Bench vise suggestions...

Armed with a large cup of coffee, several plans printed off the internet and a copy of "The Workbench Book" I proceeded to shamelessly steal and mix a bunch of ideas together to create my future bench this morning. As of now, the base for the new workbench is roughed out and dry fitted. What really needs to happen next is I have to make some decisions on the vises before I build the top. I've done some research here, but would like to get some opinions to help with the final decision. So far, the Veritas twin screw looks good for the tail, (unless anyone has another suggestion to look into), so the dilemma is mainly on the front vise. The "Tucker" vise from Lee Valley looks like the cadillac of vises, but also has a cadillac price of $550, there are imported knockoff patternmakers vises for less, but I'm unsure if I need a patternmakers vise anyway. I prefer hand cut joinery, and am learning to carve so the vice should be able to accommodate those tasks. Also, I'm not against just buying a screw and building the jaws. Anyone have a suggestion or preference I can look into? Any input appreciated. --dave
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 04:48:15 +0000, Dave Jackson wrote:

Lessons I've learned, DAMHIKTs, and ideas for the future:
o Don't skimp on the front vise. A 6" is too small. o Don't use oak for the pads on your vises. o Think about a dedicated mounting spot for carver's chops or a carving screw. First doghole in from the front vise is a nice spot. o Put a Shaker style peg board somewhere along the front. (TWB) o Think about making a bench slave out of the same stock you make your bench from. (TWB) o Prepare a dedicated spot for your occasional metal work. _Don't_ try to use your front vise. (Installed my new Record 6" metalwork vise today. $58 off ebay including shipping. Shoulda gotten one long ago.) o Do make the end-mounted crosscut doohickey in TWB. Put one on each end of the bench. o Don't even think of making blind dogholes. They just fill up with sawdust. o Install an adjustable planing stop, also in TWB. Sometimes your dogs are just too tall. o Put a strip of adhesive ruler tape along the front edge of the bench. Put it all over your shop. Great stuff. o Get some naugahyde or thick plastic to use as a tablecloth for those times you're doing something really nasty, like stripping paint. o If you're a normite, make a little table to sit on your bench so you have an in- or outfeed table for your big iron.
Have fun.
--
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
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My preference is to go with what I was used to growing up. A nice big 12" record vise located at the front left side of the bench and a swivelling metal working vise located at the right end of the bench. Of course, if someone has multiple benches to configure, then that changes things, but until then, it's my pleasure and comfort I'm concerned with when it comes to time in the workshop.
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Australopithecus scobis wrote in

    I use oak pads for my vises, but I also cover them in thick (3/16") leather to prevent scuff marks plus the leather grips better than bare wood so you don't have to tighten the vise as hard for the same holding power.
--
Michael Burton
Thunderbird Hardwoods
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My bench has three vises. The seven foot bench has two wilton quick release vises with dogs and the other end has an Emmert's pattern makers vice. The bench dogs align with the two wiltons . I faced them with Wenge after stripping them and painting them. They were bought at the flea market for $17 each. I am not sure I ever used the dogs to clamp but got plenty of use from the two vises. Then, I brought the Emmert's home from the tool swap. I am not sure I have used the Wiltons in the years since I installed the Emmerts. max

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Having just built the Fine Woodworking bench, I bought a small woodworking vise for use as a tail vise with a row of 3/4 inch holes on the bench in line with the lift up on the vise. For the front vise I bought a terrible Chinese copy at Woodcraft. It is a big vise with enormous screw but it bends and flops like a dying mackrel. I made the 3/4 inch holes on the drillpress so they are nice and smooth. The dogs have a short angled cutout at the top to lock the wood being held. This works well as opposed to tilting the holes as in the FWW design. I wish I had spent more on the front vise! Dave

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If I couldn't find a proper QR Record or the antique I have I would buy one of these (larger for me): http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p1137&cat=1,41659,41661&ap=1 There are QR ones like the LV ones that are made in Germany at Woodcraft too. I bought two of these, tail vise screws: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pA664&cat=1,41659 The acme type threading on these is the kind you want as opposed to that shallow slanted Chinese threading so I imagine their vise is as good. Made by the same people in Slovakia. SOLIDLY made too.
Mine was made by American Scale Co. KC. MO. model 204, I think in the 1800's. The size of the iron jaws are 4" down by 7" wide and about a 12" - 14" opening without wood jaw faces. Has a quick action that disengages the lead screw from the 1/3 nut (1/5 - 1/4 nut?) by a certain position of the handle, all the way to the right. 28 lbs. of iron and it definitely don't flop around like any fish out of water. $20 with a spacer from a junk shop. If you do that just make sure it has the ?/? nut inside.
Vises just like this are still made by http://www.milwmal.com/home.htm under the Morgan brand name, and something close by Wilton (I think).
Vises in woodworking are a lot to think about so good luck!
--
Alex
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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...also if I did buy it, I would mount it as spaced further downwards from the lower side of the bench top so as to create more depth in the jaws, the tops of the jaws need to be flush with the top of the bench to accomodate... you should consider jaws with dog holes for this type of front vise too, I'll do that myself.
--
Alex
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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wrote:

The $550 price is a bit steep, at least for my budget. I have the 9.5 Record vise (made in England). It doesn't have a stop, I'm not sure if I'd use one that much. I do like the quick release feature a lot. It was about $120.
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I'd definitely recommend a tail vise. Once you get used to a tail vise and dogs you will not be able to live without one. I built mine sort of like the "Fortune vise" design in The Workbench Book, but instead using commercially available sliding vise hardware such as Lee Valley #70G09.01.
For economy's sake, I use a beech-lined Chinese quick release clamp front vise. It's a clone of a Record vise. The expense of a patternmaker's vise would be difficult for me to justify since the front vise is rarely used compared to the tail vise.
Here's a pic of the workbench I built: http://home.earthlink.net / ~nateperkins1/Woodworking/projects/workbench04/P8260198.JPG
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That dovetail pin work is really sharp on the tail vise Nate. On the actual jaw face it prevents wood from wearing down over time around any laminated glue lines. Cool work. Starting to think here, about faces for my tail vise jaws.
--
Alex
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Hi Alex,
Have you seen the article showing end vise construction in the Fine Woodworking April 2003 issue?
It's a lot more detailed than the "Fortune vise" plan in The Workbench Book, and the Fine Woodworking plan is adapted to use off-the-shelf sliding vise hardware.
It was certainly a great help to me; I copied large parts of it.
Regards, Nate
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