Workbench thickness, holdfasts and vises

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Forum topic by Tony1212 posted 02-14-2017 05:44 PM 1822 views 1 time favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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250 posts in 1934 days

02-14-2017 05:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench vises holdfasts

I’m in the planning phase of a new workbench. I’m thinking of creating a bench top out of some leftover 3/4” plywood that I already have in my shop. I’m thinking of 4 plywood layers with a sacrificial 1/8” or 1/4” hardboard on top. That comes to about 3” or so in thickness (since 3/4” ply is not really 3/4” thick but the hardboard should get me there or slightly thicker).

I want to use both holdfasts and a Shop Fox D4026 vise. But I have a couple questions.

With 3” or so thickness, can I just mount the vise to the bottom and add a chop? Or will I need to route/cut out space for the vise?

Will the top thickness be thick enough for most holdfasts? I plan on putting 3/4” holes as dog holes for use with the vise. I hope those can double as holdfasts.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

6 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1240 posts in 2195 days

#1 posted 02-14-2017 05:59 PM

Yes on the holdfasts. In my bench design, the plans call for leaving a 3” thick area in a bench otherwise 5”thick to allow most standard holdfasts to work. So I think you would be good.

As for the vice, it’s hard to say but 3” doesn’t seem too bad for a vice chop.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Michael's profile


23 posts in 706 days

#2 posted 02-19-2017 05:28 AM

My holdfasts work fine in the apron of my kids’ bench which is 1 1/2”. I’ve never tried them in plywood.

-- "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." John Muir

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

2836 posts in 782 days

#3 posted 02-19-2017 10:48 AM

The other solution for a plywood bench-top is to throw a 2×4 under the line(s) where you’re going to want your holdfasts. I have a ¾” plywood bench-top with a 2×4 under it to support dogs / holdfasts in the long direction, and a 2×8 running the other way to support another short line of dogs / holdfasts. They’re screwed into the 2×4 frame under the bench-top and glued to the bottom of the top so they’re fairly solid. Seems to work for me.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Tony1212's profile


250 posts in 1934 days

#4 posted 02-19-2017 02:36 PM

Thanks for all of the info on holdfasts. I’m now pretty confident that my plan will work with them.

But I’m still a bit concerned about the vise. Mounting it directly to the bottom of the 3” thick bench top will mean that the chop needs to be about 4.5”to 5” to account for the screw and slides. I know to expect racking from left to right, but will it rack from top to bottom with that much space?

I guess what I’m asking is, do these type of vices have a maximum bench top thickness that they can accommodate? I’ve been Googling around and have seen mention of it, but no solid numbers.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


2619 posts in 1587 days

#5 posted 02-19-2017 03:31 PM

Shop Fox is the Retail brand for Grizzly and the vise you linked above looks like it is identical to the Grizzly branded H7788. About the only difference appears to be the paint color. Grizzly’s customer service people usually have pretty good knowledge of their products so you might try calling them and asking if there is a recommended maximum or optimal bench thickness for the Grizzly version.

Also, if you look at the 3rd image of the Grizzly H8110 Euro Bench at which has a 4” top, it looks to me like they mounted a similar vise at the base of the 4” top which would imply to me that you will be fine.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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2653 posts in 1140 days

#6 posted 02-19-2017 03:40 PM

You may want to consider an Eclipse Vise. It’s not much more than the one you’re considering. It has a quick release, making it more user friendly. This is how I mounted it on the top of my bench which is just shy of 3”.

Click for details

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Edit: Here's a blog I did of the bench from beginning to end.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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