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Chairman of the 'Board
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I've seen and used plenty of vices in my time, but frankly, most of them are suitable for working with metals. I apprenticed in UF's Chemistry Machine Shop for four years, so I am comfortable with them. Currently, I have two Parrot Vises, a couple of very small tool vises and one for my drill press.


Yeah, the Parrot vise is my all time favorite. Originally designed for gun smiths, it can be used in the traditional manner or put on it's side to deal with more vertical jobs.

But, now that I am getting into woodworking and about to build a bench, I want to heart about your favorite or even least favorite vise. What vise can't you live without? What vise was a waste of money? Don't forget to tell us why!
 

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My first vise was a metal vise.

My first woodworking vise was a front mount steel quick release vise, similar to the largest of these.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=49980&cat=1,41659

Pro is quick to release and tension.
Con is the limited depth of the piece to be held. The screw/guides are close together so not easy to use for vertical clamping.

My second woodworking vise is the larger of these.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/Wood/page.aspx?p=31137&cat=1,41659,41661&ap=1

I use this vise a lot.

Pro, wide jaws. I will be able to mount dogs in the jaws, just have not done so yet. Wide spacing between screw and guides will allow easier vertical clamping. Wood jaws are forgiving it I hit them with tools.
Con. Not quick release, so takes a little longer to screw or unscrew.

Flower_vase_trimming_corner_rear_1892.jpg
 

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I started out with an old standard face vise; two guide rods, single screw, probably about eight inches wide. It worked, but it was never especially stable.

When I built my first woodworking bench, I decided on a leg vise, and I'm not sure I could go back to a regular vise now. I bought a screw from WoodCraft (it nearly doubled the price of the bench!), and it will open to about 15". The screw is around 8" down from the top of the bench, so I can clamp a pretty significant piece above it, or I can run a longer piece all the way down the leg of the bench and clamp it on one side of the vice only. Aside from getting around to gluing in a leather pad, the only change I would make is the wood used: I used a piece of 2x6, since it's what I had, and if I really crank down the whole chop bends.
 

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I started out with an old standard face vise; two guide rods, single screw, probably about eight inches wide. It worked, but it was never especially stable.

When I built my first woodworking bench, I decided on a leg vise, and I'm not sure I could go back to a regular vise now. I bought a screw from WoodCraft (it nearly doubled the price of the bench!), and it will open to about 15". The screw is around 8" down from the top of the bench, so I can clamp a pretty significant piece above it, or I can run a longer piece all the way down the leg of the bench and clamp it on one side of the vice only. Aside from getting around to gluing in a leather pad, the only change I would make is the wood used: I used a piece of 2x6, since it's what I had, and if I really crank down the whole chop bends.
I did almost exactly the same thing when I built my bench. The only difference being, I used a 2 x 8 piece of oak for the chop. It should be about an inch thicker.
 

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My leg vise is two 4/4 ash boards face glued together. I've not noticed it flex, which could be due to the lamination being more resistant to bending, but I've also not had it terribly long.
 

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Wood Snob
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I'm not sure what most call the vises on my bench but I do like them both. The main vise is craftsman's best and I wish I had purchased a Record or another brand. This one has worn and the quick release sticks. I built the bench over 25 years ago and knew better at the time but bought it anyway. I'm going to replace it sometime and will pick up another quick release type.

The vise in the top is very useful but I'm sure there are other configurations that may give you more ways to clamp a board. It was in the bench design and it fits my needs.

If I were you I would buy the best vise you can. It's you shop buddy you will build everything with. My bench is my best friend.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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First Look: Veritas Inset Vise

***Beautiful bench Al!

This is the vise I use. It's high quality and relatively inexpensive.

It is a first vise for me. In part I bought it because I have a small shop needed to add an end vise to my very large router table top that has to serve as my bench.


First Look: Veritas Inset Vise

Categories: Chris Schwarz Blog • Schwarz on Workbenches • Woodworking Blogs Christopher Schwarz | November 19, 2010


inset1_IMG_9376.jpg



inset2_IMG_9377.jpg


I don’t know why “wagon vises” have their name, but I know that I like them.

Wagon vises don’t have the sagging problems that some tail vises have in their middle age, they give you more of your benchtop back for pounding and are generally more compact. The only real problem with wagon vises was that they didn’t really exist in the modern world. No one made them.

Jameel Abraham of Benchcrafted changed that in 2006 when he began manufacturing bench hardware (which I purchased and installed on my 2005 Roubo workbench).

Now Lee Valley has entered the wagon vise market with the Veritas Inset Vise, an $89 piece of hardware that screws into a recess in your benchtop. I’ve had a prototype of the Veritas Inset Vise on a mocked-up benchtop since the spring. And now I have the production version and can discuss it in detail.

On the plus side, this vise is easy to install. You cut a shallow cavity in your benchtop, drop the hardware in place and drive in six screws to secure it. Done.

The vise operates by turning a stainless toggle to move a sliding plate. Your dogs drop into that plate, and you have two positions and two styles of dogs to choose from. The two positions allow you have your dog holes far apart on your benchtop (up to 7-3/4″, which is a bit lazy in my opinion). The two kinds of dogs allow you to clamp square work with the standard dog or wacky shapes with the optional rotating dog.

Both of these dogs are 1/2″ tall, which allows you to clamp most common thicknesses. For clamping thin stuff, you can make a low-profile dog in a variety of ways. I plan to make one from a 1/4″-thick chunk of hardwood with a couple 1/4″-diameter steel pins.

The downsides to the vise are minor, but they need to be considered before buying one. Because the vise is inset into the top of your bench, you are going to have to remove it when you wish to flatten the benchtop. And eventually, you’ll have to make your cavity deeper. It’s not a big deal, but it is something to be aware of.

Second, the vise is a little slow compared to other end vises. The vise’s moving block travels 4″ and requires 40 turns of the toggle to make the entire trip. It’s not annoying, but I do get impatient with it when comparing it to my quick-release end vise.

Overall the vise is extremely well made. All the parts are well-fit and finished. The knurling on the stainless toggle is an impressive piece of work. I wouldn’t hesitate to put this vise on one of my workbenches. But first I’d have to build another bench.

You can read more about the Veritas Inset Vise or purchase one from Lee Valley Tools.

— Christopher Schwarz
 
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I'm not sure what most call the vises on my bench but I do like them both. The main vise is craftsman's best and I wish I had purchased a Record or another brand. This one has worn and the quick release sticks. I built the bench over 25 years ago and knew better at the time but bought it anyway. I'm going to replace it sometime and will pick up another quick release type.

The vise in the top is very useful but I'm sure there are other configurations that may give you more ways to clamp a board. It was in the bench design and it fits my needs.

If I were you I would buy the best vise you can. It's you shop buddy you will build everything with. My bench is my best friend.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
Now THAT, boys and girls, is a work bench ! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
Thanks for the design. Consider it "liberated" :yes:
 

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Wood Snob
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Tilaran said:
Now THAT, boys and girls, is a work bench ! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
Thanks for the design. Consider it "liberated" :yes:
Thanks. I took most of the design from a Woodsmith plan But I don't know the number.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 
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