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Thread: Question for the Vice Squad

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Waterford, MI
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    773

    Question for the Vice Squad

    Well my new Workbench book (Lon Schleining) was in the mail today and I'm a bit overwhelmed at all the vise type choices for the bench ends. I'm going to hit that chapter pretty hard, but thought I'd see what folks opinions are here. I'm just in the research stages of a possible workbench build after my DC install gets wrapped up. This would be used mostly for small/medium furniture type projects. I do some Neander stuff already but would probably do more if I had a proper bench to do it on. The bench front choices aren't giving me any quandaries, just the ends.

    Tail vises
    End vises
    Twin screw vises
    Nyquist vises

    What type's are better suited for what type of work? Is there a clear heirarchy of good/better/best or is each better suited to a particular purpose?

    TIA
    --------------------------------------------
    Link to my ongoing ClearVue DC Install on CV's site: http://www.gallery2.clearvuecyclones...s-Mini-CV1400/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Northville, MI
    Posts
    507
    Forget all that Doug, just buy my antique bench and don't worry about all those vises. It alreay has the tail vise and a face vise.

    Jim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Waterford, MI
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Young View Post
    Forget all that Doug, just buy my antique bench and don't worry about all those vises. It alreay has the tail vise and a face vise.
    No can do. I didn't mention it, but if I can even make a bench fit in the GaShop it's going to have to be on a Noden Adjust-A-Bench single rail frame and raised to max height when not in use, so's I can fit other stuff underneath it. The top will most likely be a DIY affair though.
    --------------------------------------------
    Link to my ongoing ClearVue DC Install on CV's site: http://www.gallery2.clearvuecyclones...s-Mini-CV1400/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,325
    I am of the opinion that workholding is one of the most saturated markets in woodworking. It's so easy to innovate in the field of vise and clamp technology, but that doesn't make it a good thing.

    Awhile back there was an article in Woodworker's Journal (i think) that put Ian Kirby head-to-head with Frank Klause (sp). These two have vastly different views of bench design, some relating to vises.

    The "Frank Bench", as he calls it, has two main vises: A complete shoulder vise and a large tail vise. Plenty of dogs, a nice tool tray and other things. He went all out, using purpleheart and several other species. I'll bet there was well over $1000 in lumber alone. Fancy schmancy. I met Frank at a show not 3-4 months after this article came out and he was very passionate about his choices on this bench. "A shoulder vise is so much better than just a face or front vise," he'd say, "because you can hold any shape 'vithout binding the 'vorks!" I walked away fully intending to build that European masterpiece of his.

    Ian Kirby, on the other hand, basically built a butcher-block table with a small hole in it. A board was slotted onto the leg underneath and would slide up through the hole to work as a stop for planing panels. Ian also put a lone Record front vise on this and that was it. Vastly different looking, very practical and distilled to the barest of essentials. His philosophy is anything you clamp needs to be unclamped before you can change position. His "bench stop" idea makes it possible to completely plane both faces of a board without pausing to unclamp anything. Just flip the board over and hit that stop.

    It's a good thing my bench building plans took a while to come to fruition (I just laid out the joinery today!!). Otherwise I think I'd have continued my original plan of building The Frank Bench (tm). I love Frank's bench. It's incredible to look at. But Ian's simplicity spoke to me, too. I love practical things. I'm a very pragmatic person, almost to a fault.

    So my bench gets the big beefy European style base with room for storage. The top is one thick slab of maple. I'm putting on one front vise and I have my Gramercy holdfasts. My new philosophy is to start simple and use that experience to determine if another vise is really needed. Currently, I am open to possibly buying a second (identical) vise and sticking it on the end should I need an end vise. But for now, I'm sticking with dogs and holdfasts until I feel there's a need for more.

    It's too easy to get caught up in the workholding world. I say this as I gaze fondly at the pile of freshly unpacked Bessey clamps from Amazon. I say this as I await the 2nd shipment of said clamps to arrive. I say this as I now try to figure out where among my existing Bessey collection will another 20 clamps will fit. You can't have too many clamps. The jury's still out on whether you can have too many vises
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    a short distance from my body
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Young View Post
    Forget all that Doug, just buy my antique bench and don't worry about all those vises. It alreay has the tail vise and a face vise.
    Jim, I can't believe someone has not bought your bench yet. It is like owning a piece of history. If only I lived a little closer.
    rick
    "I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." - Kurt Vonnegut

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