Bench vices

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  • #13501
    billstennett
    Participant

    Just wondering if any one can recommend the best size of vice to fit on the bench I’m about to start building to Paul Sellers’ design

    Seems like 7″ or 9″ jaws are common but does it matter?

    Is the bigger vice going to be more flexible in use or is there a downside?

    I’ve seen a few old record 7″ quick release vices around – do you think they would be any good
    On the Paul sellers size bench?

    Thanks

    Bill

    #13515
    George Bridgeman
    Participant

    Hi Bill,

    From a bench building perspective, it doesn’t really matter which one you go for. Both will fit the bench nicely – just make sure you’ve got a chisel and hammer handy to remove some wood for the vise mechanism to clear the tool well support if you are adding one to your bench.

    Bigger is generally better because you can hold wider boards better in a wide vise. The real decision is which size you can get, and which you can afford. Vintage vises are expensive in the US but cheap in the UK. I got my Record 52 1/2E, which has 9″ jaws, for £20 ($31) from eBay. It mounted to the bench (Paul’s design) without any problems at all. If you can’t find or get the cash for a 9″ one, a 7″ is still fine but you lose 1″ of holding capacity either side of the vise.

    Hope this helps!

    George.

    "To know and not do is to not know"

    #13522
    RL
    Participant

    This is my front vise. It’s good value at $60 or so.

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

    For a long time, I have disliked it but I took it apart last week, tuned it up and now I have it working tip-top again.

    I rarely open the vise more than a few inches or so. Unlike Paul, I do not clamp my timber face up in the vise to work on it, so it’s really just for edge work and I do not require a quick-release vise. Because I use it primarily for edge work, the rear jaw of my vise is the bench apron.I prefer to do face work on the bench top. My front jaw is about 10″ wide. It’s important that the jaw closes parallel with the apron- this was a major problem with my vise before I retuned it. Also I glued a piece of leather to the face of the jaw.

    Richard.

    #13523
    Ken
    Participant

    Hey Bill,

    Some good info in this thread …….https://woodworkingmasterclasses.com/discussions/topic/workbench-vice/

    I went with the 9″ my front jaw is 17″ with no racking even with small pieces in one side of the vice.

    Attachments:
    #13528
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    hi Bill i went for the 9″ 52 1/2 record with quick release because it was only £10/$15 on ebay i have to say it was a fantastic buy , a big vice will hold small things but a small vice won’t hold big things thats my logic if it makes sense

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    Attachments:
    #13530
    cpetersen1970
    Participant

    Great buy, Eddy!

    This is the vise I picked up for my bench…it is not especially huge, the jaws being 7″ wide and opening to a max of 10″…but it is HEAVY. It is an old bench vise made by the Columbian vise company in Ohio. It is not quick release, but the screw turns smoothly, even without a cleaning (yet!) and it has the sliding dog. Nothing special, but it is a darn solid tool and I’m sure it will serve me well. Plus I got it for a good price. (Not as good as yours, Eddy, but one I’m well pleased with, nonetheless!)

    Attachments:
    #13532
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    good luck with installing that i dropped mine on my head before installing it that’ll teach me to tidy as i go, not worth the hours sitting in accident and emergency to be told nothing wrong lol

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    #13533
    cpetersen1970
    Participant

    Ouch! well, that thing is heavy enough that if I drop it on my head, I won’t have anything to worry about. Ever again.

    Joking aside, that’s a good bit of wisdom to pay heed to…I’ll be sure to be extremely careful. I may even build a little stand to hold it up p’raps.

    #13544
    billstennett
    Participant

    Many thanks all for the suggestions and adVICE!

    I’ll be looking for a record 52 1/2 or similar (or possibly two if I decide to fit the tail vice as well)

    I must say I’m really looking forward to getting the bench sorted. It’s great what you can do with a black and decker workmate (I’ve spent a lot of time with one) but it’s time to move up a gear!

    Thanks

    Bill

    #14392
    griz
    Participant

    Ouch, I couldn’t imagine dropping a vise on my head. Here is a quick tip. Take a piece of scrap 2×4 and clamp it in the vise with enough sticking out the bottom to reach the floor with the vise at it’s installation height. Makes for a third hand holding the vise while installing and you would really have to work hard to hit yourself in the head with it that way. But I suppose it can be done 🙂

    #14393
    Steve Follis
    Participant

    That’s a really good idea John!

    Memphis, Tennessee

    #14395
    Eddy Flynn
    Participant

    i wish i’d thought of that lol but we live and learn thankfully

    Eddy .. Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
    ,

    #14402
    dborn
    Participant

    I’m looking to start building my workbench soon and have been on the look out for a decent vise at a reasonable price and I am absolutely amazed on the broad pricing of them. Used, beat up vises on Ebay are more expensive than new ones and then there are, what I can only assume, are ridiculously cheap Chinese imports. I just don’t know what to choose, so I picked up the components to make a leg vise from Lee valley, partly because they have a free shipping offer.

    #17083
    sdesocio
    Participant

    For the price you could try a simple leg vise – the clamping surface is a 1″1/2″ oak board that I had lying around with a parallel guide made from a piece of scrap maple. I started out by making the screw out of wood, but this was a mistake you need really deep threads so that the screw doesnt wear our and after about a month thats what happened. All I did to fix the problem was order one of these and now its great.

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=41664&cat=1,41659

    #17164
    Mexiquite
    Participant

    I bought the Quick-Release Steel Bench Vises (this is what Paul uses in the New York school) 10 1/2 with a massive 15″ opening.

    Another friend bought the 7″ version with the 8″ opening and he regrets it since I can do so much more than he. It’s a one time expense. If you can go with the 15″ opening go for it. It’s very nice.

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