On Sun, 4 Apr 2004 18:00:22 -0600, "Guy LaRochelle"
My main bench (Tage Frid design) has a shoulder vice and a movable dog
in the tail vice. Both are hand-made in timber (3" x 4" oak) with
factory steel screws.
A shoulder vice is good for awkward items, and it allows you to put
tall things in it vertically. However it's otherwise a poor vice for
clamping. It works on my bench, but only because I usually work
If you get an English pattern face vice, get a big one. The downside
of such a vice is the guide bars in the middle that prevent you
holding things vertically. Go for a big one so you get some space at
the side. Fit wooden faces too.
An Emmett pattern patternmaker's vice is handy, and quite affordable
for the modern Taiwanese repros. A great second vice, they're not so
good as an only vice. They're always on the skew, so they're less
rapid to clamp up square things, which is after all what you do most
of the time. They're also difficult to mount rigidly on some types of
My "tail" vice has an L-shaped moving jaw, which gives me a "notch"
vice in the front edge. More usefully though, it carries a row of
moving dog holes. These turned out to be more use than any vice I've
I'm unconvinced by tail vices. The L shaped wooden sort isn't a vice
and shouldn't be used as one. As Tage Frid pointed out, this puts
racking forces into the joints and distorts it from sliding smoothly.
Don't use the back "jaw" as a vice on the end of the bench.
I also have no use for a tail vice, because there just isn't space
around my wall-standing bench to work on the end of it. Maybe if you
have a free-standing island bench, then YMMV.
If I did have a tail vice, I'd probably go for a twin screw with easy
independent adjustability. I only have one row of dog holes and I
really wish I had two (given how useful the first row has turned out
The frame of my bench is 4" deep, which is about right for rigidity
and for getting a clamp over it. My other bench is stiffened by a
vertical apron on the front, which made it unusable for clamping - bad