bench vise

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 04-30-2008 08:21 PM 1078 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 3904 days

04-30-2008 08:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bench vise vise

I’ve needed a vsie of some type for quite a while now, but other tools have been far more exciting so I’ve skipped over this very important tool until now. Its getting ridiculous though and I think I’m going to break down soon. Can anyone give me some pointers on what I should look for? What I’d like it to be able to do it hold large flat surfaces (like the tabletop to an end table) still while I’m sanding or scraping it. I’d also like to be able to put smaller material like rails into it so that I could hand cut tenons.

My “workbench” is basically a frame of 2×4’s with a sheet of 3/4” MDF screwed to the top. I know it isn’t as good as a solid wood table, but its what I could afford at the time and it doesn’t take up my entire garage. If there are any other important factors that I should post, let me know. If anyone can give me “advice for my vise”, I’d apprecaite it!

4 replies so far

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3918 days

#1 posted 04-30-2008 08:42 PM

Personally, I would wait on the vise. I would just bore out a series of 3/4” holes parallel to the side I work from. Then make some 3/4” bench dogs out of hardwood dowels inserted into 3/4” thick 2”x2” blocks. then you could use wedges to clamp your workpiece tight.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4166 days

#2 posted 04-30-2008 09:35 PM

First of all, that MDF top is not gonna last. As soon as you put some bench dogs to it, it will bust apart, and the only way around this is to replace the top. Go look at my shop pics.

I’m the king of cheap here as I used a doubled layer of floor grade plywood for a top, 3/4” hardwood dowels for the dogs (cap them with crutch feet to protect your project) and a slab of cherry for the vise, which I placed an old bench screw I picked up for $3.00 at a garage sale. There’s a “racking” problem with this kind of vise which I overcome by adding two pieces of 5/8” rod.

There’s a woodworking vise you can buy (got one) that has a flipup dog built in…just go as big as you can with this type. Tiny vises are OK for models but real wood projects require something beefy.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4164 days

#3 posted 04-30-2008 09:41 PM

I would get something like this for a first vise. I had one for about 10 years and found it very useful.

The quick release feature is great for opening and closing it quickly. It’s a lot better then cranking
the handle all the way in and out. If you look around you can find a less expensive one that Rockler sells.

Woodcraft has a ‘& for only $49:

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Toolz's profile


1004 posts in 3918 days

#4 posted 04-30-2008 10:50 PM

I agree with Dadoo. I misread your question. Better to replace the MDF with two layers of 3/4” plywood.

-- Larry "Work like a Captain but Play like a Pirate!"

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