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View Ben's profile

Wagon vise vs. tail vise

by Ben
posted 11-15-2016 10:39 PM


38 replies so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 727 days


#1 posted 11-15-2016 11:05 PM


Hoping some of you can weigh in on the pros/cons of each and what you personally use and why.

I prefer the looks of the traditional tail vise, and I like the open jaw it creates.

But I m wondering – can the throat of a wagon vise function like a moxon vise for dovetails? For clamping a board with the end grain facing up?

Thanks

- Ben

Mine cannot …
 

 

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

9419 posts in 2371 days


#2 posted 11-15-2016 11:21 PM

Ben it can hold boards for dovetailing/endgrain up, if you build it large enough. Mine can, though I used it that way to try it out before, I’ve got a bench-top-moxon I prefer instead (gets them up a little higher)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4887 posts in 2430 days


#3 posted 11-16-2016 12:06 AM

I have a wagon vise like Mos. I can put narrow drawer sides in the opening for dovetails. I can also put them in my leg vise which is what I usually do. I recently built a Moxon vise and here’s why. My bench top is 32” high and that is the perfect height for me for planing. But for cutting dovetails I prefer to raise the work up a few inches and that is what my Moxon vise does is bring the work up to 36” from the floor a more comfortable height for cutting dovetails.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Ben's profile

Ben

381 posts in 2936 days


#4 posted 11-16-2016 12:55 AM

Thanks, and nice benches fellas.
Mos, are you happy with yours, and glad you went with round dogs? What kind of hardware/screw do you have on yours?

I think I’m leaning towards the wagon vise, not so much for dovetailing, but to avoid sagging in tail vise, and a more usable corner of the bench top.

I’m not crazy about the aesthetics of the BC handwheels (for my traditionally-styled bench). Would love to find a way to put a custom forged iron handle on modern hardware with steel screw. Any of you guys do this?

Thanks

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

9419 posts in 2371 days


#5 posted 11-16-2016 01:57 AM

I made a wooden screw using a wood threading kit http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/12T17/woodthreading-kit-112-x-6-tpi.aspx

I am still happy with my wagon vise, and the round dogs are a lot easier to install (just drill some holes once the bench is done). It also means I can take a dog out and use that hole with my hold fasts if I need to, but that doesn’t happen very frequently.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1287 posts in 1753 days


#6 posted 11-16-2016 09:26 AM

The tail vise is very versatile, my face vise very seldom even gets a look in.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

5812 posts in 1218 days


#7 posted 11-16-2016 10:28 AM

Why not combine the two? That would eliminate sagging in the tail vise and add some functionality to the wagon.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Ben's profile

Ben

381 posts in 2936 days


#8 posted 11-16-2016 12:03 PM

Texcaster – that’s pretty sweet, and what a cool looking shop!
Where did you get that cool iron hardware for the tail vise?

And Hokie, what do you mean exactly by combining the two?

Thanks.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

5812 posts in 1218 days


#9 posted 11-16-2016 02:16 PM



And Hokie, what do you mean exactly by combining the two?

Thanks.

- Ben

I’m thinking like a traditional tail vise like Texcaster’s but instead of having it go all the way to the front of the bench, have the “L” section captured in the benchtop like a wagon vise. Then you can use guides on both sides of the “L” which would go a long way to preventing sagging and you’d still have the front corner of the bench present.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View WillliamMSP's profile

WillliamMSP

1084 posts in 1683 days


#10 posted 11-16-2016 02:33 PM



The tail vise is very versatile, my face vise very seldom even gets a look in.


- Texcaster

Can we talk about the raven, instead?! Corvids are so damn cool – I’m envious of anyone with a raven friend.

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

3033 posts in 1560 days


#11 posted 11-16-2016 02:35 PM

Texcaster illustrates a major advantage of traditional tailvise.

IME nothing beats this vise + a bench slave for tuning up drawers.

Whats a bench slave? Here ya go:

Sagging is definitely the big issue. To be expected. How many tail vises will you ever build in your lifetime? Because of this, I would recommend either the tail vise or sliding tail vise hardware kits from Lee Valley.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1287 posts in 1753 days


#12 posted 11-16-2016 09:56 PM

Texcaster – that’s pretty sweet, and what a cool looking shop!
Where did you get that cool iron hardware for the tail vise?

And Hokie, what do you mean exactly by combining the two?

Thanks.

Cheers Ben, the screw is vintage and came from a blacksmith stump/leg vise.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1287 posts in 1753 days


#13 posted 11-16-2016 10:12 PM

I m thinking like a traditional tail vise like Texcaster s but instead of having it go all the way to the front of the bench, have the “L” section captured in the benchtop like a wagon vise. Then you can use guides on both sides of the “L” which would go a long way to preventing sagging and you d still have the front corner of the bench present.

- HokieKen

Ken, I built a bench like the one you suggest and was happy with it for years. It was only meant to be temporary. Funnily enough, an image of it turned up on a search for “sagging tail vises”. The link discusses improvements.

http://lumberjocks.com/Texcaster/blog/41409

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1287 posts in 1753 days


#14 posted 11-16-2016 10:25 PM

Can we talk about the raven, instead?! Corvids are so damn cool – I m envious of anyone with a raven friend.

- WillliamMSP

William, the Austarlian Magpies and Butcher Birds are genus Cracticus. Both are very friendly and always around with a bit of encouragment. My blogs are brimming with both.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_magpie

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1287 posts in 1753 days


#15 posted 11-16-2016 10:41 PM

I’m having trouble getting this maggie into the above post. I’ll try again later.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

5812 posts in 1218 days


#16 posted 11-16-2016 10:49 PM

Yeah, that’s it Texcaster! I did an image search earlier and couldn’t find an example. I knew it couldn’t be a new idea. I like it! Could the screw and the backside guide be moved closer to the dogs to give more clamping capacity on the back end you think?

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

5812 posts in 1218 days


#17 posted 11-16-2016 10:52 PM

Sorry Tex I guess I shoulda read the thread before posting. I see now you recommended that very thing, albeit for different reasons:-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1287 posts in 1753 days


#18 posted 11-17-2016 06:17 AM


I m having trouble getting this maggie into the above post. I ll try again later.

- Texcaster

Still not working.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View ADN's profile

ADN

193 posts in 692 days


#19 posted 11-19-2016 01:34 AM

Went with the Lie Nielsen on mine after almost using a Benchcrafted wagon vise, and boy I’m very pleased with it.

Harder to install and that’s what made me almost choose the wagon vise, and after using the LN tail vise I would never recommend a wagon vise, that’s how much I like it. To me it was no harder to install than my Benchcrafted Crisscross Leg vise….

Regards,
Andy
Mos Maiorum

-- mos maiorum

View simmo's profile

simmo

69 posts in 3551 days


#20 posted 11-19-2016 09:24 PM

I made my wagon vise from the workings of a bog standard car scissor jack , the travelling nut retain a part of one of the scissor, small piece of steel welded to front of it to form a socket for a wooden dog, and a small bit welded to the back to form a stop to stop it at the right angle, works a treat, perusal of scissor jack wil reveal all,it folds down below the bench top and the slot filled with a piece of oak when not in use, I don’t have dog holes in the bench top , I use a couple of bits of wood glued ,screwed into a L shape to hold in the front vice, these are quickly and easily made to suit, infinitely adjustable within the bench confines.
Chris

View Miataguy's profile

Miataguy

142 posts in 1355 days


#21 posted 12-21-2016 08:24 PM


Hoping some of you can weigh in on the pros/cons of each and what you personally use and why.

I prefer the looks of the traditional tail vise, and I like the open jaw it creates.

But I m wondering – can the throat of a wagon vise function like a moxon vise for dovetails? For clamping a board with the end grain facing up?

Thanks

- Ben

Mine cannot …
 

 

- Ron Aylor

I love the look of a well used work bench….!

View Miataguy's profile

Miataguy

142 posts in 1355 days


#22 posted 12-21-2016 08:25 PM



Went with the Lie Nielsen on mine after almost using a Benchcrafted wagon vise, and boy I m very pleased with it.

Harder to install and that s what made me almost choose the wagon vise, and after using the LN tail vise I would never recommend a wagon vise, that s how much I like it. To me it was no harder to install than my Benchcrafted Crisscross Leg vise….

Regards,
Andy
Mos Maiorum

- ADN

This is really interesting to know, getting ready to build another bench and was almost certainly going to use a wagon vise…may ahve to re think this….LN does look to ahve one sweet piece…IIRC it is also cheaper than the Bench-crafted piece…

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

111 posts in 595 days


#23 posted 12-26-2016 09:11 PM

I don’t understand why I keep reading that traditional tail vices sag. I built the Tage Frid bench with a trditional tail vice as a beginning project about 35 year ago. While I have had problems with the shoulder vice, the tail vice is as square today as when I built it. What causes these to sag?

I am beginning to think about a new bench and see that there has been a lot of new vices on the market now. I don’t know whether to rebuild with the traditional screws I used 35 years ago, or go to a wagon vice with, perhaps the Hovarter hardware.

Michael

-- michael

View Ben's profile

Ben

381 posts in 2936 days


#24 posted 12-26-2016 09:14 PM

Yea, maybe the sagging is a non-issue. However, I really like the wagon vise. I like that no floor space is required outboard of the handle, like there is with a tail vise. I also like the ability to lean on/work on that corner of the bench and not worry about damaging anything.

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

111 posts in 595 days


#25 posted 12-27-2016 03:22 PM

I am late to this discussion, in fact I just found lumberjacks when searching, “tail vice vs wagon vice.”

The L-N tail vice hardware certainly looks impressive but $375+ is a swallow, considering that I could buy a good, traditional screw from Veritas for $40. If it saved a lot of work that would help but the installation looks almost as complicated as a traditional tail vice construction. It would be interesting to me to read the experience of someone who has built & used both.

Michael

-- michael

View ADN's profile

ADN

193 posts in 692 days


#26 posted 12-27-2016 03:55 PM

With the new LN tail vise design there are no sagging issues and don’t see how one could damage it by leaning a project on it, the LN rides on steel rails.

Can only see 2 real draw backs to the LN tail vise:

1. The 8 -9 inches it takes up when fully extended
2. It’s harder to make/install (having done both, a wagon and a tail, I can confirm this)

However the functionality is fantastic, just had a 14 ft barn door in mine, in one position the tail vise supported the whole weight of the door!

Will agree that there are ways to do most things without a tail vise, but there are ways to do them without any type of screw vise, just look at the Nicholson style without any type of screw vise….

Having installed/used both BC Wagon and LN Tail, I will never go back to a wagon vise again.

Regards,
Andy

-- mos maiorum

View Mengtian's profile

Mengtian

12 posts in 245 days


#27 posted 01-07-2018 12:09 AM

I am building my new bench and I also am not sure (tail or wagon). Does anyone have thoughts on either of these two wagon vises? The Haverton looks appealing because of the quick locking function

Haverton Wagon Vise
https://www.hovartercustomvise.com/product/vx20w-wagon-vise-hardware-kit/

Lake Erie Tool Works
https://www.lakeerietoolworks.com/collections/wooden-wagon-vise-screw-kits

BTW: sorry for resurrecting this.

View Ben's profile

Ben

381 posts in 2936 days


#28 posted 01-07-2018 12:22 AM

Hi Mengtian,

I went with the Hovarter wagon vise. Been using it for a good year now and like it a lot.
I don’t have anything to compare it to, though. I use the vise just about every day and it’s done everything I’ve needed it to.
99% of the time I use it to hold a board between dogs, and every one in awhile to hold a board end grain up inside the slot.

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

111 posts in 595 days


#29 posted 01-07-2018 01:04 PM

Wagon Vice vs traditional tail vice. I have built one traditional tail vice and used it for almost 30 years. It is worn out and I am not anxious to build another. Looking over the offerings I see that the L-N and the Benchcrafted are about the same price once you include a handle. Some points of comparison. The L-N has 6 1/2” of travel while the Benchcrafted has 11+. The L-N has 5 tpi, which suggests it will be much slower than the Benchcrafted, Lake Erie, or Hovarter. They both look tricky to install, but the L-N a bit more so. The L-N gives you the traditional opening, and extends the longest space between dogs by 5” or so. On the other hand the Benchcrafted is completely contained within the bench, which looks safest and doesn’t require any real estate in your shop. I find the Hovarter intriguing but am concerned about having a complex mechanical system underneath my bench and hard to get to for service.

As Mick Jagger put it: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try real hard you’ll get what you need.

Michael

-- michael

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4887 posts in 2430 days


#30 posted 01-07-2018 02:51 PM

But I’m wondering – can the throat of a wagon vise function like a moxon vise for dovetails? For clamping a board with the end grain facing up?

Yes, a wagon vise can function like a Moxon vise with one exception and that is height. One of the functions of a Moxon vise is to raise the work up higher than the bench top. But it can clamp the wood just fine.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

111 posts in 595 days


#31 posted 01-07-2018 08:07 PM

I have always cut dovetails in my shoulder vice and don’t see any reason why a wagon vice wouldn’t work as well, or even better, since the board is automatically squared up in the vice. Both these approaches suffer from either having the board far away from where my eye (and back) want them to be. A moxon vice is one workaround and elevating the bench, which seems better to me, is another. When making multiples, I like a third option, which is to clamp a backer board to the drawer side. This stiffens it so that it can be mounted higher in the vice, gives me a longer line to square against, and allows me to replicate, for better or worse, my angles from one piece to another.

Michael

-- michael

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

111 posts in 595 days


#32 posted 01-07-2018 08:35 PM

Ben, that is a very nicely executed bench. The trestle leg set flush and the hounds tooth end cap really set it apart.

Michael

-- michael

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1200 posts in 2840 days


#33 posted 01-08-2018 02:48 AM

Back in the mid 1970s I built the Danish-style workbench designed by Tage Freid that was in one of Fine Woodworking magazine’s early issues. Sadly, drawings are no longer available (due to copyright problems is my guess). It is a great bench! It has a really nice tail vise that has holes all along the front edge of the bench like a wagon vise. So you CAN have both vises in one bench!

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

111 posts in 595 days


#34 posted 01-08-2018 12:16 PM

I built the Tage Frid workbench around 1981, still have and use it, although it does need to be replaced. The plans are still available and I downloaded them from somewhere (Fine Woodworking archives, Popular Woodworking??) about a year ago. I was a beginner when I built it so a few things in my build weren’t right. There are however some design flaws that proved problematic. Most notably the left end shoulder joint (bridle?) wasn’t strong enough and instead of bolting the top he merely put a rod half way through. This proved weak and the joint flexed until I reinforced it with an angle iron. That held up for a long time but now I think the wood around the rod has worn and it has begun flexing again. Second, I found the bench too narrow. It was great for holding stuff but awkward for assembly. I pulled the tray off, extended the width about 6” and then screwed the tray back on with added end pieces. That helped alot. My tail vice also now needs to be rebuilt.

I do like the style of bench very much and the combination of shoulder & tail vice with a row of dogs has proved to be extremely versatile. It uses much less material than a Ruobo and is easier to build. If I rebuild the same style, and I might, I will begin with either the Klauz bench, for which plans are available, or substitute a wagon vice. I see on u-tube that Rob Cosman has switched to a wagon vice and seems to be pretty happy with it.

I am now just starting to build a new outfeed table using the Benchcrafted classic plans with a leg vice, (and router table built in, which will give me even greater clamping versatility.
Michael

-- michael

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 727 days


#35 posted 01-08-2018 12:42 PM


Hoping some of you can weigh in on the pros/cons of each and what you personally use and why.

I prefer the looks of the traditional tail vise, and I like the open jaw it creates.

But I m wondering – can the throat of a wagon vise function like a moxon vise for dovetails? For clamping a board with the end grain facing up?

Thanks

- Ben

Mine cannot …
 

 

- Ron Aylor

I love the look of a well used work bench….!

- Miataguy

Thanks, Miataguy. Yes, she definitely has a few miles on her! LOL! See more of this bench here. Thanks again.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1200 posts in 2840 days


#36 posted 01-08-2018 01:52 PM

MagicalMichael, you are right about the Tage Fried bench being narrow, but it is one hell of a great bench! I view it as a work holding device more than a pound-on-it, work-on-it type of bench. I have a large assembly table I use for that. I have long sought the plans for this bench. Please try to recall where you downloaded them and post it here. I have searched the Internet but no luck.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View MagicalMichael's profile

MagicalMichael

111 posts in 595 days


#37 posted 01-08-2018 03:45 PM

I found two versions of it in my files. The original Tage Frid plans from Fine Woodworking #4 are here:
http://www.finewoodworking.com/1976/10/01/work-bench You will need a subscription to access the file.

An updated version of the Scandanavian bench was published in the 2/17 edition of Popular Woodworking. Nearly identical to the Frid bench but with the joinery issues I cited fixed.

There are two sources for the Klauz version of the bench. FW published the plans in the July/Aug ‘85 addition and Woodworkers Journal sells a good downloadable version for $7.95

Michael

-- michael

View PPK's profile

PPK

1095 posts in 888 days


#38 posted 01-08-2018 07:04 PM

I really like my wagon vise, but I think a tail vise would be more versatile…

-- Pete

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