Vise advice

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Forum topic by redwing98 posted 09-28-2009 09:21 PM 2043 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 3424 days

09-28-2009 09:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: vise harbor freight quick release question

Need to add a vise to my bench. I was shopping my local Woodcraft and checked out their vises. On the way home, I stopped by Harbor Freight (can’t help it, it’s around the corner from me). The 7” vise they had was remarkably similar to the ones at WC except for the price. ($30)

I know the need to be cautious with HF products, but is there that big of a difference when it comes to vises? I can’t see the need for “quick release” or “fast activating” vises. I just need to occasionally hold some wood securely without using up the few clamps I have.

I usually buy higher end tools, but I’ve also had some good luck with “not so high end” brands performing great. I’m not against some “knock off” items.

Also, are there certain things to check for? I see people noting “racking” in their posts. Is this a big deal? and how prominent is the problem in vises?

-- Woodworker wannabe in training

7 replies so far

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3195 days

#1 posted 09-28-2009 09:37 PM

I am not sure of the type of vise you are looking at, but type and size are based on need. I bought an under mount plate type woodworkers vise from Menards for $35 and it has served me well. I consider myself to be frugal and spend a lot of time comparing before I buy. This was for me an easy decision. It holds wood and it doesn’t rack.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View redwing98's profile


6 posts in 3424 days

#2 posted 09-28-2009 09:43 PM

This a link to the vise I was referring to.

-- Woodworker wannabe in training

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4213 days

#3 posted 09-28-2009 09:46 PM

I have a similar cheapie from Lowe’s…. no complaints at all.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3580 days

#4 posted 09-28-2009 09:49 PM

You will find quick release very handy at times believe me. I woudn’t be without it myself anyway have fun.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View olddutchman's profile


187 posts in 3930 days

#5 posted 09-29-2009 01:33 AM

I think that for normal operations, that it will be great. I don’t expect it to be as strong, or work as well as the better grade vices. so for a vice that can be used , it should work great. I have a Sears that is 30 years old, and although it works well, It is nothing like the big name vices.

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#6 posted 09-29-2009 01:43 AM

I try HF stuff off an on and sometimes I’m surprised how good it is and then other times I’m surprised how bad it is.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3193 days

#7 posted 09-29-2009 02:08 AM

I guess a major consideration on this sort of call is often what the implications will be if it turns out to be junk. Castings can be brittle if you happen to get a bad example, and machining dodgy on cheaper Eastern stuff, but on the other hand you can get a pleasant surprise.

If it’s just a case of a quick unbolt and bring it back, or even junk it at that price it’s not a big deal. But if you’d altered a fancy bench to suit its dimensions, or there was a lot of cost involved in shipping it back, or if you stood in the case of another tool to bugger up a big job/expensive material or even injure yourself then it (whatever it was) might not be worth the risk.

I’m in Ireland, and between shipping delays and costs, import tax, inability to try or even handle or inspect stuff before buying it and liking good quality tools that have that nice ‘clunk’ feel (of a good car door) i seem to find myself often ponying up the extra to get something i can rely on and more to the point enjoy and work to a standard with.

Worst of all is when you spend enough that you just can’t junk the item and replace it, there’s not enough wrong to be able to return it and you’re just stuck with it…

-- Late awakener....

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