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Thread: Vise Discussion

  1. #1
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    Vise Discussion

    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 which you had? The sliding tail vise, for example, looks so small....I don't see the great benefit of it.

    thanks
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
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    Cynthia,

    my only woodworking vise is an old Craftsman quick release with the number 391.5195 cast on the front. It's about 10" wide and opens to about 12" (but about 10.5" if I have the 3/4" wood jaws installed.) I paid about $90 for it with shipping from the mainland USA.

    I think I have attached a picture of it mounted on my little workbench. It has been a good vise for the woodworking I do. My greatest experience has been with machinist vises, and I used them for woodwork too, although not as well.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have never had a bench to have a tail vise so I can't comment on them.

    Hope this little information helps you some. I like the one I have and would recommend one like it.

    Aloha, Tony
    Last edited by Tony Baideme; 11-14-2011 at 09:43 PM.
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  3. #3
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    cynthia i also have one like tonysand WILL PUT ANOTHER ONE like it one the other end of my bench..at 90 degrees to it...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
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    I think any discussions about workbenches and their vises need to be made with an understanding of what type of work you intend to perform on them. What vise may work for Tony and Larry may not work for the type of work I do. The pros and cons would depend on what type of woodworking you intend on doing and what tools/techniques you intend to utilize on this bench. How about telling us what you see yourself doing on this bench, then we can respond better.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
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    Cynthia
    I had a great discussion with Stu about his new bench when I was there a few weeks ago. He recommended a comprehensive book "Workbenches" by Christopher Schwartz, that saved him a lot of head-scratching and re-inventing. I'm getting ready to order one.
    I predict Stu will jump in here as soon as he gets his morning chores done
    Peter

  6. #6
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    Mine is about the same as Tony's. I have a couple of machinist vices mounted on a cleat that I clamp into it when I need them. I've never really needed anything more.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  7. #7
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    Cynthia i tend to agree with Bill.

    And Peter has made a very good point. I got the book from the library and it was very useful. Not a book i felt i needed to own.

    But here is the things to think.
    Revelation to me was recognising that a workbench was for holding things while you work on them. I refer to clamping securing aid.
    Then the vise plays a role in this feature.
    In my view it cannot be separated from the bench and your intended purpose.
    A pure hand tool guy/girl thats gonna cut and mil their wood all by hand is going to be very interested in how quick, easy, secure and non marking the vise is going to be. This is where i personally think the leg vise as shown and produced by benchcraft is a wonderful option. I tried copying it but its not quiet possible with a bar type handle.
    This same woodworker would probably want a tailvise on the end of their bench specifically for holding wood in a different manner for cutting joints with the wood held tight and low in the vise.
    I was lucky and given an old Canadian made quick release vise. Like the one shown in the posts earlier these are the general go to vise for woodworkers. They are generally recessed into the face of the bench and allow for wood bothsides so as no to have metal on wood anywhere. I even went ahead and added leather to my extended width wooden jaws. My jury is still out on this. Also to the idea of a leg vise. Remember for a leg vise you have to set a pin on the bottom runner before you tighten it. That could get stale when one gets a lot older. And i think this is an element to be onsidered seriously. A vise is not generally something we all think of in terms of upgrading. So we end up living with less than comfy clamping.
    In my case i am also a diyer around the home and lately mechanic At least my son thinks so.
    For this purpose i need an engineers type vice with cross hatched curved towards each other jaws. But did not want this mounted permanently on my work bench. The answer was to mount it on a thick made up wooden base with an added piece to clamp it in my woodworking quick release bench vise. You probably can get tjis feature through glassman so you can eliminate that config if vise.
    My suggestion is get a decent bench vise but one that has a smooth functioning quick release. Plan a workbench at the same time and mount it on the long end.
    Then look carefully at a Benchcraft legvise for the long side and consider adding eithee a dead man or holes in he leg other end where the vise is mounted.
    This will cater for most common needs.
    But dont forget hold downs and bench dogs are equally important as a part of securing your workpiece and i would argue more important than a vise if you use many power tools as opposed to hand tools.
    Hope this helps.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
    cheers

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Rideout View Post
    Cynthia
    I had a great discussion with Stu about his new bench when I was there a few weeks ago. He recommended a comprehensive book "Workbenches" by Christopher Schwartz, that saved him a lot of head-scratching and re-inventing. I'm getting ready to order one.
    I predict Stu will jump in here as soon as he gets his morning chores done
    Peter
    I really do think that the $20 this book costs is well worth it, it has a place on my shelf for sure. I have found that there is more info in this book than you can cover in one read, and I think that buying the book supports an author who is well worth supporting. Certainly if you can find it at your local library, borrow it and give it a look, but for me owning it has been a good investment.

    I have a Record BIG quick release vice that I mounted on the end of my workbench, I use it all the time, and I also have dog holes in my bench that line up with this, very useful for holding stuff. I build a bench vice which I also very much like, it does not get used as much as the end vice, but when I use it, it certainly is nice to have. While I very much love the innovation of the benchcraft leg vice, the price is out of my range, a good bench screw from LV and some wood and I have a VERY good leg vice that is easy to use.

    Before we get talking about vices on your bench, we need to talk about your bench, what are you planing to build for a bench?

    I LOVE my Roubo style bench, I think I'd give up my SawStop before I'd give up my bench!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
    I guess I chime in also. Every one has given good advic
    Here are some pictures Of my work bench.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Everything I have posted on here has been built on this bench. One thing you'll notice that's missing is a vice. For the type of work I do I have not missed having a vice one bit.

    LIke I said this bench gets used for everything. I've done veneering, door and cabinet assembly, stain and finishing, welding and rebuilt motors and other mechanical work.

    For me it lacks nothing!

    Just be honest with yourself about what how you intend to use the bench. I would love to build a bench like Stu has but it wouldn't be as versatile for what I do and my bench wouldn't work for him for how he works and what he builds.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Bienlein View Post
    Just be honest with yourself about what how you intend to use the bench. I would love to build a bench like Stu has but it wouldn't be as versatile for what I do and my bench wouldn't work for him for how he works and what he builds.
    Good advice! And I agree about Chris Schwarz's book on benches. It is a great resource and probably the best place to start.

    I think the answer for me is more than one bench, with each tailored to a different set of tasks. I am just finishing up one bench and have plans for two others in the works. One bench to perform all possible tasks has to have compromises that don't make it ideal for many uses. Holding and securing the work is more important to someone that applies the tool to the wood as opposed to applying the wood to the tool (machine). All these questions about what is the best bench, vise or whatever most be taken in context to what you are building and what type of tools you use (machine vs hand tools, etc). There are too many paths in woodworking to assume one way is the right way. Having more than one bench with different holdfast options are more important to me than having room for a giant slider type table saw, but that is only the priority in my woodworking which probably is not the same as most in this forum.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

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