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Understanding Bench Vises

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Forum topic by SeaWitch posted 11-12-2011 10:01 PM 4080 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SeaWitch

149 posts in 1860 days


11-12-2011 10:01 PM

I’m considering building a new workbench and adding one or more proper vises, but I barely understand the differences. Can anyone explain to me the pros and cons of the different workbench vises? Which do you have and like and why or which do you wish you had? The sliding tail vise, for example, looks so small….I don’t see the great benefit of it.

thanks

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt


14 replies so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2581 days


#1 posted 11-12-2011 10:25 PM

don´t underestimate the power of having a tail wice or the shuolder vice
but witch wice you want to have is all a matter of what you want to make
and from where you come from / used to use
they all have there pro´s and con´s
here is a link to a vidio clip that might demystyfire it a little
http://woodtreks.com/design-build-traditional-woodworking-workbench-tail-shoulder-leg-vises/1651/

beside that there is a few books out there about workbenches of all kinds that should be able
to help you

take care

Dennis

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

4456 posts in 3426 days


#2 posted 11-12-2011 10:33 PM

I have a tail vice (right end) with an added “face” that is the full width of the end of my bench and a shoulder vice (left front edge) with a wood jaw (face) on the end of the front of the bench. Both jaws are drilled for bench dogs (not to be confused with shop dogs).
Leftys sometimes reverse the location of the tail/shoulder vices.
The surface of my bench is drilled for dogs 6” on centered. Sure gives me plenty of flexibility for bench work.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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SeaWitch

149 posts in 1860 days


#3 posted 11-12-2011 10:37 PM

Thanks Dennis and Bill. I’ll watch that video. Bill, what do you mean by the “jaws are drilled for bench dogs”? I thought bench dogs were used on top of the bench?

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2581 days


#4 posted 11-12-2011 10:52 PM

its so you can use the bench dogs to hold your peices of wood with
but it will be shown in the vidio as I remember

Dennis

View mcase's profile

mcase

446 posts in 2595 days


#5 posted 11-14-2011 04:03 AM

Most conventional vices wrack and are of little use. A true shoulder vice is a direct pressure screw and so avoids this. The other option is the Veritas twin screw vice. This Veritas replaces the center screw and side slides with two chain-driven twin screws so as to apply immense pressure without wracking. The Veritas can be mounted across the end of the table or the front and can be set with a series of bench dog holes.

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SeaWitch

149 posts in 1860 days


#6 posted 11-14-2011 04:49 AM

I watched this video—thanks to dennisgrosen and the guy in there has a vice with a face that swivels or articulates. I never hear anyone mention a vice like that, but he says it’s great for holding odd shaped things. Any comments on that?

http://woodtreks.com/design-build-traditional-woodworking-workbench-tail-shoulder-leg-vises/1651/

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2581 days


#7 posted 11-14-2011 03:26 PM

in some cases its and advance to have it , in my shuoldervice I havn´t as much as he has in his
the face plate is needed on a shouldervice to avoid maring your work pieces with the screw
most vices do it when you place a piece of wood to one of the sides of the mainscrew
not so good for the vice .. what you do is make woodpieces with different thickness
that can hang over the edge of the vice …. so you can use one to align the vice
and press equal to each side on the vice …. this will gives a lot longer life to the vice

Dennis

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3129 days


#8 posted 11-14-2011 09:23 PM

FWIW … my bench has both a tail and a face vise … I wind up using the tail vise about 90% of the time.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1625 posts in 2099 days


#9 posted 11-14-2011 10:08 PM

My bench currently has only a tail vise w/ dog holes on either end. I use it to secure longer boards and/or benchtop machines. I’m going to add either a steel front vise or a leg vise in the near future.

FWIW, I tend to use power tools and only use hand tools when/if it makes sense to. IMO, heavy hand tool users need a fancier vise array than power tool guys like myself.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3981 posts in 2437 days


#10 posted 11-14-2011 10:17 PM

Nobody mentioned a patternmakers vise.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View KayBee's profile

KayBee

1083 posts in 2712 days


#11 posted 11-14-2011 11:07 PM

The shoulder vise has the face that swivels. There are no guide bars in the way, so you can use the entire surface of the face for clamping. They’re not ‘in fashion’ any more. Most people don’t like how the shoulder sticks out. You keep running into it with your hip : ) Mostly, it depends on you, your style of work and what you’re making.

Try reading “The Workbench Book” by Scott Landis for an good overview of different styles of benches and vises. Christopher Schwarz has two bench books also.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View SeaWitch's profile

SeaWitch

149 posts in 1860 days


#12 posted 11-15-2011 12:31 AM

Thanks so much for everyone’s help. I’d like to have the swivel face on the shoulder vise. Any idea where to get one of those screws with the swivel face? I’m migrating to hand tools, so I think I will really take advantage of the vises.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View Brit's profile

Brit

6733 posts in 2309 days


#13 posted 11-15-2011 01:04 AM

My advice is not to start building your bench until you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each vise design. In my opinion, for hand tool work, you cannot beat a roubo style bench with a wagon vise and a leg vise. These two vises are the best for dimensioning stock by hand. Then add a bench on a bench with a twin screw vise for holding long boards on edge for dovetailing etc. This also raises the height of the workpiece to a height that is comfortable for joinery work.

-- Andy -- "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." (Michelangelo)

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SeaWitch

149 posts in 1860 days


#14 posted 11-15-2011 01:07 AM

Brit, you’re absolutely right, and the Roubo is what I’m going to build after the holidays along with some others on a different ww site. That’s why I’m doing my homework now before deciding on the bench vises.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

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