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Forum topic by LDO2802 posted 01-31-2018 05:41 PM 1279 views 1 time favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LDO2802

167 posts in 607 days


01-31-2018 05:41 PM

I see a lot of posts for reviews of individual vises or questions about certain vises, but I have an overall question: What brand of vises are the best? I have seen individuals say that top end is paying for the name and no increase in quality whereas harbor freight vises are obviously not square and true. If you were building a ultimate bench, with no regard to money, what vises would it have?


35 replies so far

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

847 posts in 1761 days


#1 posted 01-31-2018 05:49 PM

I am not going to be helpful at all on this one, but I’m going to follow it, because of two things:
The main one is that I actually don’t have any reaction to the question, and don’t think the brand of a vice is consequential. Really, I am not even sure I can name a brand that makes vices, although clearly there are stores that sell them under the store name. However, if there is a real functional difference in brands, I want to learn about it.
The other is, I have not ever thought if any vice being “square and true”, or not. I have only thought abut their ability to hold the work piece firmly without it moving. Thus, I want to read more about that, too.

My vices are all 25-30+ year old craftsman items, and they work really great, but I doubt ones like mine are readily available anyway. When I was buying them, I didn’t even realize there were many alternatives, and like I always did in those days when I wanted a tool, I just went to Sears.

There are also many styles of work-holding vices. The style you select may be more significant for the work you plan to accomplish.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Holt's profile

Holt

276 posts in 2806 days


#2 posted 01-31-2018 06:00 PM

Assuming that you want to buy and not work out how to make them yourself, I’d find someone still making big, 2 or 3 TPI wooden screws and build the vises into your workbench. My personal taste would be a Scandinavian style shoulder vise on the front left corner and a Nyquist style tail vise on the right side.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

592 posts in 1646 days


#3 posted 01-31-2018 06:03 PM

I don’t think that any vise is “square and true”. Vises aren’t typically made to hold things in alignment during assembly. You’d be better off custom making a jig to hold something like a drawer or door panel “square and true” during assembly.

As far as “best”, well, everyone will tell you their product is the best at the price point they offer it at. It depends on how much money you want to spend.

In general, and this applies to clamps too, the defining characteristic that I’ve seen that separates the “junk” from the “good”, is that good vises/clamps/etc will have Acme threaded screws, and cheap versions will have regular v-threaded screws.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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Woodknack

12401 posts in 2557 days


#4 posted 01-31-2018 06:05 PM

Are you looking to buy vises and if so, specifically what type?

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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FancyShoes

590 posts in 1541 days


#5 posted 01-31-2018 06:07 PM

Build or buy is good

Old vises off craigslist or auctions to look for would be: wilton, columbia, those are the 2 most popluar, then the really hard to get Emmert pattern makers vise. I bid a guy up to $350 at auction before dropping out, they sometimes sell for $850. The columbia and wilton I have paid as little as $5 for at a auction, and sold them for $40. One day I picked up 12 @ $7/piece at auction. Other times they bring $40. Depends on who is there.

Good luck

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3825 days


#6 posted 01-31-2018 06:09 PM

I had an Emmert vise for several years. Great
vise but overkill for most furniture type applications,
and it lacks a quick-action feature so there can
be a lot of handle cranking involved in using one.

I use a Record vise. It’s the biggest one they made,
15” I think. The weight causes some wear problems
but I’ve learned how to maintain it.

Lee Valley is a good supplier. They stand behind
their products 100% and their proprietary designs
are well thought out.

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

411 posts in 796 days


#7 posted 01-31-2018 06:23 PM

I have an Emmert and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

-- Sawdust Maker

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

533 posts in 1671 days


#8 posted 01-31-2018 10:01 PM

I think best brand vise debate can be confounded with best brand of vise for intended application?
Also need to decide how much construction you want to do to install your vise (build .vs buy)?

Front Vise:
- Emmert Pattern Makers vise is Cadillac of wood working vises when you need this kind of infinite adjust-ability. Highland sells a decent clone of Emmert.
- Veritas Quick Release front vise for simple applications

Leg Vise:
- Benchcrafted hardware if you want metal screw
- Lakeerietoolworks hardware if you want wood screw

End vise:
- Veritas Twin Screw

Tail Vise:
Veritas quick release sliding tail vise for simple install and use it, or
Benchcrafted for hardware to build your own tail vise into a bench.

Moxon Vise:
Benchcrafted

+1 on used Wilton/Columbia:
Best value vise has to be used Wilton wood working vises. There are bullet proof, and were standard issue in schools across USA when middle/high schools could afford insurance to teach wood working. Most schools closed the shops and sold vises at auction or gave them away for free. Wilton/Columbia Wood working Vises saved from scrap pile can be found for <$25 on Craigslist or other used tool places. When I built my last bench, had money to buy top of line Veritas/Emmert; but choose to use 3 old Wilton vises. Maybe once a year I find a need for an Emmert as my front vise, but otherwise still do not regret the decision to use 1 Wilton front vise and 2 Wilton vises in Moxon configuration.

YMMV

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View LDO2802's profile

LDO2802

167 posts in 607 days


#9 posted 01-31-2018 10:26 PM



Are you looking to buy vises and if so, specifically what type?

- Rick_M

Yes…......and good question…........purpose of this post. :)

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LDO2802

167 posts in 607 days


#10 posted 01-31-2018 10:30 PM



I think best brand vise debate can be confounded with best brand of vise for intended application?
Also need to decide how much construction you want to do to install your vise (build .vs buy)?

Front Vise:
- Emmert Pattern Makers vise is Cadillac of wood working vises when you need this kind of infinite adjust-ability. Highland sells a decent clone of Emmert.
- Veritas Quick Release front vise for simple applications

Leg Vise:
- Benchcrafted hardware if you want metal screw
- Lakeerietoolworks hardware if you want wood screw

End vise:
- Veritas Twin Screw

Tail Vise:
Veritas quick release sliding tail vise for simple install and use it, or
Benchcrafted for hardware to build your own tail vise into a bench.

Moxon Vise:
Benchcrafted

+1 on used Wilton/Columbia:
Best value vise has to be used Wilton wood working vises. There are bullet proof, and were standard issue in schools across USA when middle/high schools could afford insurance to teach wood working. Most schools closed the shops and sold vises at auction or gave them away for free. Wilton/Columbia Wood working Vises saved from scrap pile can be found for <$25 on Craigslist or other used tool places. When I built my last bench, had money to buy top of line Veritas/Emmert; but choose to use 3 old Wilton vises. Maybe once a year I find a need for an Emmert as my front vise, but otherwise still do not regret the decision to use 1 Wilton front vise and 2 Wilton vises in Moxon configuration.

YMMV

- CaptainKlutz

Excellent info! Exactly the kind of recommendation I was looking for. Thanks!

View msinc's profile (online now)

msinc

561 posts in 680 days


#11 posted 01-31-2018 10:38 PM

I am also interested to follow this post for information. I will soon be building a decent bench and it is my intention to outfit it with whatever vise configuration that catches my interest. There are a lot of posts to this thread that seem to need more to the question. I don’t want to hijack the man’s thread, but just imagine you hit the lotto and have no vises at all, but want to have whatever you need….what vises {as in more than one} would you buy to be sure they will work??? I will check out the ones listed, thanks.

Edit: I would like to add one thing, to me a vise that is square and true is very important. It will hold things a lot better and easier if for example the jaws are parallel. If they are not then I guess you could just hog down on it more until it holds…but you might mark up your wood if you do. Personally, I’d a whole lot rather have a vise that is true and square if possible.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

15659 posts in 2795 days


#12 posted 01-31-2018 10:44 PM

A vise is a fixed bench clamp, a means to an end and not an end unto itself. That said, any vise that secures the piece being worked is a quality vise.

For me, a leg vise is No. 1 and the threaded rod for mine came from a salvaged bench. They’re out there for less than $25 typically, if you’re patient. And ultimate or not, it’s what I’d choose again for leg vise hardware. Benchcrafted has the Wow factor, but there’s little practical value add there.

An end vise can be any Wilton or Columbia or Craftsman or Record you find. Each is suitable for the task.

Few have a practical need for the Emmert. But I wouldn’t pass one up if it came my way at a reasonable price.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View LDO2802's profile

LDO2802

167 posts in 607 days


#13 posted 01-31-2018 10:55 PM

To be clear, when I say square and true, I mean well built, guide rails line up, clamping face lines up so it is flush for when you mount wood on it, it wont stick up over the edge. Overall just well put together with little wiggle.

In the end I am probably going to be part of the herd and build a split Roubo Bench, so I am looking at all the available vises and getting opinions to see what some of the problems are. Veritas seems to have very expensive vises, and Lee Valley has them listed right next to vises that cost half the price, so the question becomes is the veritas vise actually better, or are you paying for the name?

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

942 posts in 616 days


#14 posted 01-31-2018 11:36 PM

I have a Columbian 7” quick action, a 10” Craftsman quick action and a 52 1/2 D Record which is also a quick action vise. I like all three but the Record has the quick action lever on the front and I like that best. Some new vises will have that feature as well. I also made a Moxon style using a bar from a weight set for the threaded rod and nuts. Not expensive ($3.00) and it works quite nicely. It’s surprising how well the Moxon style holds your work piece. If I do another bench, I am fairly certain that a Moxon style vise will be planned for it.
Mike

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View msinc's profile (online now)

msinc

561 posts in 680 days


#15 posted 02-01-2018 01:01 AM

Am I correct to understand that the “Emmert” is no longer made? You have to find a good used one or go with the Highland clone? I took a good look at the Highland and I really like what I see. Does this vise deviate from the Emmert any? Or is it pretty well the same vise? Thanks for any info.

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