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
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
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.
"Keep your ass behind you"
vladimir a t mad scientist com
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
If I couldn't find a proper QR Record or the antique I have I would buy one
of these (larger for me):
There are QR ones like the LV ones that are made in Germany at Woodcraft
too. I bought two of these, tail vise screws:
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!
...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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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