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Bench vice question

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Forum topic by DrJosh posted 06-25-2010 08:46 PM 5557 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DrJosh

50 posts in 2360 days


06-25-2010 08:46 PM

I am definitely an amateur woodworker and I’ve been working on a bench that is more a worktable, built from 2×4s and plywood using a kit of metal brackets from Home Depot. This has been OK, but now I want to try more hand tool work and become more serious with my woodworking, so building a new workbench is my next big project. My questions is what type of vice would be the best for all around woodworking for an amateur on a budget? Face vice? Leg vice? Shoulder vice? Quick-release vice? Thanks.

-- Josh....in Nashville, TN


14 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3116 days


#1 posted 06-25-2010 08:54 PM

front (face) vise would be the easiest and most versatile to start with. quick release will make things easier and faster for you.

leg vise is practically the same as front vise but doesn’t rack as much, and has a better grip. but may take a bit more work to build. I think it’s worth it though – that’s what I have now.

shoulder vise takes quite a bit of design and work to build – but if you do joinery edge work it can be very useful as you can clamp anything in it. the downside is that it takes more floor space since you’ll need a 5th leg for the workbench.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View swirt's profile

swirt

2118 posts in 2439 days


#2 posted 06-25-2010 09:12 PM

I find a face vice actually mounted on the end of my bench has been best for me. It functions as a face vice for a lot of things, and a tail vice combined with a row of dog holes.

I’m envious of Purplev’s leg vice, because I am not there yet. I use a pair of handscrews clamped to the face of my bench with F-clamps if I need a true face / leg vice. It works best for me because I rarely build the same kind of thing more than once and the handscrew approach allows a lot of flexibility. It is not the fastest system though.

Every once in a while I get desire to do a leg vice with crotchet and a sliding deadman, but then I get thinking about what it would offer me over my current system other than another protrusion on the bench to bang into. Speed and of course “cool factor” are the only things it would offer…so I wait and say “On my next bench!...”

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2465 days


#3 posted 06-25-2010 09:20 PM

If you are on a seriously restricted budget, you can get by with holdfasts. I don’t advise getting a cheap vise. They are more trouble than they are worth.

Also, take a look at swirt’s modifications for handscrews:

http://lumberjocks.com/swirt/blog/16295

These are AWESOME!! I can’t say enough good about them. They could just about eliminate the need for other vises.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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swirt

2118 posts in 2439 days


#4 posted 06-25-2010 09:56 PM

Thanks David. It sounds like you’ve built a few and been using them. Glad to hear you’re finding them as useful as I do.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3130 days


#5 posted 06-25-2010 10:43 PM

I incorporated both a front vide and a tail vise into my bench ( http://lumberjocks.com/projects/18261 ).

I thought I would use the face vise a lot more than I do … I tend to gravitate to the right end of the bench and use that vise.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1441 posts in 2932 days


#6 posted 07-15-2010 04:06 AM

you can always use pipe clamps to make a vise… that will continue to be useful even after you get a real vise. i’ll find some links to illustrate tomorrow,..

View swirt's profile

swirt

2118 posts in 2439 days


#7 posted 07-15-2010 04:50 AM

I agree AaronK, a few holes in the apron can lead to nice applications of 3/4” pipe clamps. They are a little slower to adjust than other vises, but they are very accommodating. And of course you can get really carried away with them and build the “New Fangled” workbench and have amazing clamping options.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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AaronK

1441 posts in 2932 days


#8 posted 07-15-2010 02:18 PM

links as promised:

http://www.angelfire.com/music2/construct/bnchthmb.html
http://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/f81/workbench-4-foot-twin-screw-vise-cheap-15033/

those two guys have done an amazing job – especially the one with the foot pedal controls! i use a much simpler version for a vise on the side of my bench. if you drill several holes you can have a face vise that has a very wide and thick (and long, since there’s nothing getting in the way) capacity…. and that’s useful even if you do have a “proper” face vise in the corner.

View vicrider's profile

vicrider

179 posts in 2366 days


#9 posted 07-15-2010 03:20 PM

I built my bench back in the 80’s and bought a Record 7” quick release vise for the end of it. I’m still happy. I put a cheap Craftsman on the face of the other end but seldom use it.

A good vice is a critical element of a bench. I just Google’d vices (not the bad kind) and I can’t believe what the prices are now.

It looks like Shop Fox has a serviceable quick release http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Fox-D2524-7-Inch-Release/dp/B0000DD0VB/ref=dp_cp_ob_hi_title_1 at a reasonable price.

-- vicrider

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1441 posts in 2932 days


#10 posted 07-15-2010 04:38 PM

yeah – they ARE pricey! so i very much like the idea of making your own, as Bud has http://lumberjocks.com/projects/23740.

View swirt's profile

swirt

2118 posts in 2439 days


#11 posted 07-15-2010 05:29 PM

Okay the foot pedals on that one bench are really slick. That arrangement would make it a fast vice to use…faster than a traditional vice and with more range.
http://www.angelfire.com/music2/construct/bnchthmb.html

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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AaronK

1441 posts in 2932 days


#12 posted 07-15-2010 05:44 PM

tell me about it! I’m not sure which I like better, that mechanism or the removable panels on the FWW’s new-fangled.

View swirt's profile

swirt

2118 posts in 2439 days


#13 posted 07-15-2010 06:02 PM

Well for handplane use I think the one with the foot pedals would be better because you are planing against a solid bench top rather than some moveable panels. But being able to swap out other panels for tool bases is pretty cool in a small shop.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1441 posts in 2932 days


#14 posted 07-15-2010 06:08 PM

so many choices! good point about handplaning on removable panels. moving those panels a bit farther away from the front of the bench (for righties) might help that. As is (per DaveR’s image) they seem unnecessarily close to the front. switching them to the back would be just as good, i think, and solve the problem you brought up.

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