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    richard flynn

    I am in the process of building a new workbench. I’ve been woodworking for about 2 years now with hand tools only. I’ve been using a cheap bench from harborfreight and it is just not cutting it. Due to space restraints im looking to put only a front vise on my new bench. What would be the best all around bench that will still allow me to dimesion boards up to 4 ft in length as well as cut joinery. Im looking at the standard 9in quick release vises but am afraid of racking or not being able to clamp larger pieces that i need to cut joinery in. Is there a better solution for me? I cant really have an end vise because of my space. Please help me!


    You Tube leg vise build

    Dave Riendeau

    Richard, there are a thousand opinions on which vice works best. I’ve used a metal bench vice for the four years and have built some large pieces on my 4 ft workbench. When you work with large pieces you have to be creative and utilize clamps, supports, wedges, etc. for securing your work to your bench.


    Thomas Angle

    I do not think that the style of bench is as important as the weight and sturdiness. I used a table made from 2×4 and plywood for a while. It was 8′ long and sturdy but weighed next to nothing. I had a hard time with it moving when doing certain operations.

    I then made a 7′ Moravian style bench (was planning on moving and wanted something portable) out of 2×4 and it works well for most operations. If I plane across the bench it still moves a little. If I was to do it again I would of used yellow pine instead of the cheap white pine 2x4s.

    I have only a face vise and I do not feel I an missing anything. I do have some dog holes that I do use often.

    Here are a couple videos where Paul uses clamps for larger boards.

    Arbovale, WV

    Proverbs 18:13
    13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.


    If you are on a buget like was me,a wedge vise works remarkably well at potentially no cost


    If you can afford it, the “Large” lee valley quick-release steel vise is fantastic and super versatile. It’s based on the design that Paul uses in his videos, and can do, or be made to do, quite a lot.,41659

    If you’re looking for the most affordable option, the video bow posted above is actually what I used to build my leg vise. It’s not nearly as convenient as the quick-release steel vises, but it’s a great project, and has tons of clamping force (if you have a sturdy workbench leg). There are other youtube videos on building leg vises, too, so you might be able to get past the 1-vise limit on your bench.


    Woodcraft (in the US) currently has the 10″ Eclipse vise on sale for $120. I’ve used one for several years. The Lee Valley vise is a Jorgensen style while the Eclipse is a Record style. On a Jorgensen, you can only screw tighter and cannot unscrew to slightly reduce the pressure. “Unscrewing” on a Jorgensen releases the catch so that the vise becomes completely free to slide in and out. By contrast, the Record can screw either direction. Some people like one, some like the other.

    Neither is superior, in my opinion, although if you have smaller hands or not so strong hands, the Jorgensen has the advantage of not requiring you to squeeze and hold a release lever. I’ve used both and like both, so don’t read “you can’t unscrew to slightly reduce pressure” as necessarily bad. I think it was possible to order the Eclipse at the Woodcraft store and thereby avoid shipping charges, but double check. I’ve never regretted having the largest size of these steel vises (10″).

    Sven-Olof Jansson

    ‘Fine Woodworking Best Workbenches’ (Taunton Press 2012, ISBN: 978-1-60085-389-0) includes information and reviews on most type of vices.


    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA


    I have both , and so far the eclipse has proven less delicate. I have had to work on the lee vally a couple times once had to replace the 1/2nut once in two years.
    The eclipse has been trouble free both have seen the same amount of use.

    David Perrott

    I had a 6″ columbia vice for a few years. I think its also important to think about the vise being mounted flush or proud of the apron. I prefer it being mounted flush to the apron. My metal vise was mounted proud. I often thought I was missing out of clamping capabilities. Instead of incorporating the 5 foot apron as clamping I was only using the vise jaws. When I did have long stock I couldn’t clamp it to the apron unless I had some block to fill the gap between the stock and apron. It didn’t work for me. I also started to work more on the bench top with holdfasts as opposed to everything in the vise like Paul. I made a leg vise on my new moravian bench. I can now clamp to the bench top and find it a less limiting setup.

    kenny moore

    i dont know if your aware of using a bar clamp.
    fill the underside with wood to give it some added strength
    then place it in the vice making sure the 2 ends sit above the vice slightly and then you have as much length as you wish
    i use the silverline bar clamps as they work well and are on the cheaper end.
    hope this helps.
    good luck


    I’m not sure what your budget is and given the age of this post you’ve probably already gotten something useful. Racking was one of the problems I found after investing in a face vice (which is now on the floor under my old bench). I recently built Paul’s European style bench and purchased a Wilton face vice from Amazon. I believe it was listed as a 10″ vice but this thing doesn’t rack at all. It has a universal jaw that can be put on to help clamp odd shapes. One of the features of this vice that I really didn’t think I would care for is the wood Jaw linings. These things have a magnetic pad on the back so they can be moved around or adjusted as needed. If you have another brand of vice you could make these from an old magnetic car signs.. (I have lots of these from a recent local election) Just glue them on. I might have to make a short video on these because they are very useful.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

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