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Meets most of my intended purpose as a makeshift tail-vise, but hard to use effectively

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Review by paxorion posted 08-02-2015 02:05 PM 4550 views 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Meets most of my intended purpose as a makeshift tail-vise, but hard to use effectively Meets most of my intended purpose as a makeshift tail-vise, but hard to use effectively Meets most of my intended purpose as a makeshift tail-vise, but hard to use effectively Click the pictures to enlarge them

When I set out to build my workbench, I knew its home would be in the basement right next to my wife’s fabric cutting table. The location made it hard to fit a tail vise without blocking the main walkway through the basement. Given that I was already pushing my wife’s forgiveness by setting my workbench in the basement, I knew I needed another option.

I considered a variety of solutions, including the Veritas in-line vise, a Rocker Auto-Lock T-Track clamp (inspired by Dema's workbench), or wedges, but settled on the Armor Tools Auto-pro. It offers the convenience of the Rockler Auto-Lock T-Track, but also fit right into 3/4” dog holes, allowing for easy alignment with my strip of dog holes.

The Auto-Pro is a very clever clamping device. The dog is a 2-part construction, slightly undersized from 3/4”, and tightening up on the large red screw spreads out the dog to wedge it into the dog hole. Clamping pressure can be adjusted by either (a) adjusting the pressure screw or (b) positioning the clamp face prior to pressing down the lever.

As a end-vise solution, the Auto-Pro hits the mark, offering the ease of positioning and applying pressure. However it falls short on a few areas:
  1. The height of the clamp face is just shy of 3/4”, requiring me to insert spacers. This reduces the effective length of my workbench when working with thinner stock (see picture 2).
  2. Between dialing in the screw and positioning the clamp foot, it’s rather hard to dial in the right pressure. This generally means that thinner stock gets lifted when using a spacer (see picture 3).
  3. The V-notch makes it great to clamp at a corner or round objects, but not so good when trying to hold thinner stock.

All in all, I think I was fighting a losing battle of compromises. For my first workbench, I was trying to go for as inexpensive as possible and I believe this guy fit the bill for my limited hand tool use. For a tail vise substitute, I would give it a far lower review (2 stars since this is my main use for it). However as a clamping tool that works on a workbench with dogs, it does a fantastic job (worthy of at least a 4 stars as I’ve used it for clamping too). Average that out, and you have my 3 star rating.

-- paxorion




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paxorion

1107 posts in 1951 days



2 comments so far

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OnhillWW

127 posts in 1138 days


#1 posted 08-02-2015 03:22 PM

Your setup looks identical to mine only my clamps were from Rockler. I had the same lifting issue – I made a couple of small blocks that I place between the clamp face and my work piece with a 4 degree sloped face (top face closer to work piece than bottom) covered with 1/16” cork, for the most part they solve the lifting issue. I’ve toyed with reprofiling the original face but this gives me some versatility.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

View paxorion's profile

paxorion

1107 posts in 1951 days


#2 posted 08-02-2015 06:21 PM



Your setup looks identical to mine only my clamps were from Rockler. I had the same lifting issue – I made a couple of small blocks that I place between the clamp face and my work piece with a 4 degree sloped face (top face closer to work piece than bottom) covered with 1/16” cork, for the most part they solve the lifting issue. I ve toyed with reprofiling the original face but this gives me some versatility.

- OnhillWW

Great idea, I’ll have to give that a shot.

-- paxorion

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