Roubo Workbench Build #3: Looking for advice on vices - Also, progress with the top

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Blog entry by Willeh posted 05-14-2013 12:53 AM 3578 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Legs Legs Legs! - Also details on my rip sled Part 3 of Roubo Workbench Build series Part 4: Slowly progressing.. discouraging? »

While i’ve been progressing quite well with the top, i’ve been fighting myself on vice options. Unfortunately, I need to figure out what kind of end vice i’m going to go with before I finish gluing up the top so I don’t limit my options.

I’ve glued up the back half of the top so far, and I really need to figure out the end/tail vice before i really go any further.

Ive been fighting back and forth between two options:

1. Using something like a face vice on the end with a big chop that has two dog holes, and have a set of parallel dog holes about 8 inches apart so that I can plane narrow and wide boards. I like this idea because I can also use the tail vice as a vice for holding work vertically as well as horizontally. I am concerned that using just the front dog hole row will cause the vice to rack pretty badly.

2. The other part of me says to go with a wagon vice. I’ve seen a few executions of this on LumberJocks that have looked pretty good, but i’m not too sure about hardware. I’d love to go with the Benchcrafted, but I just can’t afford the price of it.

As for the front I have a good idea od where I am going with the leg vice. I really love the Maguire Pinless Leg Vice. A combination of a wooden screw vice and a linear bearing shaft seems like a solid combination:

However, they quoted me $410 shipped… Again, more than I’m looking to pay. I was thinking about getting a Lake Erie wooden screw (at $210), and then buying a 30mm precision shaft and linear bearing from an industrial supply shop for about $80.. In a perfect world, that’s what i’d like to do, but more likely i’ll have to go for a metal screw vice for the cost saving (either the Lee Valley at $35 or the LN for $85). Now, what I’d like to know is, what is the difference between the LN and the LV metal screw for the difference in price?

I look forward to your input on vice hardware… any pros or cons or suggestions?

As for progress, I’ve jointed/planed the first two sections of the top (I’m keeping each section under 6” so I can run them over the 6” jointer after they’re glued up, and then glue two sections together under 12” so they can run through the planer (Save a whole lot of time hand planing!)

Section 1 glued up:

Section 2 glued up (section1 in behind):

Sections 1 (After a few passes over the jointer to clean it up) and 2 (Fresh out of the clamps) glued up to see how it is coming along:

Now its decision time, gotta figure out if i’m going with a wagon vice before i glue together that section!

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "

8 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2946 days

#1 posted 05-14-2013 01:11 AM

Here’s a tail vice that won’t break you and it works really well. I was very happy with it when I first built the bench and now almost a year later, I like it even more. May not be your cup of tea but give it a look.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10266 posts in 4200 days

#2 posted 05-14-2013 01:19 AM

... coming along…

... little by little…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Willeh's profile


228 posts in 2487 days

#3 posted 05-14-2013 02:10 AM

Shipwright: That’s a fantastic idea.. Something to play around with and see if I can make it work

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3099 days

#4 posted 05-14-2013 02:50 AM

I used the first option that you mentioned and it works fine—I don’t see any drawbacks, especially since I use the vise for all sorts of stuff. There is some racking, but honestly that isn’t an issue when only using one row of dog holes. That said, I love wagon vises and think they’re pretty sweet.

Link to my bench:

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View RECOBKLYN's profile


3 posts in 1992 days

#5 posted 05-14-2013 12:24 PM

Brandon, what type of vise or vise hardware are you using at the end vise location?
Any end vise with dogs at the ends of the chop like that that I’ve used had pretty major racking issues.
Even a veritas twin screw with rack a little, although not nearly as much as a single screw unit.

Another issue with the ‘face vise as tail vise’ scenario (and this is 100% personal preference on my part), is that when planing faces of boards you end up winding the vise in and out a whole lot more than you would with a tail vise. The reason for this is with a tail vise you typically have 4-5 dog holes spaced pretty closely in the vise chop itself, and dog holes in the bench spaced more reasonably apart. The close spaced holes in the chop let you move dogs around for different length boards (I made a dog for each hole so I can just pop the correct dog up) instead of winding the vise in and out to get the one dog in the right place. For me it’s all about keeping the vise opening as minimal as possible for a more stable planing surface.

If I was forced to use a face vise as a tail vise I would be sure to space my dogs in the benchtop pretty closely (4-5”) and I’d DEFINITELY use quick release vise hardware to cut down on all the winding.

For me personally it’s a tail vise all the way, the LN version has been working very well for me.
It’s reasonable if you just get the hardware for it and make the chop in the shop.

Fairly easy to install as well.

That’s my long winded $0.02!

Looking forward to seeing your finished product!

View Willeh's profile


228 posts in 2487 days

#6 posted 05-14-2013 09:47 PM

Brandon: Thats kind of what I was thinking, but as Recobklyn says, i’m still really concerned with racking..

As i’m keeping the length of bench down to 6’6” due to shop size constraints, I think using a face vice on the end will allow me to still hold a 6 foot board down, but a wagon will probably keep me under 6 feet…

-- Will, Ontario Canada. "I can do fast, cheap and good, but you can only pick two... "

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3099 days

#7 posted 05-15-2013 01:29 AM

I’m using the Large Front Vise from Lee Valley for my tail vise. Like I said, there is racking, but I don’t see why that’s an issue since it still has an incredibly strong hold. So what if the vise chop isn’t parallel to the end of the bench when it’s tightened down—Am I missing something here?

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2287 days

#8 posted 05-15-2013 02:27 PM

I’m envisioning some way of modifying the Lee Valley Tail Vise to be used as a wagon vise. Basically, you don’t use the plate and guide bars at all but connect the green threaded guide to the moveable dog.

If I was doing it, I’d put some sort of dished bearing plate at the end of the screw. You could also email Lee Valley and see if they can sell you just the plain Tail Vise Screw but with that green threaded guide from the full tail vise kit instead of the typical one.

Or you could always just go with the normal tail vise. I used that in my bench love it.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

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