Welcome! / Forums / General Woodworking Discussions / bench vice
- This topic has 10 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 10 years ago by Rob Young.
8 February 2013 at 6:08 pm #7676
hi all can anybody recommend a new bench vice im fed up getting out bid on ebay i have a clarke wooden bench with a vice at the front and one at the end these are next to useless but i inherited it from my dad so had to give it a go , i cant bring myself to pay the asking price of second hand ones on auction sites as they have no comeback if not working properly, so looks like i’ll have to bite the bullet and pay for a new one any reviews would be a great help
Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
some choices have been discussed here:
I enjoy working wood in Germany.9 February 2013 at 3:49 pm #7690
I have not made a “professional” workbench yet. However, I have made a few quick, down and dirty workbenches for my wife and I using mdf as the top. One of them, I fitted with a vise fom Rockler. It is the 9″ quick release vise. I think it retails somewhere arount $160,but I waited for one of their sales and had gotten it for much less. It works very well and I am very pleased with it for what I intended to do with it. They have a 7″ vise for less, but, I am glad I did noturchase that one to save a few bucks as I will explain.
With that said, I will probably be building a bench for myself based on one of Paul’s construction methods. When I do, I will most likely not purchase another one of that vise for this bench. The reason for this is the height and width I think are not comfortable/adequate enough. When I watch Paul’s videos an how he places things in his vise, I believe his is much larger which makes workflow easier. I can still do the same things with the 9″ vise, but, I ocassionally need to play around.
For example, Paul has his beautiful saw chock to sharpen saws. However, he shows using a 1×2 with a kerf in it that he slips onto the blade and puts it in the vise as an alternative to his chock. I purchased a 14″ tenon saw and because of the height of the saw, it is too high for the 9″vise since the height of the vise is only about 2-3/4″. Therefore, I needed to make a chock. Also, the width being 9″ means I seem to shift a 22″ saw three times instead of twice when sharpening and I find myself shifting the 14″ back saw twice. If the vise is larger, I would only need to shift once or twice and not two or three times.
In the end, it is all about trade offs. You pay more for more convenience. As I said, the 9″ vise works great and I have no complaints. I can do with it what I’ve see Paul teach so far in this masterclass. However, the “efficient” side of me knows that there is a more comfortable way and I also know that as the projects get bigger in size, I think a larger vise will be on my list for when I am ready to build the “professional” workbench. But, as someone who is starting, I am happy with it.
Hope that helps.
A few record vises in decent looking condition are now listed on our local Craigslist (online classifieds), but the sellers are asking $200 for a record 52 and $300 for a record 53! In my opinion, they should be offered at half that price. Finding fair pricing is getting more and more difficult.
The seller describes them as “rare”. I would not call these rare, but they are desirable.
i cant bring myself to pay the asking price of second hand ones on auction sites as they have no comeback if not working properly
-Scott Los Angeles11 February 2013 at 10:23 pm #7771
thanks guys i think ive found a vice i want its in a little junk shop that only opens at weekends its a ten and a half inch quick release its very old and solid im going back on saturday to get it these old ones are becoming hard to come by in the UK hopefuly this will be fifty pound($78 approx) well spent thanks for all your help
Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
Ken, I made mine out of 1/2 inch oak, I have found that after 4 or 5 months of use the oak tends to get burnished/shiny which seems to cause the jaws to have less grip. I just recently took so 60 grit paper to the jaw faces and roughed them up. All is good now.
I would think you could use any wood for jaws.
You didn’t say exactly what kind of vise you wanted but I’ll assume a quick-release style similar to the old Record 52. Eclipse vices are good quality but sometimes you need to reject one because of a casting defect. Better purchased new at a store where you can open up the boxes. For example, this is a decent enough price on a 7″ model : http://www.woodcraft.com/product/2082711/32920/eclipse-7-quick-release-vise.aspx
If you are in the USA and within reasonable distance to a Woodcraft store, I believe they are offering a 10% discount the first weekend in March 2013. Call first to confirm of course.
The cost of the vice might seem like a lot up-front but if you buy a good one it will last a long time. Pennies per day over its lifetime (and yours too probably).
As to the material for the jaws, I’ve used pine or other “soft” woods (scraps of cherry or mahogany, especially if I need a funny shaped jaw) in the theory that they are less likely to damage a workpiece. That said, if you are clamping down so hard as to dent something, perhaps you should examine the vice and be sure it is clamping square and maybe line the blocks with a bit of leather to increase grip. Keep things clean and it should be fine. For non-square pieces, I keep several pieces of soft leather around that I can wrap around a workpiece to help the jaws align better or not damage the piece. An old dishtowel works pretty well too. Taught to do that by an old blacksmith & metalworker because you can clamp down on threads without crushing them. Translates well to woodworking too.
One other thing I did is to extend the jaw block several inches on one side to allow me to drop longer pieces down past the screw and support bars. Yes, it will wrack the jaws slightly, such is life. A good beefy vice with well fitting runners will minimize the wracking.
I should add, if you find the jaws are not closing at the TOP but instead lower, you will probably have issues with slippage or parts vibrating in the vice. Installing a block and then shaping it to compensate for any out-of-square in the metal solves the problem.
You should be able to clamp down on a sheet of paper held in the top 1/2″ to 1/4″ of the jaws and it won’t slip and slide.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.