Wagon or Steel Vise?

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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 03-29-2011 11:37 AM 1346 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1643 posts in 2657 days

03-29-2011 11:37 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wagon vise

So I began designing my new bench today. While I wish I could build something bigger and badder; my severly limited workspace dictates a design that is leaner and meaner. A leg vise is pretty much a given since I already have the necessary hardware and I need the specific capabilities that a leg vise provides. However, I plan to use the benchtop extensively, and need an end vise of some sort to secure boards, jigs, and benchtop machines to the top. All tasks that the leg vise can’t perfrom. My two most practical choices seem to be a wagon vise or a steel vise with integrated (slide-up) dog.

I’m settled on a shaker design base since the storage cabinetry is crucial to my tiny workspace. Of course the cabinetry limits my vise options since the benchtop will only overhang about 2”. The metal vise would be easiest to install and would give me a few more clamping options. However, i would have to increase the size of the benchtop to allow for enough room to install it without chopping into the bearers and cabinetry. An additional 6-8” inches of benchtop isn’t the end of the world, but it does encroach on additional real estate that I’m trying to conserve. I also see it being harder to secure benchtop machines (i.e. router table) with a metal vise.

The wagon vise seems like it would be harder to install. I can’t spring for a pricey benchcrafted rig, so I’d have to fashion one from a veneer press or some other screw. And it might not be quite as versitile as the metal vise. However, I think the wagon vise would perfrom the needed tasks quite well, and could be integrated into a smaller benchtop.

I guess my questions are:
Is a wagon vise problematic from a design, installation, and maintenance standpoint?
Are there any pros/cons that I have not considered?
Any reason I might hate a wagon vise?

2 replies so far

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2947 days

#1 posted 03-29-2011 03:55 PM

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2996 days

#2 posted 03-29-2011 06:37 PM

I used a 9” Groz rapid action as my face vise. Love it.

Decided to add an end vise and, to save money, I used a front vise on the end. Bad move. It racks and binds up. PITA

I wish I had used the same iron face vise on the end as I put on the face. Seriously considering redoing this.

What ever vise you use you should put a wood face on it and, if you make the jaw face thick enough you can drill dog holes in it for clamping boards or machines to the top of the bench.

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