essentially made himself. If he ever needs to replace it with one that is harder, they sell exactly what he made in various grades of steel, including stainless.

  • Why not a wheel?

  • glad you had fun playing with your shaft all day! lmao

    • but fr you always make our days better Adam I watch as many vids as I can. Ive seen a butt load of Myth busters aswell. if.. you do see this. Could you do a one day build on a instrument? I play and id like to see your take on one. maybe you enter it into crimson guitars build off competitions

  • Toys are the tools you use to be prepared to use the tools you use to express yourself later in life.

  • Folding winch handle from a sailboat! They're great.

  • Just imagine if physical tools had licenses on them like proprietary software...

  • Think id have left them longer. Adam you can get ball plunger set screws should help if it ever binds any..Also they have them with brass tips n nylon. In the shape you made the screws.

  • Why didn't you just tap the end caps? And put a folding handle on each end. Could be left straight till needed, then fold to use.

  • What was the song around 20 minutes

  • I remember when this bench showed up. My first thought was I'd put a knuckle buster like a truckers steering wheel on the vice handle!

  • Damn i just want to be able to build and fix random stuff like Adam

  • I haven't made it through the full video yet, but I just heard you mention the set screw. I know what you're planning to use that for, but I would like to offer an alternate idea: A spring-loaded pin and drilled holes. You're not putting that much force on that joint really, so you could make it fixed and quick-adjustable. :) Edit: Maybe do a slot with detent holes on the other side and drill and tap for the flip handle. Something to offer flexibility.

  • ...I'm making my first ever workbench this weekend, I've never owned one before • beyond excited to see what I come up with #rookie

  • Sorry this is such a crap upgrade , doing for doing sake is a waste of energy .

    • @Paul Frederick i think the fact that is was a present is what annoyed me ..also he hasn't bastardized his lathe . Just my opinion though .

    • I have to agree with you. There's better solutions. It is interesting to see the thought process though.

  • Will you change the handles on your milling machine?