Workbench vices

Thanks for all the help and information regarding workbench tops. Now that the project is well underway and the frame is complete I went to purchase 2 vices today. I had decided on a pair of 9" Record vices, plain screw with dogs, for both the main and the tail vice.
Both places I tried didn't have the 9" in stock. The second place had a 7" and a 10 1/2" but the bigger one had a damaged handle -- slightly bent. I couldn't see that was any detriment. I finally persuaded the guy to let me have the bigger one at the same price as the 7" one.
Question now is -- which vice do I use as the tail vice?
I am minded to use the bigger one as the tail vice as it has a wider jaw opening and it is the heavier of the two.
Any views from the team?
Many thanks.
Malcolm Webb
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On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 20:25 +0000 (GMT Standard Time), snipped-for-privacy@cix.co.uk (Malcolm Webb) wrote:

Big one on the front as the face vice.
I see no usefulness in tail vices. What's sometimes useful is a "notch in the front edge" vice, which could be emulated by a small tail vice, so long as the jaw edge is flush with the bench's long edge.
What I really find most useful on my bench (a Tage Frid) isn't the vices, but the ability to clamp between a fixed and moving dog. My next bench will have two rows of dog holes.
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You guys better not let your local vice squads hear you've got vices...LOL...I think you mean vise. Happy Holidays. Joe
Andy Dingley wrote:

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I bought an old Emmert Pattern maker's vice a few years ago. This one is called a turtle back because of the cover on the front. This vice is amazing. It is 18 inches wide, 7 or 8 inches high and weighs around 80 pounds. The top jaws have recessed dogs, are able to pivot to grab a tapered piece and the whole vise assembly rotates 360 degrees. There are click stops every 45 degrees. The bottom side of the jaws have a set of metal working jaws. Not only does the vise rotate around but it pivots up bringing the jaws 45 degrees to the bench. This old piece of jewelry was made before 1905 (because of the turtleback). They were made after 1905 for several decades. It is worth searching for one of these because it is the only vise you will ever need. One of the companies now makes one and I think it is around $250. max

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Friend of mine has a modern copy of the non-turtleback. It's a bit annoying because it doesn't have click stops and the jaws are often non-square when you want them square. Is this a problem with an original ?
It's a very good second vice - I'd hate it as my only vice.
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    Greetings and Salutations....
On Thu, 25 Nov 2004 03:02:52 +0000, Andy Dingley

    yea, I finally got one myself about a year ago. I *REALLY* like it.

    Hum...one of the strengths of the Emmert vises IS their ability to angle to hold tapered pieces firmly. Unfortunately this can be a weakness too. However, having said that, I find that with mine, if I close it, and adjust the taper so that the jaws contact all the way across, it holds that parallel setting quite well.     Now...to REALLY do it...One needs to cut a spacer of appropriate size for the side of the jaws AWAY from the work. In other (perhaps unnecessary) words, if you are clamping a 3" chunk of wood on ONE side of the vice...cut a 3" chunk of 2x4 stock and put it in the OPPOSITE side of the vise.

    Actually, I think they should be kept alive for a long, long time....     Regards     Dave Mundt     
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snipped-for-privacy@peoplepc.com wrote:

Never mind the vice squad. Just think of all the trouble when SWMBO finds out about that "tail vice".
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
Get a copy of my NEW AND IMPROVED TrollFilter for NewsProxy/Nfilter by sending email to autoresponder at filterinfo-at-milmac-dot-com You must use your REAL email address to get a response.
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Would you use one of those on a piece of ash?
GTO(John)
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wrote:

no, he means vice.
he's a brit. if he was you, he'd mean vise, or draw heat, but he's not you, so he doesn't.
'aint engrish great?

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I too am considering vises for my new workbench. What do you mean by "the ability to clamp between a fixed and moving dog?" Thanks in advance Dave

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Ever see the rectangular holes running down the length of the bench? You put a dog (or a piece of wood) in these holes and the vises at the end of the bench has a dog that pushes the work between the fixed dog on the bench and the moveable dog in the vise. By shifting the dog to different holes on the bench you get different clamping ranges. max

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On Wed, 24 Nov 2004 20:21:08 -0500, "Dave W"

Most of what I work on is a flat board of timber, where I'm doing something to the face or one end. Clamping in a face vice is good for working on an edge, but not so hot for holding it surface uppermost.
My last bench is a Tage Frid, the Scandanavian pattern. http://www.codesmiths.com/shed/workshop/bench.htm Big shoulder vice on the left (which I don't much like) and a constructed wooden L-shaped tail vice on the right.
It's not the same as the Frank Klaus German-style design, because that has a face vice instead of a shoulder vice. The rest is similar though (with hindsight, I'd go for that face vice) http://pages.friendlycity.net/~krucker/Bench/Design-Top.htm
For the tail vice, imagine a piece of the bench's front rail which is sawn out, then arranged to slide back and forth sideways. There are three ways to hold things with this vice. It gives me a 4" tall 6" deep notch in the front edge, between the ends of the edge rails. Handy for working on "the ends of upright sticks".
You can also clamp things behind the vice screw, in the "classic" position for a tail vice. Frid condemns this, as distorting the frame of the vice, and I agree. I also can't see why I'd ever want to clamp something here - lots of people seem to mount a "tail vice" like this, partially copying some features of the European bench, but they're copying the accidental mis-feature and missing the good bit !
The _really_ useful way to use a European bench is with a pair of bench dogs. You use the tail vice as a movable dog and clamp work between dogs on the upper face and edge.
This position has a lot of advanges over clamping in a face vice. Most woodworking forces are downward, so they're supported directly by the benchtop. The support is along the whole length of the workpiece, not just in the vice, so there's no problem with it twisting up or down. The clamp forces are from the ends, so there's little problem with clamp pad marks. Best of all, you have open access to the whole top surface, with no protruding clamps.
You need good height-adjustable dogs for this, so you can plane over the tops of them. They need to have sharp top edges, not the old mushrooms of English dogs, adjusted with a mallet. These dogs should be made in sets, from good hardwood (beech or maple) and with a bowed ash spring on the side. Wooden are better than metal, because one day you _will_ plane the top of one.
If you want downward clamping, it's easy to slip a G clamp over the bench edge. Learning from my last bench (with a deep apron below the benchtop) this one has an apron that's 4" deep and 2" thick. This is thick enough to be strong (in both axes) and shallow enough to have a clamp slipped over it (in either axis). It also gives a 4" deep dog hole for stability.
This design of shoulder vice is somewhat complicated to make and less than convincing for mechanical strength. The problem is the lateral offset between the screw and the dog holes / end face. This is a mechanical shear and obviously less than ideal. The oldest known bench vice design didn't have this trouble - a screw embedded in the bench top worked a dog directly through a slot in the benchtop. It's known from a Nrnberg woodcut of 1505 - why not celebrate 500 years of European bench innovation by building one ?
My next bench (if ever) would have the same top as my current one (2" thick 4" wide oak, beech or maple strips and the same 4" deep front apron. I'd fit a wide face vice to the left though and fit two independent "dog track" clamping systems to the right hand tail, one on the face, one maybe 18" behind. These would have independent screws set in the bench top, direct acting in-line with the dogs.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On Thu, 25 Nov 2004 02:57:53 +0000, Andy Dingley

Andy, you don't know how much I enjoyed that article. Finding out that I'm not the only one to have a multi-year project tickles me to no end. ;) Nice work, BTW. I trust you planed off that chipout on the tail vise (oops, "vice" Over There) end.
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On Thu, 25 Nov 2004 06:27:10 -0800, Larry Jaques
Thanks. Lousy photos though - must get a better camera

Which bit ? If you mean the top left corner of this, then it's deliberate.
http://www.codesmiths.com/shed/workshop/photos/bench_tailvice_dovetail.jpg
I fumed all the front-to-back timbers ages ago, when I first made the top. I then had to do some more cutting work on the tail vice parts.
The front apron rail is 4" deep x 2" front-to-back. The sliding vice is wider than this - the back of it is open, where the vice screw runs. There's a 1/2" thick cover plate over the top of both, and this "chip" is the dovetail to hold down the end of the cover strip.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On Thu, 25 Nov 2004 14:45:37 +0000, Andy Dingley

Most of the pics are fairly clear. It beats a lot of photo work out there. My own photos would be better if I replaced the damned cheaparse (electronic ballasted but tube-killing) fluor lights I got a few years ago. I've already gone through an entire 30-pc. box of tubes for four 2-tube fixtures.

No, this one, where the middle/unfumed piece is chipped a bit:
http://www.codesmiths.com/shed/workshop/photos/bench_dovetail_together.jpg
That was taken raw, before gluing and shaving.

I'd feel comfortable doing larger dovies like that with this new ryoba saw but not with the older French-made LVT dovie saw. Pullsaws are MADE for dovies.
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On Thu, 25 Nov 2004 11:16:33 -0800, Larry Jaques

Ah, that's actually the shoulder vice. Yes, I think that's just the first dry assembly and I planed it down later.
Stupidly I marked out and cut the tail vices as blind dovetails, which are a total PITA to cut because you can't saw them. I only needed to do the vice face end as blind, I could have done the frame end as a through dovetail
--
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Hi Dave,
Frequently you'll see a single or double row of fixed holes in the benchtop, that are sized to hold a removeable dog peg that goes in the hole. There's a corresponding hole located in the tail vise, which is designed to be moveable and is usually on the right side of the bench. By placing benchdogs in either end and tightening the tail vise, you can clamp a wide board or part face-up on the benchtop. In addition, the tail vise usually has a fairly broad face that can be used to clamp a board vertically along the front of the bench.
Having an tail vise really changed my method for work, and now I use my tail vise much more often than my face vise.
If you are considering a tail vise, I really recommend using some of the modern sliding tail vise hardware (available from Lee Valley or Woodcraft). It greatly simplifies the business of making the tail vise because you can omit the traditional double runner system. It is installed similarly to the "Fortune" bench designs as described in "The Workbench Book" by Landis.
Here are a few pics of the bench I built so you might see what I mean: http://home.earthlink.net/~nateperkins1/Woodworking/projects/workbench04.htm
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...you mean besides the glass of bourbon and can of snuff???

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Thanks all for the replies. My confusion was really over the words. I had never distinguished between holding a piece in the vise and using a fixed and moving dog to hold the piece. Great pictures all around. I am leaning towards a Woodcraft end vise. Dave

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