Dumb question? Tail vises?

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Forum topic by mart posted 09-20-2008 01:24 PM 2943 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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190 posts in 3653 days

09-20-2008 01:24 PM

Please forgive my ignorance but in my research to design and build a workbench I notice most tail vises close all the way on the side but not on the end, leaving a gap between the end of the bench and the vise face. Why is this? Would the vise not be more versatile if both sides of the vise closed tight to their respective mating surfaces? I notice the Nyquist vise as illustrated in Schleining’s, “The Workbench”, closes tighly on both surfaces so am at a loss as to why other tail vises have the gap.


5 replies so far

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3816 days

#1 posted 09-21-2008 02:33 AM

I made mine to close on both surfaces, and use both. It takes a little bit more time and finesse in the construction, but is well worth it IMHO.


-- Go

View BigBob's profile


64 posts in 3518 days

#2 posted 11-13-2008 10:42 PM

If you look at my recent blog entry ,you can see the entire construction of my workbench, and how I built the end vise.
I think that you are talking about the L shape end vise. I thought about that, but the reason I did not include the L is that it causes the vise to rack. It was never intended to act as two vises i.e. against the end of the workbench and inline with the bench.
You can build it that way and it looks nice, but it will eventually cause havoc with the end vise. I adjusted my vise to close against a piece of paper evenly across the gap to the workbench. If you use an L shape and use the L against the end of your bench to clamp with, it will never close evenly.
Just IMO.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3991 days

#3 posted 11-13-2008 11:12 PM

I agree with Bob. If you look at my bench in my projects you will see that my end vise is just on the end. It still wracks and I probably should install a better quality vise.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View mart's profile


190 posts in 3653 days

#4 posted 11-14-2008 01:34 AM

Guys those are great benches. Thanks for sharing with me. I will most likely end up doing mine out of Alaskan birch since I have plenty of it. I am having some sawed this winter into thicker stock for the bench. I have been playing with a design for a simple non racking tail vise. When I get done with the project I am on now, I will draft it up from my sketches, scan it and post it here for your comments. I have been reading everything I can on building and designing benches and have a pretty good idea now what I want in a bench though that may change yet before I get started.


View RJM60's profile


1 post in 2966 days

#5 posted 12-14-2012 10:59 PM

My 2 cents:

I know this post is old but I’m about to build a new workbench and I’ve been doing a lot of research. I don’t know if I read this someplace, or just came to the conclusion on my own, but (I believe) the reason the L-shape was added to the tail vice was to provide additional width for guides. The addition of (wooden) guides reduce, or eliminate, racking problems arising from the offset between the leadf screw and the dog holes. Modern tail vice hardware (i.e. machined steel plates) are made so accurately the L-shape is not needed. Since the intended purpose for the L-shape was to make the tail vice work better, there was no need to make it close tightly against the end of the bench. Intentionally leaving a gap insures that the front portion of the tail vice makes contactg first (i.e. no racking, better clamping) and, by reducing the clamping area, makes it much easier to re-face the (front) clamping surface when needed.

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