Front Vise, Rear Jaw: how to drill counterbores ??

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Forum topic by NBeener posted 12-30-2010 10:52 PM 5366 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4816 posts in 3139 days

12-30-2010 10:52 PM

My New Year’s resolution is to measure twice, and cut once—generally: to be more patient and thoughtful, before I start digging in !

So … in that spirit ….

I’m working on the installation of the front vise, on my new workbench.

I’ve already:

- milled two beautiful chunks of hard maple for the front and rear jaws;

- used the enclosed template to lay out the locations of the three holes to be drilled for the guide rods and screw;

- drilled the 1/8” pilot holes to center the holes,

But … I’m rather stuck on this part:

The larger Veritas Front Vise includes two support collets

through which the guide rods have to pass, on the rear jaw.

The instructions call for a counter-bore of:

- 2-5/16” diameter, and
- 9/16” deep

[”On the
clamping face of the rear jaw, drill two counter-bores for the guide rod support collets using the guide rod
center marks. Use a 2-5/16” saw tooth bit or an expansion bit, to a depth of 9/16”.”

I have neither of those drill types, and my largest Forstner bit isn’t big enough. What’s the best way to drill these counter-bores ?

What I do have: a fly cutter, that I’ve used, successfully, on my drill press, but … while I can cut a 2-5/16” hole at 9/16” deep …. it will only cut about a 1/2” track around the outside, plus the hole made by the centering drill bit.

I presume this COULD work, if I carefully used a plunge router, with a spiral upcut bit, to clean out the rest of the hole, but …

Is this the best way ?

Other thoughts ???

I want to do this right, rather than the me of 2010 … who … probably would have butchered the holes, by trying to clean them out with a chisel ;-)

Thanks much !

The vise is the larger of these two:

instruction manual

-- -- Neil

20 replies so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2821 days

#1 posted 12-30-2010 11:01 PM

Neil, just do it all with your router just change the collar sizes.

Are you going to face it with leather?


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Loren's profile


10260 posts in 3613 days

#2 posted 12-30-2010 11:01 PM

A saw tooth bit doesn’t drill a flat-bottom hole anyway. I would
probably use the fly cutter to do the outside and then drill out the
waste with Forstner bits or just plunge-cut the waste with a mortising
bit in your router.

For that matter, once you’ve got the outside of a hole cut, it is
possible to just freehand the wasting-out with a router by just being
careful and taking light cuts. You could also make an over-sized
template for a router guide bushing with your fly cutter and
use that to excavate the entire hole.

View jack1's profile


2102 posts in 3992 days

#3 posted 12-30-2010 11:04 PM

You may have to bite the bullet and get a bigger bit or, if you are really careful and take your time, you could use a hole saw by marking the depth needed on the outside face of the hole saw so you know when to stop. Then use a chisel to remove material. I’ve done this and I must say, practice on scrap first… You could also use your drill press fly cutter on scrap or particle board to cut the appropriate size circle and then use the opening in tandem with a router and pattern bit to hog out the waste.

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View mfike's profile


100 posts in 3631 days

#4 posted 12-30-2010 11:19 PM

I’ve got the same vise and I had the same problem. I just marked the diameter and routed freehand. When I got it really close I went to my chisels. It was kind of a p.i.t.a., but I couldn’t find a 2 5/16” forstner bit around here and didn’t want to wait for an ordered one. Whatever method you use, I suggest you cut one perfect hole in scrap first.


View Bothus's profile


441 posts in 3141 days

#5 posted 12-30-2010 11:20 PM

View jack1's profile


2102 posts in 3992 days

#6 posted 12-30-2010 11:24 PM

Buy it. You can always use it to ice fish… ;0)

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3063 days

#7 posted 12-30-2010 11:44 PM

That’s why at times I wish I had access to a N.C. router. Those counterbores would be circular interpolated in seconds without buying any tools.
Even a small bench type mill with a manual turntable would be great.
Those machines have limitless applications.
Oh well. Back to reality. Buy the forstner bit, use it and re-sell it on EBay as “only used once”.

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 3088 days

#8 posted 12-30-2010 11:59 PM

Check out the Milwaukee self feed bits for the Hole Hawg drills. They are the Chuck Norris of forstner bits. You might be able to get one the size you need fairly cheaply. You can take the self-feed screw out and replace it with a centering spur for drill press work.

Another thought would be to look at hole saws. Use it in the drill press without the pilot bit to define your counterbore, then remove the waste using your favorite method.

-- Tony -

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3256 days

#9 posted 12-31-2010 12:16 AM

Individual Forstner bits aren’t really that expensive:

Part #9234 at MLCS – $16.95:

Off-brand at Amazon, $15:

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3139 days

#10 posted 12-31-2010 12:26 AM

Ya’ know ….

Sometimes, that same “lesson in being patient” MEANS … you wait for the new 2-5/16” Forstner bit to arrive.

In this case, from MLCS !

Thanks much, JJohnston, and everybody else.

There’s a time to practice freehand routing.
There’s a time to learn to make router templates.
There’s a time to learn to accurately chisel.

And there’s a time to temporarily move on to another project, while the Forstner bit is on its way :-)

Happy New Year to all !!

-- -- Neil

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3063 days

#11 posted 12-31-2010 12:54 AM

Ain’t this a great site!!!!!
You always get an answer and a solution.

A toast to all you Lumberjocks and Jockettes (It’s cocktail hour here in the midwest)

Happy New Year.

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 3004 days

#12 posted 12-31-2010 02:05 AM

use the fly cutter to cut the 2 5/16 counterbores than reset the fly cutter to a smaller size and cut out more waste. Keep setting your fly cutter smaller until the waste is all gone.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View jack1's profile


2102 posts in 3992 days

#13 posted 12-31-2010 02:15 AM

Smart move to wait. Good luck!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3613 days

#14 posted 12-31-2010 02:21 AM

Hmm… good call on the forstner bit, although the only time I can think of when you’d drill something this big would be …..err… to counter bore your vise :p

FYI, you could also use your fly cutter to drill the perimeter of the hole, then using a chisel clean out the waste – kinda gives you a taste of woodworking on your new bench ;). remember – this hole will be covered by the vise, so it doesn’t have to look like a $1M. just saying.

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

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3139 days

#15 posted 12-31-2010 02:26 AM

Well ….

First, this 2-5/16” Forstner bit will officially be available—no cost—for any LJ to use, if they are faced with the same situation ;-)

I actually DID do the ever-smaller concentric circle thing, with the fly-cutter, on some scrap plywood, but …. chiseling out the remainder (the cutter, obviously, will only get SO close to the bit) introduced a measure of risk. No, it wouldn’t be visible, but … I’m getting tired of doing things poorly :-)

I think one “thunk” with a 3/4” straight bit and the plunge router—carefully set up for 9/16” depth—WOULD have worked just fine, too—after the fly-cutter approach—but …. I couldn’t come up with any appreciable downside with that Forstner bit.

So … seriously … if anybody’s ever searching the forum, with this same issue, PM me. I’ll likely have the right bit, and would gladly send it your way :-)

Sharon: the other problem is … all my chisels are currently being used for lid props and door stops (LOL !).

-- -- Neil

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