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Installing a Face Vise

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Forum topic by Bob Fowkes posted 1047 days ago 6937 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob Fowkes

34 posts in 1214 days


1047 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m planning to build a workbench, and am puzzling over the installation of the face vise. I picked up a Jorgensen vise (model 41012) at a garage sale. Here’s the pic:

The fellow who wrote an article in Fine Woodworking (http://www.finewoodworking.com/FWNPDF/011158056.pdf) actually buries the inside metal jaw in a big honking mortise cut into the apron (or I suppose the last board laminated into your top). He secures in there with epoxy. Other pics I’ve seen here seem to notch the top deep enough to accommodate the inside metal jaw and a wooden jaw, the latter milled to be flush with the front edge or apron of the bench.

Are there advantages to doing it the hard (FW) way?

-- Bob


14 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3266 posts in 1781 days


#1 posted 1047 days ago

Bob, I see no advantage to epoxying the rear jaw of the vice. If it is done right, all you need to do (if you intend to go this route) is cut a notch in the apron of the bench to bury the rear jaw. Be sure that ypou put a spacer between the vice and underneath the bench to bring the vice up flush with the top. Then just add a
hardwood face to the front jaw….the apron will serve as the rear face of the vice. Use lag bolts to secure the vice.. When it’s a finished, you will have one continious rear jaw that will enable you to hold long boards aganist the apron….don’t epoxy the rear jaw in just in case you may have to remove it someday…OR…if you don’t do it this way, just mount the vice to the apron with both jaws exposed, and put harwood faces on both…I’ve done it both ways, but I prefer the rear face buried in the apron….By the way…good score on the Jorgensen vice….

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Don W's profile

Don W

14498 posts in 1154 days


#2 posted 1047 days ago

mine is installed exactly as Rick states. Works perfect.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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Tennwood

100 posts in 1768 days


#3 posted 1047 days ago

If you can get a hold of it, Woodcraft Magazine, the June/July issue (vol. 7, no. 41), has an article on “Installing a Bench Vice” p 50 – 53 which may answer you questions.

-- Jim, SE Tennessee, "Don't spare the kindling Dear, we have plenty"

View crank49's profile

crank49

3325 posts in 1557 days


#4 posted 1047 days ago

Mine was done like Rick suggested; except I used hex bolts in counterbored holes through the top. You don’t see the bolts on my bench because it has a MDF replaceable top surface that covers the counterbores.

That’s a nice vise, by the way.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Bob Fowkes's profile

Bob Fowkes

34 posts in 1214 days


#5 posted 1047 days ago

Jim – Thx for the pointer. That issue isn’t available on-line just yet, but I’ll stop by the local Woodcraft and pick one up.

Rick – thx for the ideas. I was thinking of not doing an apron, mostly ‘cause I’m relying on Chris Schwartz’s book, and he advises against them. I could do exactly as you suggest, I suppose, except cut the notch in the last board before gluing up the top.

-- Bob

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3266 posts in 1781 days


#6 posted 1047 days ago

Bob,

If you do not put an apron, then yes, you could cut the notch in the last board before gluing up the top. I

haven’t read Chris Schwartz’s book, but don’t understand why he advises aganist an apron. To me, an apron finishes off the look of a bench, and covers up any rough material that’s exposed. I’m not sure I agree with Schwartz’s concept of not using an apron….Here’s a pixs of my bench…See what you think..
EDIT: If you are going to laminate hardwood strips together, and do a glue up in sections, then that will work.

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Luke's profile

Luke

526 posts in 1880 days


#7 posted 1046 days ago

What I did on my bench was mount the vice to the edge of the table. With the back plate sticking over the edge. Then I just routed out the back of a piece of wood to fit over that and screwed it to the bench. Then mounted another piece of hardwood to the front plate. Here is a pic of it on my bench. Haven’t had any problems yet. Also, If I remember right, the metal stood proud of the top of my bench once installed because my bench top was a little thin at only two inches. So I just put a piece of spacer hardwood between the metal bench mount plate and the bench top-bottom to “lower” it. This is also a jorgenson but I don’t know if it’s the same one. looks like it.

-- LAS, http://www.abettersign.com

View crank49's profile

crank49

3325 posts in 1557 days


#8 posted 1046 days ago

I think we have some definitions getting mixed up. The “Apron” that Chris Schwarz refers to is a board that runs between the legs and is below the benchtop. He doesn’t like it because, in his opinion, it gets in the way of clamping. I agree with that rational. My last bench had an apron and it always was in my way.

My new bench has a top that is 3-1/2” thick, made of 4 layers of 23/32” sandply A-C plywood, topped off with a replaceable top layer of MDF and hardboard. I ran a band of maple around this top. I set my vise’s back jaw in a mortise in the edge of the plywood top, behind the band of maple. The band therefore, is the back working surface for my vise and it is flush with the face of the legs, per the recommendations of Chris’s book. This works extremely well for me. I wouldn’t change a thing next time I build a bench, except to use oak instead of maple for the band. and to use a second identical vise as the end vise.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3266 posts in 1781 days


#9 posted 1046 days ago

Crank49, I think you are correct in our termonoligy of “apron”.

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Bob Fowkes's profile

Bob Fowkes

34 posts in 1214 days


#10 posted 1046 days ago

Crank49 – can you post a pic of your bench? And why do you now think oak would be better than maple for the band?

Rick – nice workbench!

This is Chris Schwartz on skirts/aprons which he seems to use interchangeably:

“Take a look at the benches on display there [specialty woodworking store]. Not just the 104-pound weaklings. Take a look at the biggest beast on display. The top usually looks massive, maybe 4” thick. But it’s an illusion. Look under the top, and you’ll see the truth. Usually the actual top is less than 2” thick and is banded by an apron or skirt.”

“Yes, I’ll admit that this skirt can add some rigidity to the top. And the skirt can cover some ugly end grain. And the joints at the corners appeal to our senses (dovetails or finger joints). But once you get that bench home you’ll find the skirt in the way of your clamps when you want to secure something to the benchtop. Yes, it can be an asset when you want to secure narrow boards of a certain width so you can work on their edges, but all in all, skirts stink.”

The man is opinionated, but passionate.

-- Bob

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3266 posts in 1781 days


#11 posted 1046 days ago

Bob,
I can’t find any reasoning behind what this guy is saying about aprons, or “skirts”. My bench top is massive. It is 3” thick, 42” wide, and 101” long. I have plenty of over-hang all the way around the bench. I have never had any trouble at all clamping boards to the bench top, if necessary. Having 2 vices works for me to clamp boards long ways from vice to vice. I also have bench dogs for clamping. So the skirts on the bench posses no problem in clamping, and dresses up the bench….I just can’t see his point when he says they stink…

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View crank49's profile

crank49

3325 posts in 1557 days


#12 posted 1046 days ago

I’m at work and don’t have a pic with me. I will try to get something up later tonight. May be much later as I have been invited to a local tavern tonight for entertainment and beverages with some songwriters and musician friends.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Bob Fowkes's profile

Bob Fowkes

34 posts in 1214 days


#13 posted 1046 days ago

Rick – I may be doing Schwartz a disservice by quoting his book (which is excellent) out of context. He starts with 16-odd principles which lead him to his conclusions. I can’t summarize here. The other thing to note, he is a hand tool enthusiast, which influences his choices for workbench design.

And, when I eMailed him with a question about one of the benches, he went out of his way to reply.

Your workbench would be a welcome addition to MY shop!

-- Bob

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3266 posts in 1781 days


#14 posted 1046 days ago

Bob,

Like I told you before…I have never read or even seen his book. I have a couple of good work bench books, my favorite is called “The Work Bench Book” by John Landis. I have read here on LJs some pros and cons about Schwartz’s book….I would like to read it, though, just to draw my own opinions about it. I’m sure it’s a good book no doubt, but I would like to draw my own conclusions. I am not a hand tool guy, just a little. I have a very bad back, and it kills me to have to stoop to use planes, scrapers, etc. I’m a power tool junkie…lol. I build all my work benches about 42” high, and have built about 5 in the past. Thanks for the comment on the bench. It has everything I need at hand, and plenty of storage below. If you ever got a chance to read John Landis’s Work bench book, I think you would enjoy it…... Take a look at my shop pixs and you’ll see what I mean….Also look at my Blog with more shop pixs #2.

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

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