I am ready to build my first workbench. I bought a Taunton book and
will probably be making a 'traditional' style bench, but it will most
likely have a MDF or similar top. Where I am stuck is the vise(s), is
there a vise that someone can recommend that is between
I don't think I need the quick release feature and I could easily be
convinced to build the vise using a bench screw but they seem to be as
high priced as the vises.
I don't expect this to be the last bench I build just one good enough
to hold pieces firmly until I develop my skills. I want it to have a
face vise and a tail vise or at least a sliding dog clamp (forgive the
terminology). Trying to plane/scrape a 36x36 maple panel is the
motivator for building this bench. It is amazing how easy it is to
push a contractor saw with CI wings and a 2" thick Oak outfeed table
with a No 4 plane.
I got lucky and was given two vintage vises by a friend so I can't
speak about new ones. But now that I've used both kinds I can say that
the quick release is not a trivial thing to leave out. For some reason
I end up needing the vise jaws far apart one minute and close together
the next, just about constantly, and I sure got tired of cranking on
that other vise before I replaced it with a quickrelease.
I think my bottom line recommendation is if your budget demands it go
ahead and get the one without QR but I'd start saving quarters - or
maybe watching ebay and craigslist - for a quickrelease vise because
they save you a lot more work and time than you might think.
Oh, and if you're going to be installing it in an mdf top, glue a
piece of solid wood underneath the mdf to mount the vise to. It'll
hold the screws better.
I have this one and I like it a lot. (Note the wood handle)
I added soft maple pads. It's currently on my assembly bench. I plan
to move it to an saw makin' area soon...
I have two Record vises (too bad they're outa bizness); maybe you can
find a used one. Jorgenson makes quick-release vises (as well as
wonderful clamps). I have used one and liked it. The Wilton is
probably good, too.
If they are out of business, I wonder who makes them. You can still buy
This old one was waaaaaayyy to steep for my blood:
Irwin bought Record and closed them pretty promptly. There's still
plenty of old stock around in the UK though.
I wouldn't buy any woodworking vice except a Record, Paramo, Woden or
Parkinson's Perfect of similar style. For the ones the OP posted, the
first is just a joke - far too small, a bit flimsy, but mainly it
doesn't have enough clearance between the guide bars and the ends of the
jaws. It's just no use for anything beyond miniature-making.
The second is nice (single large guide bar gives more clearance) but
it's also $200. You shouldn't pay less for a cheap copy, because single
bar vices need to be well made or else they're rattletraps.
Since I built myself a bench with moving bench dogs in the top (with a
bought-in steel vice screw in oak frames) then I've rarely used a vice
for woodworking at all. The dogs are generally much better.
I've never bought a new woodworking vice. Round here old Records
practically grow on trees. They survive well and old ones restore quite
easily. New maple jaw faces are a good idea though (use MDF if you have
to, but fit _something_).
I've also got any number of metalworking vices (literally ton quantities
going for scrap in the past), but I have found myself buying Czech-made
swivel-base or two-axis rotating vices, just because they're affordable,
well made and more flexible than a classic English metalworking bench
vice. Whatever you get, get some some vice jaws too (red fibre, plastic
or even lead).
Get a vice with a wooden bar handle, not steel. If you do have heavy
steel, wrap rubber bands around just before the end knobs. Your trapped
fingers beneath a falling handle will thank you...
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.
Lee Valley Tools sells front mounted metal vises. They appear to be a knock
off of the Record vises and I can't comment on their quality, but
considering the excellent customer service that LV provides, buying one of
these maybe worthwhile Record replacements.
You definitely don't want the 20 buck Pony--I've got one and it's not
even a good doorstop.
If you can afford 200 bucks spend another 20 and get one of these
In between one of these
http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyIDI39 should do nicely.
I've posted on this before, but I _wouldn't_ want one of those as my
only vice. A friend and I build his new bench a while back and fitted
one. It;'s a great vice for all that twisty-turny stuff, but for
day-in-day-out woodworking then it's just not as quick and convenient as
a simple flat-jawed metal vice. You keep trying to put things in it
straight, only to find the jaws have tilted on you or something. Rather
than one handle, you're juggling three of them.
Maybe a Frank Klausz bench with moving dogs and a wooden vice, then one
of these patternmakers' attached somewhere woould be ideal?
When I wanted to build my bench, there happened to be a Garrett Wade
catalog on the desk. I bought theirs, for maybe $120 delivered. Not
cheap, but it's lasted well so far, and should, for several more
generations, both of people and benches.
I built a 'make this bench for $200' bench from Popular Woodworking, using
kd construction lumber and cabinet ply for the top. Laminated three layers
for the top, it's pretty solid. I built another couple of benches with
similar structure, and 'oops' doors from the door shop. Really solid fire-
rated mdf, with veneer on them. Easily worth the $10 I spent on each one.
The vise, a good one, will last, as far as you're concerned, 'forever'. A
cheap one, not so much so. The rest is your choice.
I have the 9" Shop Fox, 2 years now, no problems. RIGHTTOOL.COM has it for 59 bucks on sale.
<DIV>I am ready to build my first workbench. I bought a Taunton book
and<BR>will probably be making a 'traditional' style bench, but it will
most<BR>likely have a MDF or similar top. Where I am stuck is the
vise(s), is<BR>there a vise that someone can recommend that is between<BR><A
href="http://tinyurl.com/2smz6c ">http://tinyurl.com/2smz6c </A><BR>and<BR><A
href="http://tinyurl.com/38wryh ">http://tinyurl.com/38wryh </A></DIV>
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Ray, I saw one recently that would probably fit that description ... I'm
contemplating building it myself. It uses pipe clamps in lieu of
standard vises and a 'v' arrangement for holding wood for working on the
edge. You might want to look at it as an 'on the cheap' (but sturdy and
versatile) alternative to massive European style benches.
You MAY need a Taunton subscription. I decided it was worth the price of
I am disillusioned enough to know that no man's opinion on any subject
is worth (much) unless backed up with enough genuine information to make
That bench is shown in the book I bought which has been very helpful
Also searching the archives came up with a countertop from IKEA that I
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